If the title above tells you anything I think it tells you how much I’m enjoying the process and how much peace and energy it has brought to my everyday life. I feel so alive and my body is working at a precision pace that is only known to gods and not mere mortals. I’ve, also, been learning to lie my ass off. I’m really in the final stretch of this thing and it feels, not unlike, the time I was driving my ’95 Corsica past the 150000 mile mark. Everything was falling apart on the car. I had strapped the trunk down with a bungee cord, the engine would stall, it had no turn signals and the radio would work for only spanish stations. I AM THAT CORSICA! I am falling apart slowly. Actually, not even that slowly anymore. All the falling part seems to be happening at a quick pace lately. That is the only thing that is happening “quick” in training for the race. God, knows the running isn’t “quick.” Slow and painful.
Maybe I’m looking at this wrong. Maybe my body is breaking down but then in it’s place is a beautiful Phoenix that rises from the ashes.
Maybe not. But I do keep having this recurring dream of showing up to the race hobbling and beaten down and then as I start running I feel a little better and then on mile 4 I feel great. I start running like the wind. I’ve never run this fast in my life. My breathing is great. I’m passing people right and left. I’m actually looking at my surroundings instead of the paved road. I keep passing people. I’ve never felt this alive. I start passing the Tarahumara runners and the African runners that don’t wear shoes. I’m beating them but I’m not cocky about it. I’m just doing my thing. Doing what I was meant to be doing. Just running. I end up winning the race but I don’t stop there. I just keep going. Long Beach isn’t the end I turn around and head towards Vegas. People start shouting out things like “Hey, you’re copying one of the story lines from Forrest Gump.”, “Tom Hanks is a WAY better actor than you.” But I ignore all of those comments and keep RUNNING. I, of course, at this point wake up in a pool of sweat with Teen Mom playing in the background (I leave the tv on at night to my wifes dismay. I get scared of the boogeyman (The Kardashians) sneaking into my room so the tv settles my anxiety)
So as you can tell the as I get closer to the race it is conveniently coinciding with me losing my mind. A lot going on right now. A lot of great things and a lot of stuff I don’t have time for. I’m forgetting things right and left. I hope i remember to wear pants for the race. Or maybe I dont…. You’re welcome, ladies. (referring to my bulging crotch area). Before I get into my experiences running my last 2 16 milers and my first 18 miler let me tell you about something amazing that has happened. When I chose to run a marathon I decided I would like to run for a charity. I found an amazing charity called St. Judes Children’s Hospital. I studied up on them and the work they do really moved me. All joking aside I found a lot of these kids fights with cancer to be very moving and inspiring. So I sent out a letter two weeks ago to all my friends and family letting them know that I was running a marathon and asking for donations. Here is the letter I sent out.
As you may or may not know… who are we kidding, I’ve yapped to everyone about this. I am running a marathon. I quit smoking 8 months ago and I figured the only way to make myself more miserable is to run a marathon. I’ve never run more than a mile in my life and I used to be quite a bit heavier than I am now so I’ve had my work cut out for me. I got my trusty Non-Runners Guide to Running a Marathon and I was off…slowly at first…and then more slow…and then faster…slower….injury….faster…..etc. I’ve been training for over 6 months now (first 3 months was to just get me to a place where I could run 30 mins in a row – still a challenge). But I’m proud to say, as of last week, I’ve run 16 miles in a row! Next weekend will be 18 and this all leads up to the grand finale. The Long Beach Marathon on October 9th.
I’ve documented my progress (funny word that doesn’t quite feel appropriate) at my first ever blog runbaileyrun.wordpress.com. I figured if I was doing this I would document my misery… and just generally be goofy.
I, also, figured if I did this I would love to help someone else out rather than just my health. I studied up and found a great organization that helps kids with cancer: St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. It’s an amazing organization and these kids fight harder every day than I ever will running. So, I would really love to try to raise some money for them.
Your donation will help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital find new treatments for childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases. You can help St. Jude continue its lifesaving work against pediatric diseases with your help.
