Can you Train for a Half Marathon in 7 days?

Blog 32

(How Not to Train for a Half Marathon)

 

So that’s the question. Can it be done? Is it any use at that point, or should one just “suck it up” and run without any training?

This is what I am going to try to answer.

If one were to read the previous Blog, (Blog 31) they would know that I signed up to run the BMO Half Marathon in Vancouver on January 5th, 2019.

The run was May 5th, 2019.

This should be plenty of time to prepare for such a challenge. It turns out that the biggest challenge for me was procrastination… and it definitely got the best of me.

In January, I gave up fried foods.

In February, I gave up alcohol.

In March, I think I gave up hope.

In April… I can’t remember April. It’s kind of a blur.

Then, along came May. It was time to get ready for the Big Race. I had 7 Days to prepare myself for a 13.1 Mile run (21.1 km) – exactly 1 week after returning from a vacation that involved plenty of late nights and debauchery.

Day 1

It was a nice day. Much cooler than San Diego was the week before, but I decided that I should formulate some sort of training plan and admit that I had failed to properly train for a half marathon.

Day 2

It was another nice day. I thought it was a good day to try out a long run and see how my fitness level was.

This was a leisure run of 16.3 km. It was far. It was hard. It took me a long time to do it and my legs began to hurt in places that I didn’t know existed. I also had to make an emergency pit stop to use the facilities…alas, these things happen.

Although the run was not very fast, I pushed through the best I could. I discovered something about running…all you have to do is take it one step at a time.

One foot in front of the other.

Running a Half Marathon is no easy task.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the short sprints in life. It’s easy to get caught up in the little battles that we face on a daily basis, but it’s the end game that counts. It’s the marathons, and the wars that matter at the end of the day.

One foot in front of the other.

Day 3

As one can imagine, my legs were pretty sore the next day.

I knew I had to do something, but I also knew that a run was out of the question.

Why not go for a bike ride? I haven’t gone for a bike ride in probably 30 plus years. That seemed like a great idea!

Well, headwinds and a sore butt were the biggest challenges. I knew I wasn’t going to set a land speed record, but I also knew that it was a good thing to work the legs and get those kinks out of my old, tired muscles.

Day 4

It wasn’t like I wanted to go for a run or anything, but it had to happen. The race was only days away, and I needed to give my lungs one more workout before I rested up.

I mapped out a quick 8.48 km circuit that I figured would take me an hour.

After battling a strong headwind through the first portion of my run, and another emergency pit stop, I could feel a rash developing in my nether regions. You know, my private parts?

Like a true pro, I pressed on.

Ouch!

It wasn’t as long as the long run I had done, but it felt good. Not great…just good. Maybe it was just “ok”.

One foot in front of the other.

Day 5

A day of rest.

I did just that. I stretched out my sore legs. I put cream on my rash. I basically spent the day licking my wounds and regretting not training like I had planned.

Day 6

Another day of rest. Actually, I believe the runner people call it a recovery day, or something like that.

We had to pick up our Race Bibs and shirts. We hung out at an Expo with a bunch of healthy runner types.

By the end of the evening, I was feeling pretty low. I knew the next day was going to be hard. I knew that I wasn’t going to get a personal best. I knew I didn’t look like a runner, or an athlete fit to participate in a Half Marathon.

I went to bed early that night filled with anxiety and regret.

Regret of my own procrastination and letting myself down.

Day 7
Race Day

I don’t know that it should actually be called “Race Day”, because I was only running against myself. I wasn’t competing with anybody. I just wanted to finish the damn thing.

The start is always exciting. Corralled like cattle being led to the slaughter, held in a pen colour coded to your anticipated finish time.

Surrounded by fit, athletic people.

Have I mentioned how many fit people there were?

Once I started, I found it very hard not to get caught up in the race pace that everybody was at. It was far too fast for me and I knew I would be in trouble later on in the run if I didn’t slow down.

