Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Word is OUT!

Due to a hostile takeover of my Facebook page, I feel like there are a few things I should clear up!

First things first! I wish Hootie and The Blow Fish never existed...

OR Miley Cyrus!

My belly is fine!

I'm pretty sure I looked just "OK" that day, much like every other day.

Lastly, something running related! NO! 10 miles at 5:25's hasn't happened in a REAL long time, and probably will not happen again! YES, the word is out, I am running the 7 Bridges Marathon in October!

 Just a little back story here. This will be my 3rd attempt at a marathon. I say "attempt" because I have not officially finished a marathon. I have run the distance though, and I'll save that for the last story in this post. A lot of my customers and fellow runners are surprised I have not finished a marathon. Let me be the first to say, DON'T BE SURPRISED, for a couple of reasons. First, I was a middle distance runner in college. Coming from a very low mileage program in high school, the two mile was a "long run". When I got my first training plan mailed to me from my college cross country coach, and I saw a 10 mile long run on it, I thought, "What have I done?"!! AND then when he told me "we race 8K and 10K for cross", I thought I was going to die!

Second. My post collegiate running career has had, to put it nicely, it's UPS and DOWNS, inspiring the "On again, off again runner" description of this blog. There was the period of time I fondly refer to as the "Big Jeff Era".  You know that time when you graduate from college, are working part time at the BEST RUNNING STORE IN THE LAND, buy a car, get an apartment, and realize you have no money? You don't? Well, that's what happened! So, I decided to get a job as a bartender, which meant 6 PM to 3 AM on top of the 30 hours a week at the store. Oh, AND no running and 40 to 50 pounds (unofficially)!!

The first marathon attempt was just before the "Big Jeff Era" (sorry the year escapes me) while I was still pretty fit from college and training with Scott. Scott got invited to run the Houston Half Marathon. He said he could get me a comp entry, so I said what the hell, I'll try the marathon. I bumped up a couple of long runs to 20 miles, felt great two weeks before and got a sinus infection the week of the race. Honestly, all I needed was an excuse! I ended up running the half. I look back now and know at 23 years old, I probably should have just run the full, but the distance really intimidated me.

The second marathon attempt was for the infamous Chicago Marathon 2007. My beautiful wife, Lena, trained and completed the New York Marathon in '06.  I helped her during her training, and I and a friend of ours followed her throughout the entire race, hopping from subway train to subway train all the way to Central Park. It was inspiring! I decided to enter Chicago, and the training, throughout the summer went great! Once we arrived at the expo, warnings of the heat were all over the place. Instead of trusting the fact that I trained in Alabama heat and humidity through the summer, I panicked, OVER hydrated, and dropped out at 16 miles with severe cramps!

So, here I am in 2014! I haven't posted about my training in quite some time because quite frankly it's been rather boring. Who wants to read about 5 to 8 miles, 5 days a week for the better part of 2 years? However, while it's been rather bland, I have been consistent, building a pretty decent base, and I have been healthy. Why 2014? Well, I turn 40 in October! I figure, a new age group, what the hell!!

To tell you what the post is really all about! After 19 years in a running specialty store, interacting with and lending advice to the awesome Birmingham running community, I feel like I've learned a few things! The very first thing, GET A PLAN! There are a lot of plans out there. The trick is to find the one that is realistic for you to accomplish and seek out advice from your local fellow runners and specialists to make it happen! So, quite of few of the next posts, leading up to October, will be about training in the heat, footwear, gadgets I use, my training plan, and experiences along the way! I hope you will follow me on this journey!

Oh, THE STORY! I almost forgot! I mentioned earlier, I have run the marathon distance! This was before the GPS watch, so I can't be 100% certain, but it HAD to be close! UAB sent me to UNC Charlotte for a Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) meeting. I was Vice Prez of the UAB SAAC, the Prez was supposed to go, but she wasn't able. We had meetings all day on Saturday. I had a long run scheduled for that Sunday morning, as I was in the middle of my cross country season. There was a fellow cross country runner from UNC Charlotte, a competitor of mine, attending the meetings. He told me they had a long run scheduled that Sunday morning and where to meet. Long story short, I got PUNKED! I was there, on time, ALONE! I ventured out on a trail, hit a cross road, took a left, a right, a left, a right, and so forth and so on! It was early Sunday, nothing was open, and I figured if I kept running I'd end up back at the hotel! Well, 3 and half hours later, I did!! Again, I can't say I ran 26 miles for sure, but it sure felt like it! Especially when I showed up late to the morning meetings and saw that guy with a wry smile on his face!

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