Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Now THAT's how you do it

I ran into a friend, today, at the gym. I haven't seen him since September because I haven't been to the gym since september....shhhh.

After our normal "what have you been up to" chatter, he says, "I turn 50 this year, in May. My wife was asking me what I wanted for my birthday. So, I say 'I want to run 50 miles'. She said 'Well, you'll do that anyway. I want to know what you really want.' "

He went on: I had this idea. Why don't I run 50 miles with friends? I wonder if anyone would do it? I started asking people if they would run parts of the course with me, anything a half mile or 20 miles. Do you know everyone I asked jumped on board to do this. Here's the best part. I'm doing the last 2 miles with Joe* (*not his real name). AND everyone who ran a portion of the 50 miles is going to meet up at mile 48 and finish the last two miles with me and joe. Joe can only go 1 mile per hour, so it will take us 2 hours, but everyone is going to finish with us!

Now, this story is pretty amazing. 25 people signed up to run with my friend to find time to run pieces of this birthday run with him. Then, it might occur to you that the last person, Joe, only goes 1 mph.  You might be asking "why does Joe move so slowly"? Joe has no arms or legs. Every day at the gym, he walks on his "stubs" (as he calls them) around the track, for 1 mile. 1 hour of walking around the gym track. For 1 hour, 6 laps and 1 mile without arms or legs. And this guy, who has no arms or legs and takes an hour to go 1 mile, volunteered to do the last TWO miles with my friend.

During my run, I was in awe. First of all, what a FANTASTIC idea for a birthday present. Second, what an amazing experience this will be having 25 or so friends all walking the last 2 miles for 2 hours, together.

It makes me speechless. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I'm not an easy person to live with.

Back in October, I celebrated my birthday.

(In case you're wondering, 43's never looked so good).

My birthday present from Mr. Tea was/is that he is going to run a half marathon with me in May 2011. 

This will be his first half marathon. For those of you who know Mr. Tea, he doesn't really enjoy running. So, this is a pretty big deal.

Yesterday, Jan 1st was day #1 of his training. The first 8 weeks of his "plan" is more of a time to get him used to being on his feet, moving and getting used to running in spurts.

Even though the run was 20-25 minutes long, I knew he would be uncomfortable. The plan calls for 5 min warm up walk followed by 1 min run, 90 seconds walk until he hits 20-25 minutes.

So yea, I knew this would make him uncomfortable. In the past, Mr. Tea would take off like a wild banshee, run hard, run too far and end up in pain on day 2 which would cause him to quit running altogether.  

Yesterday he head down to the basement to do his run. I hear the buttons beeping on the treadmill. I hear the belt starting to move. I hear his breathing getting heavy, then labored. 

I wanted to yell down and ask how he was doing, but this is something he has to do by himself. 

At 25 minutes, I decide to check on him. I ask "How did it go?"

Mr. Tea: It was hard. It was only 25 minutes, but it was so hard.  Way harder than I thought it would be.

Tea (Tough Love, dose #1): Yea, running is hard. No matter how fast you get, no matter how far you go, it doesn't get easier.

Mr. Tea: Everything hurts. My back hurts. My legs hurt.

Tea (Tough Love, dose #2): Look, it IS hard. It'll hurt, but it's not going to kill you. You only have to do it 3 days a week. It doesn't have to be pretty. JUST.GET.THROUGH.IT.

Mr. Tea: Wow, what's up with the tough love?

Tea: Look, you have a HUGE disadvantage or ADVANTAGE depending on how you look at it.  I'm an athlete. You didn't wake up this morning and make a resolution to start running while I sit back and feel bad for you and say "Oh poor baby, just skip your run today, start tomorrow, you're all sweaty".  

You're not going through anything different than any other athlete. When you're busting your ass and feeling uncomfortable.....I AM TOO. It's not easier for me to get up every day and run or bike or strength train. I'm not superhuman. Every time you want to quit your run, you're making your half marathon THAT.MUCH.HARDER.

And, I will have no qualms about leaving you in the dust on race day if I don't think you took your training seriously. I have no desire to run a 4 hour half marathon with someone who doesn't care. On the other hand, I will be thrilled to run a 4 hour half marathon with someone who really wants it.

Just remember: You aren't doing this for me.  You're doing this for you.


That my friends was Day #1.  I have no doubt that it will be an emotional roller coaster. It's never easy to change behavior. We aren't born with mental toughness. It's something we learn. We can choose to quit. We can choose to keep going. The choice is that simple. The more we choose to keep going, the tougher we get. Toughness isn't something we're born with. It's a decision we make,