Oh yeah, I slowed down all right.

It was somewhere around the halfway point that I began to run out of gas. I was getting tired. My legs were starting to hurt.

I just kept to my mantra:

One foot in front of the other.

Yes, it was hard. A half Marathon is supposed to be hard.

I crossed the finish line 2 hours and 51 minutes and 41 seconds after the start.

Not a Personal Best.

Not an amazing time.

I don’t care. I did it. I accomplished something that seemed so impossible at times. I did it with 7 days worth of training.

I did it for me.

I felt the exhilaration of crossing the finish line like a true champion. I had accomplished something that not everyone will do. Something that a lot of people feel is out of their reach, or too hard, or even impossible!

All they need to do is show up and put one foot in front of the other.

So, to answer the question… Can you run a Half Marathon with only 7 days of training?

Yes! Of course!

Will it be a stellar performance?

No.

Will you feel like you accomplished something?

Yes…. And you’ll probably wish that you had trained harder and prepared a little bit more before hand.

What’s even more amazing than my story?

My wife ran too…with No Training!!!!!!

She is absolutely amazing.

Until next time,

This is me!

 

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A Long Term Program (with a Short Blog)

Blog 31

January is over. The 1 Crunch a Day Challenge is still on… and I also stopped eating Fried Food for the month. I celebrated on the 31st with Chicken Wings! Yes, I know, they were deep fried.

Vlogging is not really working out as good as I’d hoped, but it’s a skill I will only get better at.

The running training for the BMO Half marathon, in May, is such a slow process for me.

Bottom line?

I suck at running. I still can’t go 3 km without stopping for a minute or two to catch my breath. Again, I know that I will only get better. Persistence will pay off.

I believe I said this in an earlier post, but it’s not the short term that I’m interested in. This is a long term program.

Did anybody else notice that February only has 28 days?

I think that’s great! It’s the perfect month to try something for a month, or give up something for a month. And I have…. Or I am….. But I’m not going to spill the beans yet on what that is. Not yet, anyway.

Everything is coming together nicely. It really is the little things that add up over time. Start slow. Build up.

I believe that applies to everything. It doesn’t matter if I’m talking about a diet change, or training to run, to just changing my lifestyle. The little things count.

This is an incredibly short Blog. I really thought I’d have more to say, but I’ve been busy with the YouTube channel and trying to keep my head afloat at work, as well as stick to the training plan. — and trust me…. There’s not much of a training plan.

Here’s a couple of video links you can watch what I’ve been up to. Click around… See some more.

I’ll be back in a while with an update.

Until then, Stay Motivated, Enjoy what you Have and…

Stay Positive!

Just Like 50 First Dates… Over and Over

Blog 30

I spent the earlier part of the day watching the movie 50 First Dates. It’s a great RomCom.

Lucy has a brain injury that affects her short-term memory. Every day she wakes up, she thinks it’s the same day that she got her injury. Every day is Groundhog Day – another great movie, by the way.

Henry falls in love with Lucy and every day he has to come up with a new way to get her to like him.

I find that every time I start a project, or a program like “getting in shape” or “learning how to play the banjo”, I start with good intentions and then slip up once…twice…well, you know me by now…and then kind of put the project on the back burner.

Eventually, I start up again. It’s not like every day, but it happens often enough that I can never achieve the results I’m looking for.

I often feel like every time I start… well, I feel like it’s the first time. I go in with gusto, and then it fizzles out.

Let’s see. We’re 3 weeks or so into the New Year and everything is going good.

What? Please, tell us your secret! Hahaha…..

Just like Henry trying to get Lucy to like him, the secret is simple.

Persistence.

Persistence pays off… so does starting slow. That’s my secret. It’s working good so far.

This is my first day out on a run. I’m not pushing it. I have to go slow. It’s not the short term that counts. It’s all about the Big Picture. It’s the Long Run. There’s 15 weeks to the BMO Half Marathon and, uh, I think, that counts as a long run. This is where I start. At the beginning. Slow.

