Friday, March 12, 2010

To Run, or Not To Run…

…that is the (strange) question.



Okay, so I've been agonizing for the last several weeks over the idea of running my first ½ marathon early next year at Walt Disney World. I don't know if it should be this difficult of a decision, but I'm known to analyze the hell out of things – this is no exception. I've decided, after much debate, to list my pros and cons and see if an answer jumps out at me.


  • PRO: It's at Disney World

    • …that has to be one of the top pros around. Everyone who follows me on Facebook, Twitter, and the blog knows that I'm a Disney freak. If I'm going to subject myself to something like this, why not do it at one of my favorite places to visit? Also, there are many, MANY people that I either know or would like to meet who will be down there that weekend. I've always wanted to meet many of the people that I write about face-to-face. I also know a lot of folks from my online stomping ground (the Moose) will be down there that weekend. Aside from the run itself, it is an opportunity to meet up with most of these people. 

    • CON: This is going to cost quite a bit of money

      • We're doing a trip in June for nearly a week. That's not cheap. I've been pricing different options, such as purchasing an annual pass. That could save us a little…especially if we stay on-site for the run and if theme park ticket prices and/or hotel rates increase substantially before purchasing them for January. On the negative side, it's going to be really difficult to say no to a short trip if we get some good airfare rates and a PIN code. Plus, the cost of running is an additional $130.

      • PRO: Completing a long-distance event is on my list of things to do before I die

        • I'm one of those accomplishment-driven people. This is something that I know I'll struggle with, and I can imagine the feeling of crossing the finish line. It's a long-term goal, and it's something that I can measure progress on, which is important as it keeps me interested in continuing on. Thanks to being A.D.D., I can lose interest in something really easily (look…something shiny!)

        • CON: I absolutely hate long-distance running

          • Why would I have this on the list of things I need to do before I die if I detest running??? Ask anyone who went to high school with me or saw me at the Air Force Academy, and they'll readily agree with the notion that I absolutely suck at it. I'm a sprinter by nature - I actually broke a 25 year-old county record in the 110 hurdles back in middle school, and I had a 4.67 time on the 40-yard dash, which isn't too bad for a guy with short legs. Anything more than 200 yards, however, and I really start laboring. I've never paced myself well, and I feel like I need 100% oxygen about 400 yards in. When I was in Basic Cadet Training my first year at the Academy, when I was probably in my best shape, I maxed out a 1.5 mile run in 10:36, and I nearly collapsed afterward. My average time for this was well over 11 minutes, which is not good, because anything over 11:16 was considered a fail (and, yes, I failed this run numerous times and was placed on athletic probation). So why entertain the idea of spending money to run farther than I ever have before? I feel that, if I can tackle this…something that I don't like at all…then it shows that I truly can do things when I put my mind to it.

          • PRO: It will get me in shape

            • I'll readily admit that I'm grossly overweight. I've been looking at training plans, and I have found one that gets you started running and then a follow-on that starts building up distance for the half. Before I even start the first training plan, I'd like to shed off 20-30 pounds in an effort to save my knees from getting angry and ultimately packing up and moving out. Being that heart disease runs on both sides of my family, and Type II diabetes is prevalent too, it makes perfect sense for me to get back in shape. Besides, my wife and I have been married for almost 13 years…it's almost time to trade her in for a new model, so I'll have to look good. (Yes, dear, I know…I'm on the couch tonight).

            • CON: Will I survive the training?

              • I've read that I have to maintain a 16 minute mile pace to avoid being swept off of the course, which I think I can do, even if I walk most of it (I plan to run quite a bit, if not all, of it). Still, being quite a bit heavier than I should be, I know it's going to stress the legs and joints quite a bit…and that's both for the training as well as the actual race. Also, I'm a worrier…while I know that aerobic exercise will benefit me in the long run (literally), it's the short run that scares me a bit. I sometimes take my pulse when I'm stationary…pretty much resting…and I've clocked it at well over 100 at times. I look back to my wife's uncle, who, though he was in good shape, suffered a heart attack after a run and died at a very young age.

              •  PRO: I can use this event to possibly raise funds for charities

                • There are many organizations I would like to help out, and I could try to get backers to pledge money per mile or give a flat rate. I know Deb Wills had Team AllEars for the last race to help raise money for breast cancer research, and, with my wife's cousin being a survivor, I could run for that. Lou Mongello has his fundraising for Make-a-Wish projects, which I definitely see the benefit in (especially after hearing some stories from the podcasts about inspirational children at the parks because of Make-A-Wish). Both of my grandfathers suffered from heart disease.  One of my best childhood friends as well as a colleague at work both deal with Crohn's disease on a daily basis.  The causes are there, and I think l could bring in a few hundred dollars to help one or more of these organizations.

                • CON: The fear of failure

                  • Can I do this? Yes, I do believe so…otherwise, I wouldn't really entertain the idea. Knowing my past efforts with distance running, however, casts doubt (again, the joy of A.D.D....scenarios often default to "doomsday"). If I set myself up to raise money and then not make the entire goal, I will feel that I will have let down not just myself but everyone who pledged money.

                  • PRO: Did I mention it was at Disney World?



                  All kidding aside…I know I can't be the only person that is going through or has gone through this. The agonizing continues…though the decision will have to made in the next month or so in order to A) register before it fills up; and B) start the training.



                  Stay Tuned.


                  Scott said...

                  You're not the only one. After seeing the Marathon in person last year, I told myself I would do that one day.

                  5 weeks ago I started an exercise bootcamp program my company put on and after the first week I decided the Disney half marathon was my ultimate goal. Finally got up the guts to sign up last weekend.

                  I've never willingly run a day in my life up to this so I've got a long 10 months ahead of me but I'm really psyched for it right now. (I set up a Google alert for Disney Marathon, that is how I happened upon your post)

                  - Scott (@scauer)

                  Mush said...

                  Hi Scott...thanks for the comment. I'm guessing there are a bunch of people in the same boat...good luck with your training!

                  Michelle Scribner-MacLean said...

                  Hi, Chris,
                  Michelle, co-capt for Team AllEars here.

                  I thought your blog perfectly captured the fears and carrots that many of our members had last year.

                  I think that two of the keys to success in running these races are just believing in yourself (corny, but true) AND making/keeping a schedule.

                  First, you just have to understand that most of your race is really getting ready for the race. Believe that you can do 1/2 mile...then a mile....It's just like completing your dissertation. Keep plugging along.

                  Next, make a simple 2 days / week to start...and stick to it. You can train doing two short runs and one long run each week. Just stick to your schedule.

                  It's a blast, Chris. There's nothing like it and there's nothing like doing it with a team (I did it alone the first year and it was so wonderful to have peeps there for encouragement the second time).

                  You can do it!!