Preparing for the first one

by Jimmy Ho

I won the lottery!

Actually I won the Houston marathon lottery, and this is going  to be my first marathon. I grew up in Houston, and the course is relatively flat, so it made sense for me to run it. I joined Rogue so I would not get injured, plus there  would be a structured plan to help me reach my goal. I decided on training at Rogue twice a week, which includes the long Saturday runs and the group workouts on Tuesday. I can handle the medium runs by myself. I had never run in a group before. The support and comradery is unbelievable. Everyone is so friendly and excited for you, and we are all ultimately reaching for the same goal, run faster and farther than before.
The first run of the winter marathon training was the Rogue to Rogue run. It was in Cedar Park which is a long drive for me because I live in Kyle. I woke up pretty early that morning just to get there. I decided to run the advanced mileage that day, and I ran the 7 miles without any hitches. My marathon goal was to finish under 4 hours. Why that goal? I have had friends who have run it slower and because I am a competitive person, naturally I wanted to beat their times.

My plan was to do run the long runs at the advanced level, but the other days to run at a beginning level. I was not used to the mileage I was about to do. It was a hot time of the year, especially to start training. I was supposed to have the group workouts on Wednesday, but it ended up being Tuesday which has worked out great. Those Tuesday night runs were not pretty. The heat just wears you down.
When I started Rogue, I was winding down from p90x and was also playing basketball during my lunch break at work 4 days a week. We had some friends with kids who came in town one weekend, and we went to Austin Park & Pizza. I will probably never step my foot in that place again. Because I drove go karts all day around a bunch of kids and their germs, I came down with strep. With all of the activities I was doing, my body never had a chance to recover and/or rest. It was absolutely terrible. The last time I was sick was when I had the flu my junior year of college. I was bed ridden at least one week and lost out on 2 weeks of training. I tried to do a group workout while I was sick, and I could only last 1.5 miles of the 6 that we were supposed to do. Once I got better, I only did weight training once or twice and also played basketball once or twice a week.

Also on Saturdays, I only ran the beginner distance. With all of the mileage I was doing, I was getting pains everywhere. The first thing that was hurting was my IT band, which I think is normal. Trigger Point is awesome. I know it is only a temporary solution, but it allows me to run with relatively little pain.  As I got stronger, the IT band issue went away, but my soleus started to hurt more and more. After every run, they were so tender. Who came to the rescue? Trigger Point! My soleus for the most part has gotten better and better, but lately my feet are starting to hurt. I broke my left foot sliding into 2nd base when I was playing softball back in college. I never let it heal properly, and was still playing basketball and doing other physical activity while wearing a boot.

I do not know if it is the shoes that I am wearing or maybe the cold catching up with this old man. With strep and all of these pains slowly going away, I am starting to think that I can do this.
As the weeks progress, I am running distances that I have never run before. It can be mentally challenging and physically demanding to run the longer distances and spending so much time to do so. There are a few runs that I do remember during training. We finally did our time trials when it got cooler. I have never had a reason to run as fast as I can for 2 miles. I ran the time trial in 13:30. Holy smokes, I did not even know that I could move that fast. I was starting to get confident. Maybe I can run the race under 3:45.

The Run from Hell is just that. I had to work that day so I only ran 16 miles, but the additional miles would have been flat. Ladera Norte, you are my enemy. I did not walk up at all, but at the top of it, I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest. It made Mount Bonnell look like a wimpy kid.

The run a few weeks ago with the Austin marathon pacers was tough. We had to run 16 miles at MGP. I do not know if it was the pace or the fact I had to run 24 miles, I was totally out of gas. I ate a bowl of cereal when I woke up that morning and only had a bag of chews during the run. I have learned my lesson: pack some GU and an extra bag of chews/chomps on the longer distances.
After my run a few weeks ago, I am starting to evaluate my race plan. Running my first marathon under 4 hours should be an easy goal, but how much faster is the question. I started to run the advanced distances with my group so that has helped. With all of this work, I hope I do not let myself down by running a time that I deemed is too slow. We will find out soon. We are only two weeks away from race day. I will write more about the race in a few weeks…
Until next time, Rogue, happy running.


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