I am not a runner.
But the other night at supper I casually approached my Karen about a kooky idea that is rolling around in the thing that passes for my brain. A work colleague - a real runner - off-handedly asked if I would consider training for and running a fabulous marathon he was considering.
In spite of my protests to the contrary, since running my first 5k, two months ago, I have been musing on the idea of seeing whether and how far I could push this running thing. Priority One is - how can I do this without taking time away from the bicycle. Well, sadly, this summer that is hardly the issue it has been previously. I'm just barely getting in 100 miles per week (sometimes more, often less), and all the miles I get each week are generally from only 2 rides. So ... if I run in the mornings before work, when I'm not cycling anyway, then I can test the running bug without giving up the level of cycling that this summer holds for me.
Fair enough. But a marathon? There is very little that could entice me, and I thought those enticements might just win my Karen over to the idea. IF an event took us someplace nice, and IF it meant being able to see one of our grown kids, THEN - just maybe - between the two of us we could sort this out.
The Big Sur Marathon is, obviously, on the California coast. That's someplace nice. Our oldest son lives in San Jose, just up the road; that's draw #2. The big question is - can I determine by the registration opening date (9/9) whether I could reasonably prepare for this?
About a month after my first-ever 5k, I was visiting the old family farm, without a bike, and on Saturday morning I got up and ran the delightful, dirt, quiet country roads near the farmhouse. 31 minutes - I have no idea how far - was the longest run I have ever taken. It felt good. It was after that quick trip that I raised the question with my patient wife.
"Linda thinks you migh be compulsive about exercise." What? What does Karen's assistant know about me and exercise. Ah, except, that is, what Karen tells her. Oh, so is Linda reaching that conclusion on her own from the anecdotes Karen tells at work? Or, does Karen think I may be compulsive about exercise? Curious.
Well, and I may well be. I only learned at age 50 that I do have a competitive streak. That was new information for me during my first ABD Cycling Boot Camp. (if you click this link, scroll down to the Boot Camp video) And it does matter to me that I get exercise. I do get antsy and crabby and frustrated when I go a week or more without cycling. It is important to me that after growing up obese, I keep my weight down. Guilty as charged!
Anyway, the bottom line is that I am testing the running hypothesis. Last week, in another city, without my bike, I ran 4 of the 5 days I was there. (I did rent a bike on day 4, and again felt - as I always do - that this is where I am at home, on a bike!) The runs felt good, and again I have no idea how far I ran each day, but ran about 30 minutes the first day, 24 minutes two days in a row, and after the cycling day, ran 31 minutes. This week, a home project has kept me off the bike ... so one morning I got up and ran 5k in the neighborhood. And yep, so far so good.
I will use the rest of August to test some longer runs, keep talking with my trusted Karen, and decide whether to register for what is probably the most beautiful marathon imaginable - and arguablly the most difficult in the U.S. Certainly not where one should have their first (maybe only!) marathon!
The elegance of this idea is that the Big Sur runs at the end of April. Which can mean that I should finish this cycling season with running as my cross-training. Then in the winter, during Boot Camp, cycling becomes my cross-training for the marathon. It will mean a slower start to spring miles on the bike ... but: CA and my son Chris! Sounds great.