Run Run Run

About 3 months ago, I saw a movie entitled Run Fat Boy Run starring and written by Simon Pegg and also written by Michael Ian Black.

Simon Pegg's character is slightly depressed and had gained a bit of weight since he left he fiance at the alter five years ago.  Now his fiance is dating Hank Azaria who is one of those guys that is good at everything.  Hank Azaria is fit and healthy and plans to run the London Marathon is a couple of months.  Not to be out done by the likes of him, Simon Pegg vows to run the marathon, too.

The "comedy" of this movie is how a lazy dude like Simon Pegg gets in shape for the marathon.  And the "development" of his character is what he learns on the way.  His friends are supportive and pitch in to point Simon Pegg back on the healthy track of life.

Overall, I thought the movie used a lot of tired jokes, relied too much on physical humor and wasn't very original.  One thing was very clear in the movie, though.  For Simon Pegg, running the marathon would ultimately solved all his problems.

Hmmm...  solved all his problems, eh?

Maybe I'm a little too impressionable by movies and video games, but the cogs of thought started spinning around in my head.

First off, distances on foot really don't intimidate me.  While living in Japan, I walked up the side of a mountain almost everyday to get to school.  Also, when the bus sees fit to leave downtown without me, I've walked the 3.5 miles to work without a problem.

Ok, 26 miles is kinda far, but a 13 mile half marathon?  I could easily traverse that.

Secondly, I need some manor of exercise in my life.  Walking everywhere is nice, but it's no where near a full workout.  DDR is too inconvenient at my apartment and there are no machines nearby.  I don't really like biking.  I like running around the neighborhood, but I lack the motivation.

I figure that signing up for a marathon would give me the motivation to stick with a regular routine of running/jogging and provide some actually exercise in my life.

Those 2 reasons were why I signed up for the Madison Half Marathon.  It sounded easy and would get me to exercise.  To clinch my dedication to the race, I asked Dave if he'd run the marathon with me.  He's also looking for excuses to exercise.

We estimated our finish time at 3 hours 1 second.

Training

In Run Fat Boy Run, Simon Pegg has 3 months to get in shape before the London Full Marathon.  My time was a little bit shorter than that.  I had 9 weeks after I signed up.  That really didn't bother me though.  I wasn't going to delude myself into thinking that I could keep a running pace during the entire thing.  I was quite certain that I would be walking the better part of the race.

That was pretty much my pace during training.  Run run run until I ran out of breath, walk until I caught my breath, then run run run again.  On, off, on off.  Every time I went jogging, my initial run would get longer and longer.  My goal was to get to the point where I'd be able to make it through the entire course without walking.  I was able to run nearly 75% of my 1.5 mile course before I expanded it to 3.4 miles.

Run run run.  I got slightly better each time.  A minute faster here, a minute faster there.

Previously I gave up running after a week because I wasn't feeling any different.  After a month of running around, I wasn't starting to feel some of the benefits.  My energy was up and my thighs were as lean as they were in my DDR haydays.  I didn't lose much weight, but I probably could if I changed my diet slightly.

"Running" the marathon

The day finally came.  Sunday morning, at 7am, Dave and I drove to the Alliant Energy Center, safety-pinned our numbers to our shirts, and lined up at the starting line with 3700 other people.  Gawd, it was freezing outside.  It was around 55 degrees and all we had on were these running shorts and a shirt.

But after the starting horn was bleeted and we ran consistently for about 2 miles, the cold weather was perfect.  Run, walk, run, walk, run, walk longer, run, walk longer.  Much like I figured, the half marathon wasn't difficult.  It was only 4 times the length of what I had done during training.

During the race, Dave and I chatted about other upcoming marathons.  We agreed that a Full Marathon is a too far for us for now, but were definitely interested in more Half Marathons.

The course for the Half Marathon was quite pretty. ^_^  It took us all over Madison, from Monona Bay, to St. Mary's Hospital, to Camp Randall, to the Agriculture area of UWMadison.  We went along the coastline of Lake Mendota, to Memorial Union.  Along Langdon St to James Madison Park up to Tenney Park, where we turned South East.  We went underneath East Washington and turned South West along Jenifer St.  From there, we met up with John Nolen Dr. and followed the coast of Lake Monona back to the Colliseum.  If you want a great tour of Madison, this Marathon is perfect.

Results

We screwed up our timing chips, so Dave and I don't have official results, but I remembered what the clock said when I passed the finish line.

I finished the Half Marathon at 2 hours 49 minutes and 56 seconds.  And Dave finished about 10 seconds later.  Overall, we placed around 3450 out of 3700.  Whooo!  Not last.

Unlike Simon Pegg, the Marathon didn't solve all my problems.  But It definitely gave me the motivation to keep with an exercise routine.  Something that I've wanted for a while now.

Plus, I got a medal!  Yeah yeah, everyone gets a medal.  But it's more than a medal of participation, it's a medal of completion.  It's also more than just completing the marathon, it's also the 2 months of work I've put into myself leading up to the Marathon.  For the first time since college, I've actually lost some weight, rather than hovering around the same numbers.  I have more energy.  There's that feeling of accomplishment, too.

I worked out for 2 months, ran/walked further than I had at a given point in time, and got a medal for it!  Hot damn!  All because of a stupid movie.

Thanks Simon Pegg and Michael Ian Black ^_^

The Future

2:49:56 is a start.  And it's pretty good for first-timers + only 2 months of training.  But, hell, we can definitely do better.  I was 6th from last for my age group.

Dave and I signed up for 2 more Half Marathons this year.  The Madison Mini-Marathon and the Fox Cities Half Marathon.

The Madison Mini-Marathon course is another great introduction to some of the areas of Madison.  It actually goes up to Capitol Square, and then continues all the way down to Lake Wingra and back again.  It starts 7am on Saturday August 29th.

The Fox Cities Marathon starts in Appleton, goes through Mensha and ends in Neenah.  Should be interesting. ^_^ That one is 7am on Sunday September 20th.

Maybe next year, we'll have the strength to complete an actual Full Marathon.  Baby steps.




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