So, my journey to this new training cycle has been interesting. At the start of 2016, I was focusing on getting a sub 2:30:00 half marathon time at the 2016 Suja Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon. On March 20th, I ran 9 miles around the Rose Bowl. My time was slower than I would have liked. But, I was still going for that sub 2 and a half hour half time. Then…
this little guy came into my life and life will never be the same. Don’t get me wrong. I love Colton so much! He has brought so much healing into my life and is such an amazing little dude! However, he has also ushered into my life an era of little sleep. I still remember the first night he was with Brooke and I. I remember the very first time he cried because he was hungry in the middle of the night. I thought to myself …. here we go. When you get less than 8 hours of sleep, you start to wonder if running is still going to be part of your life (at least that’s what I thought). I had found this new hobby while waiting for Colton to arrive and I had to see if I could keep it going.
In the first few weeks, Brooke and I looked more closely at our finances. Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon had to go. We were playing our finances conservatively. This way, we could see how much extra we needed to include in our finances with a new person in our house and make the appropriate adjustments. So, the race, I had been training for, was no longer on the calendar. I was also not running at all in the first couple weeks.
On April 9th, I ran for the first time as a daddy. It was the day of the Angels Baseball Foundation 5K. I was nervous heading down to the stadium to run. How would it go? It was nice to enter a race with ZERO expectations. This was a run to see what I could still do. Much to my surprise, my time didn’t completely suck for me! I could run after doing the night time feedings!
After the Angels Baseball Foundation 5K, I felt like I could continue down this running journey. Colton’s birth paused my path a little bit. However, right after the Angels Baseball Foundation 5K, I found myself right at the first week of training for the 2016 TCS NYC Marathon. Since I was so lucky to get in through the lottery, I set my sights on making it to this race. I was worried that, if I cancelled my entry this year, I would have to go back into the lottery next year. Could my luck get me in again next year? It was too much of a gamble. However, it was also a really expensive race to be involved with. When you add airfare, hotel cost, food costs, etc., this would be quite expensive. As I watched airfares climb, I contacted the NYRR to see about a deferral. That’s when I learned that I could cancel this year and get a guaranteed entry for next year (provided I pay the entry fee next year)!
That’s when I decided to do the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon instead. I dropped out of the NYC Marathon and signed up with Avengers. I decided to use the marathon training plan I was on until it was time to start up the Avengers training plan. This was my Pre-Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon plan.
This Pre-Avengers training had one purpose…to find the confidence I’d need to tackle any future running goals.
The early runs were hard. But, I wasn’t going that much slower than before becoming a dad. It was hard to find consistency. We had to find a way to get those mid-week runs in. Since I don’t get much time with the boy on the weeknights, it took some time to find a way to make them happen. I had to be okay with starting later than normal.
Running on the treadmill and time on the elliptical machine helped.
By the time I hit 7 miles, it started to become clear to me that I found my way back to feeling normal on my runs.
On my 9 mile run, I had come full circle. I had made my way back to the distance I ran the day before we learned about Colton….and I did it in roughly the same time as I did the previous time. Yep, I was back!
11 miles at Santa Monica this past weekend put me back in double digits for the first time since the 2016 Star Wars Half Marathon. I finished the 11 miles a little slower than I would have wanted. However, I found a way to finish all 11 miles at the beach after 2 late night bottle feeds with the boy.
First….I can still run long distances!
- this is HUGE! As I went through the first 3 weeks with Colton in my house, I wasn’t so sure. With all of those middle of the night bottle feeds, I would loose some sleep I hadn’t been used to. I mean, in those first few weeks, it was quite a shock to the system. I’ve learned how to live this new kind of life and it’s become the new normal. Each run I’d finish and each gym workout moved me closer and closer to feeling normal again. Each and every run….each and every gym workout helped me believe I could get back to normal feeling training. It was quite the process, but I’m there!
Second…success in training starts with having a plan.
- I know this seems like a no-brainer. However, in the past, I could decide things last minute and be okay. If I didn’t know where I was running the next day or what time I’d run, I’d figure it out the night before and be fine. Now, that I have the little guy, I need to make these plans about a week out. Without a plan, it’s easy to decide to skip a run or a workout.
Third…each workout and each run represents a decision to do them.
- When you have a new little person in the house, you gain some new “good” reasons to skip a workout or a run. When I’ve been successful in this pre-training, training cycle, it happened when I was committed to run. I gave myself a 30 minute window to get out the door on the weekends. I had the time I wanted to leave and allowed 30 extra minutes in case the little guy woke up and needed to be fed. I had to plan a drop dead time where I couldn’t feed him, even if he woke up. I worked out that plan with my wife beforehand. The results on those weekends? I made all my miles. On the weekends where I didn’t? I missed the runs. So, points 2 and 3 kind of go together. Have a plan and commit to executing the plan the night before you have to act. Otherwise, I’ll likely find an excuse to miss.
Fourth…if I can function at work being tired, I can run tired.
- This is the biggest mental hurdle to get over. I’ve only had one or two nights since Colton was born where I got 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. That leads to a sluggish feeling most days. I’ve found ways to keep my energy going at work. I had to learn how to run when I felt tired before the run. Each time I finished a run and/or a gym workout, I told myself that I CAN do this.
Fifth…I am stronger than I might ever believe I am!
- Tiredness, time management problems, late night/early morning bottle feeds, being there for my boy no matter how tired I feel, and getting in all the training runs I need? It’s amazing to see what happens when I try. Master Yoda might disagree, but the power of the word “try” is huge for me. I don’t always succeed. However, there have been so many days where the results blew my mind. All of it because I tried. When I tried, I found strength where I didn’t think I had it.
Now, the pre-training is over. It’s time to take my new found confidence and focus on the 2016 Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon. The year started with me running as a way of dealing with the pain of being on the wait list for domestic infant adoption. Now, I’m running to build a running legacy my son will be proud of. Hopefully, all of these changes will lead to many new PR’s along the way!