For the past several months, I’ve had the great pleasure of coaching most of my family members for the Disney Marathon Weekend races. It has been a wonderful journey, and great fun to see each of my family members growing through the training. The best part of coaching my family has been working with my brother as he trains for his first marathon – as part of the Dopey Challenge. I am so deeply proud of him that it stuns me. Every time he achieves a new goal, I am filled with pride. The best moment was this:
The text he sent me following his *second* twenty-miler. He’s amazing. I even got a little misty-eyed reading his texts. It has been truly my pleasure to see him finish this training. Here’s his take:
I ran the Volkslauf 20K in Frankenmuth, MI on July 4, 2014 as my first long race (more than 5K) since Disney in January. I had trained well through the summer, but missed long runs or workouts along the way. Still, I dropped 2 min/mile off my expected half marathon time and finished without injury. It was a success. The next day, I ran a 5K with Dr. Rachel as a shakeout and a glimpse as to what would come in January again. I had never done back to back races and probably very few back to back runs. But that was the future for me – training for Dopey and running back to back to back.
Thus, I consider July 5th as my training start date for the Dopey Challenge. I started out following the Disney supplied plan. Then, in September, I switched to the Dr. Rachel prepared plan. Since then, I have followed it as best I can; running through Lake Fayetteville in Arkansas, West Hartford in Connecticut, treadmills, and the Pere Marquette Rail Trial here in Michigan. Since training started, I have logged 406 miles running – 113 of which came in November alone. Even as temperatures have dipped in Michigan, I have stayed outdoors; trying to avoid the mistakes and injuries of last year. Staying healthy and getting stronger (running) has been a huge priority. I have missed out or skipped out on things so much that I am sure my friends and wife are sick of hearing “I would love to but I have to run tomorrow”. But the end is nigh.
In an early post (August,) I had mentioned my weight loss goals. When Dr. Rachel visited for the Volkslauf, besides being my running coach, she also helped me with changes to my eating habits. I don’t say diet. I still drink beer, eat pizza, and grab fast food (sometimes while still in running clothes). Nothing has been cut but instead portion size monitored and better decisions made. I am down 48 pounds, feeling better than ever, and I think it has translated to better, faster run times. The holidays are a hard time to skip the eggnog, the cupcakes, and the thirds at family dinner. But the end is nigh.
There are 15 days, 15 hours, and 8 minutes (as I write this) before the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. While I expect some of my new habits will carry with me into the future, the end is nigh.