I mentioned in my rambling last post about the importance of having a plan, seeing the Big Picture and Staying Positive.

It’s a beautiful day and I’d rather be sitting on a patio having a beer, but by starting small and slow I intend to show how the end goal can be reached.

Don’t worry, I’ll be on the patio with my reward soon enough.

Next Tuesday I want to talk about food. Who doesn’t like food?

Until then, I’m going to enjoy my run.

Oh, and about 50 First Dates… Spoiler Alert — Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore eventually get together. Surprise!

Oh, and Stay Positive….anything is possible.

Stay Positive

Blog 29

Stay Positive

It’s a theme; it’s a mantra; it’s a way of life.

I’m no expert, but whenever I let myself down, I always try to look at the bright side. I try to look at the things that I did right, and learn from the things that I did wrong. I try to stay positive.

From time to time, we all bite off a bit more than we can chew. There’s nothing wrong with that. My 1 sit-up a day challenge (now 1 crunch a day challenge) is going good. I hate to admit that I missed a coupe of days at the start, but I am committed to it now. I have to be. I’m already planning the December 31st party!

That’s all it takes sometimes – an end goal, the Big Picture, to help you with the challenges along the way.

I could have hid the fact that I missed a couple of days. I could have told myself, and everyone else, that I’m doing an excellent job of meeting the challenge every day. But I won’t, and I didn’t. The only person I’d be lying to would be me. The only person I let down is me… but that’s not a bad thing.

Yes, I was disheartened. I started thinking that there is no way I can keep up this challenge. Negative thoughts can grow inside my head and fester like an infected wound and if left untreated, they can start to spread and cause more problems than if the problem was dealt with from the beginning.

This is a long challenge; a year long challenge; a 365 day challenge! Perfection can’t be expected. Persistence and perseverance will get me through to the finish line… and that’s really what my goal is. Finish strong at the finish line.

I happen to live in a great little neighbourhood. There used to be about 8 young families that lived on our street. In the summer time, the kids ruled our street. Passing cars would have to give way to a street hockey game, or drive around bikes that were abandoned in the middle of the road, as the children rushed inside for a quick lunch break. Halloween would see the street virtually blocked off from traffic as there would be 200+ kids trick-or-treating with parents in tow.

I happen to live in a great neighbourhood. One summer’s day, the kids had decided to redecorate the road with chalk drawings and graffiti.

Yes, that sounds weird.

Scrawled across the road was a banner that has become my mantra. It simply stated, “Stay Positive”. Actually, the “S” had sort of been rubbed away by passing cars, or pedestrians, so the banner actually said, “tay Positive”. That is what has become my mantra.

positive

So simple, and yet so powerful.

I can’t imagine the reason a 10 year old might scribble this across the middle of a road, but there it was, written by someone who was clearly more intelligent and self aware than me.

So, I don’t look at a couple of missed days of Crunches as a failure. Will I miss more days in the coming months? Yes. Yes, I will. It’s a long way to the finish line and if I start playing head games now, negativity will win, and it will spread like a cancer to all my other goals.

If I keep the Big Picture in mind, all will be good.

So, if you’re driving down my street, be sure to watch out for the little ones. They rule the road. Be patient as they dart to-and-fro from yard to yard jumping through sprinklers and leaving their skateboards and bicycles in the middle of the street. Be sure to keep a look out for signs of motivation, and most importantly, Stay Positive.

Or as I like to say, “tay Positive”.

This is me.

1 Sit Up a Day Challenge

Blog 28

So…. of all the bright ideas…..I thought it would be fun to create a challenge.  I am doing One sit up a day for the whole year!

That might sound silly.  1 Sit up every day?  Surely anybody can do that!

No….  well yes….. anybody probably can do that…. but this is a little bit more involved…..