Whatever you can donate would be amazing. I’m trying to raise a $1000 or even more and would love your help. But don’t think you go away empty handed, oh no, for the simple price of one dollar I will carry your name on a sheet of sweaty paper with me during the race. For five dollars I will let you choose a song, any song, and I will run to that song (please nothing from the ‘Twilight’ soundtrack. I tried it and no bueno…and what’s the deal with Edward? Does he really sparkle?). And for $50 dollars I will think about you for ONE WHOLE MILE. That’s right, non-stop thinking about YOU. In truth, it will be great to think of anything else besides my heavy panting and the amount of liquids pouring out of my body (turns out I’m a sweater).
Please click the Donate to this Event tab once you’ve clicked on the link above. Please contact me should you have any questions.
All joking aside, this means a lot to me. Something I never thought I could do. I’m not going to win the race but I guarantee, with your help, I will finish.
Thanks so much for your consideration.
I sent this out 2 weeks ago. I was really hesitant to send it. I hate being the guy with his hand out asking for something but it is a great cause and I’ve never really asked for anything so I hit the send button and sent it out. In two weeks I’ve raised almost $1500 and that was from all of the awesome people listed below.
The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue originating on the bottom surface of the calcaneus (heel bone) and extending along the sole of the foot towards the five toes. It has been reported that plantar fasciitis occurs in two million Americans a year and 10% of the population over a lifetime. It is commonly associated with long periods of weight bearing. Among non-athletic populations, it is associated with a high body mass index. The pain is usually felt on the underside of the heel and is often most intense with the first steps of the day. Another symptom is that the sufferer has difficulty bending the foot so that the toes are brought toward the shin (decreased dorsiflexion of the ankle). A symptom commonly recognized among sufferers of plantar fasciitis is increased probability of knee pains, especially among runners
As you can imagine, this totally sucks. I wake up every morning feeling like I’m stepping on a nail. And during every run I have to be super careful on where my feet land. If i hit it the wrong way I feel like I’m walking on glass. I’m not complaining. I’m a huge fan of glass as a substance so it’s just a great reminder of what my favorite cups are made out of. The pain had gotten to the point where I will have to walk here and there during the runs until the pain subsides. I reiterate though, that I WILL FINISH THE RACE. Of course, I’m having a feeling that I’m going to look like Larry Flynt by the time I get to the finish line.
I’m learning to live with this pain. I feel like one of those herpes victims you see on those Valtrex tv ads where a husband and wife are walking along a beach throwing a stick that their dog chases after and we hear the guys voiceover saying something like, “when I first got Herpes I thought it was a death sentence but with Valtrex I’m learning to LIVE WITH IT. Life isnt’ so bad.” And then the wife says something bubbly like, “We haven’t missed a beat.”
Around this time I was, also, dealing with a strained calf. I was stretching and icing it everyday and thought I had gotten it to a good point where I could run on it but then I went out on my 3rd 16 mile run 3 weeks ago. It started out like any other run. Painful. Started getting into my groove and trying to gain the “flow” that all the runners talk about. I was on mile 6 when i decided to go a little faster and sped up. Right then there was a POP between my Achilles tendon and my right calf. My first thought was that I must have exploded. I soon realized that since I could still feel all the sweat everywhere (like I’ve said before, I’m a sweater) that i was still on this earth. I was freaked out though. What did i just do to myself? The last time something like this happened was 6 yrs ago when I was performing at a comedy festival and jumped off like a maniac during one of the sketches. When I landed there was a pop around my knee. I had torn my ACL. I had to finish the show while I tried to tell anyone that would listen that my leg wasn’t operational any longer. I had no idea what I had done. I carefully placed a little weight on my right leg. It could still hold my weight. HUGE VICTORY! I then tried to walk. I WAS ABLE TO WALK. The mentally challenged part of myself said, “Hey, Ryan, keep running. YOu have to finish your training run.” I was about to do this but then I heard another voice in my head. This was a voice that consisted of my wife, my mom, and my sister (not unlike the three witches in Macbeth). These voices all said, “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR F*CKING MIND.” Go home, rest, and heal and live to run another day. I’m extremely scared of all of those ladies so I decided to listen. I think it was the first time in my life where I chose to do the right thing. Crazy.
I talked to my sister who is a registered nurse (my sister is TOTALLY better than your sister) and she gave me a couple different options. The one I liked the most and the one I’m going to go with is that it was a collection of white blood cells that were in that area trying to heal the strained calf and they formed a mass not unlike a pimple and that pimple popped on the run. I like this theory because it takes me back to the days of popping pimples which I was reallllly good at.