On January first, the first day of the year, I did 1 sit up.  On the second, I did Two.  By the end of the year, December 31st, I will do 365 sit ups.

At this point, it seems impossible.  All I can say is it’s a Good thing it’s not a Leap Year!

Watch the video to see how it’s going, so far.

And to answer the question….. No….. I will not post a video every day of this Challenge!

Check back, though, there will be updates.

This is me!

Looking Back to Look Ahead

Blog 27

January 1, 2019

Yup. ‘Tis the Season, and all that. Sometimes you have to look back, not necessarily to see where you’ve been (although that’s important), but to see where you are going.

the-past-is-like-using-your-rear-view-mirror-in-the-11795035
Meme borrowed from Me.Me

The last couple of weeks have been spent reflecting on the year that has just passed. It’s far too easy to focus on the failures, and bad things, or things that I never accomplished.

The old car is still old. The skinny jeans still don’t fit, although, really? Should someone my age even be considering skinny jeans? Really! So many goals appear to be just as far away today as they were this time last year.

Wait a minute. Why am I focusing on the negative? Yes, it’s my human nature, but if I spend a minute looking at some of the highlights I can see so many opportunities that have presented themselves and have been taken advantage of.

Last year a couple of musical things presented themselves, and I took advantage of them. I can say that it was a very fulfilling year, to say the least.

We were offered a weekly gig at an Irish pub nearby. Every Friday night! A house band gig! It’s not like we asked for it. We didn’t even want it. We even tried to offer it to other musicians and bands. They only wanted us.

That’s crazy! I’m not sure why they wanted us. I’m not sure what we did to make them like us that much, but it has turned into a very fun gig. Every week I expect a phone call saying that the music night has been cancelled, but here we are… a year later, and they still want us to entertain them on a weekly basis.

IMG_3368

We’ve grown from a duo to a trio with a fiddler friend and now to a four-piece with a Cajon player banging out beats and keeping us in time.

We decided that the end of summer would be the end of the gig and held a big Summer Wrap Up party with all of our friends. We rented a Party Bus, had a table filled with food and treats, and made sure everyone had a drink when they walked into the pub. It was awesome!

Two weeks later, the pub was asking when we were coming back.

A weekly gig is perfect for keeping your voice in shape, and fingers limber on the guitar. It keeps the songs (and words) at the ready in your head and it also provides the opportunity to try out new things.

An opportunity presented itself. We accepted. No regrets.

This is the time of year that we start thinking about our annual St. Patrick’s Event at our local pub in town. Last year was the greatest show of our lives!

Since St. Paddy’s Day was on Saturday, we planned a full day of music. Six hours worth! Yup, Bruce Springsteen’s got nothing on us!

The day started with an afternoon matinee. We had a fiddler (for the first time) and he played tunes and accompanied us to the delight of the other folks in the pub. It couldn’t get any better.

Or could it? Next up we had a couple of friends join us. Another fiddler and a Ulliean Piper (which for simplicity sake, I’ll just describe as Irish Bagpipes) banged away with us for a couple of hours. Yes…. 2 fiddlers playing traditional Irish tunes! Surely, it couldn’t get any better.

Oh yeah? The last couple of hours of the evening we added Bass and Drums to the mix. We Rocked out many of our Folk songs and made the most memorable of day for everybody there.

An opportunity presented itself. We accepted. No regrets.

At some point in the year I saw an ad from a local music organization that was putting on a weekend seminar with Tom Jackson. He is a Live Music Producer and it’s fair to say that I am a fan of his.

We applied to be a Featured Performer. We were accepted. The next thing I know, we’re on a stage, performing a song with Tom Jackson guiding us through how to make it more interesting to watch. It was nothing short of a dream come true.

IMG_3427

Another unexpected reward was seeing a local band (they were already very good and entertaining to watch), be transformed to Star Level with minor tweaks and changes. It was pure magic!