My sister told me to continue with the icing which I have gotten vigilant about and to up my ibuprofen intake to 800 mg every 8 hours. She said my body was so inflamed that it was in a constant state of shock. I told her that’s how I like to roll. I’m ready for anything that way. I took her advice and iced and took the meds. That next week I felt way better. I started my runs the next week slowly as not to reinjure and they went great. I did 5 on Monday, 8 on Wed, 5 on Thursday and then Saturday rolled around. My first 18 miles.
It had all led to this 18 miles. I carbo loaded the night before. I’m a foodie so I chose a place that is quite a find. It’s a little hole in the wall Mexican food place that makes some of the best burritos this side of the border. It’s called El Pollo Loco. Try it. You won’t regret it…until the next morning.
As i write this I realize what a mistake it was to have mexican food the day before 18 miles but for some reason on that fateful morning my stomach held strong. Something felt good about that day. It just felt right from my first step. I wasn’t in pain. I was running at a decent pace. I wasn’t needing to stop. I hate to say this but I might have even been enjoying myself. The tunes I was listening too were great. It all came into place for a great run. The run itself was pretty uneventful. The biggest thing that happened was around mile 16 i got struck with a hunger that I haven’t felt before. I was so hungry. I guess this is normal since your body pretty much goes into a cannibalistic state after running for over 3 hours.
The other weird thing was around the 15th mile my Achilles tendon started to feel funny which started giving my heart palpitations of my Achilles tendon breaking. It did not break and I finished the 18 miles. The song I finished to was Nookie by Limp Bizkit, embarrassingly enough, and then I got all emotional when I was finished and almost started weeping. I was pumping my fists in the air like I had won something. I totally freaked out this homeless lady at the park who thought I was crazy as I kept fist pumping the air. Must have been refreshing for her to think someone else was crazy for once.
Here’s a picture of me directly after my 18 mile run. Some people think that my dog Brooklyn was forced to be in the picture with me. Not true. I actually ran with Brooklyn under my arm for 18 miles. I felt it would make me more agile to learn to run with a 10 pound pooch. Brooklyn wasn’t happy with it but by the end we were pretty synchronized with our movements. We won this race together!
So that leads me to this week. The runs this week so far have been so hard. I think my body and my mind are kind of shot. I could barely finish my 8 mile run last night. I think my muscles are really fatigued from being so awesome. I thought I would continue to ride the high from the progress I’ve been making but it seems like I’ve digresses. I read that this is somewhat normal and that is why two weeks before the race you start to taper off. Tapering off is all about slowing down so you can hit the race with your body not being totally fatigued. I’ve got to be honest the thought of tapering off scares me. I get scared that i will lose the momentum that I’ve built. I guess, this is a common runners worry and is totally wrong. My body needs to taper off so it can heal. I just have to keep saying that to myself like a mantra. “Heal, heal, heal, heal.” So this Saturday I only have to run 9 miles!! Never thought I would be totally psyched about 9 miles like I was allowing myself to eat ice cream. Ugh.
Let’s see. What else? I’ve noticed that lately I get really excited when I see someone with a good running stride. It’s like spotting a celebrity. I get all excited and I almost yell out, “way to go.” I look at someone with a great running stride and i get super jealous and impressed. I feel like I’m ogling then like some creepy pervert. I’m looking forward to getting back to the days of not noticing runners at all because I will be inside on my couch watching episodes of the real housewives of (insert ANY state or city here).
So that is it for this week. I really do have to say how thankful I am of all the support I’ve been getting. From my wife, to my family, to my co-workers, to my boss, to my classmates, to random strangers that saw it on Facebook. Everyone has been so cool and have given me everything from helpful hints to cds to run to. Pretty neat. I, personally, think they are doing it because they think it’s like talking to someone who is on death row. They better be nice now because I won’t be around for much longer. DEAD MAN WALKING.
I’m going to do a huge music post next week listing all the cool music people have recommended. It’s pretty neat. Of course, I’m still mainly running to the Pretty Woman soundtrack. but that’s me, I’m a different kind of guy….