An opportunity presented itself. We accepted. No regrets.

It was hot. It was June. We were in Nashville. What a place! The worst musician was better than anybody I’ve ever seen here. Everywhere we turned, there was music. It was awesome. It was inspiring. It was an incredible experience. We even saw a show at the Grand Ole Opry! Will the Circle be Unbroken? I think not! Never!

It was an experience that I’ll never forget.

An opportunity presented itself. We accepted. No regrets.

At some point in October I found myself in a hotel for a few days. I was bored and found myself watching a lot of YouTube videos.

action adult aperture blur
Photo by Terje Sollie on Pexels.com

I accidentally discovered Vlogging and binge watched, at least, 36 hours of videos.

I can’t say that this was a life-changing event, but I can say that it started my brain thinking differently.

This is hard to explain.

This Blog was originally created to chronicle my training for a half marathon. That is it. One purpose, one direction. Basically it had one thing to say.

For the longest time, I struggled with how to change that one direction that it had. By watching various Vloggers go about their daily lives with their posts, I realized that it’s not always the destination that is interesting. It’s the journey. It’s the road that takes you there.

I believe that I can continue with this Blog and Vlog with a secret destination in mind, but the most interesting part will be the journey to get there.

So…….

What’s going to happen in 2019?

fork-roads-in-steppe

It’s going to be fun. It’s probably going to have some surprises.

What will they be?

That’s the best part. I don’t even know! This is going to be exciting.

Let’s find some opportunities. Let’s accept them. Never have any regrets.

Happy New Year!

This is me.

Beat the Rush (back to the gym)

Blog 26

It’s December. Everybody is busy with “Holiday Parties” and visiting family and friends. I’m not saying, “Bah Humbug,” but why not hit the old gym and get a head start on everybody that will be there in January.

Today, for some unknown reason, I was cold. I initially thought I was tired and hungry, but I ate and I didn’t feel like taking a nap, (contrary to popular belief, I don’t always take naps), so I decided to get moving forward.

Any visit by me to the gym is not my favourite thing. We do not like each other. We do not even tolerate each other. I don’t know why I thought today would be any different.

First of all, I made the mistake of thinking that I’d beat the New Years Resolution Crowds. I thought I’d show up to an empty room with all the equipment to myself. This was not to be true. Although, it was not packed, it was much busier than I thought.

I am shy. I don’t want other people to see me fail at lifting weight, or stumble on the treadmill. I don’t want others to judge me as I drip with sweat, and maybe cry a little.

Yes, I know, nobody is actually there watching me. It’s foolish to think that anybody would care what my struggles are…. especially in the gym!

All I needed to do was show up.

I did a 15 minute light jog on the “mill” and did some upper body stuff. Don’t ask me what they’re called… but it’s various exercises involving lifting weights and killing my arms and shoulders.

This was more difficult than I remember doing. In fact, I had to trade in the trusty 20 pounders for something lighter. I believe they were 8 lb dumbells. I’m just going to call it downsizing.

Yeah, that’s fun.

I also spent some quality time stretching my wounded leg, just like my therapist said I should. It was neither fun, nor easy. I have not been as diligent as I should be with these stretches.

Like most people, I don’t want to put the work in, I just want to get better.

Let me tell you, nobody is ever going to do the work for you, but if you show up, you’re more likely to do it yourself. Yeah. That sucks, but it’s the way it is.

I found a nice quiet spot in the “Stretching Room”.  There was nobody around, so I could do my thing.

I was lying on the floor when someone walked into the room. It was everything I could do not to laugh out loud at the situation. It wasn’t the huffing or puffing, it was the fact that I was signing along to a song on the iPod (headphones in) when they walked in. I was singing loud and proud, and way out of key, and I only knew every other word. I can’t imagine what they thought of that performance!

I’m not cold anymore.

I showed up.

I survived.

I will do it again.

This is me.