Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Becoming a Runner

"Th......a......t      Su.......c.....ked!"

Is the only words I could muster about 45mi into some diabolical hill repeats this Sunday. I was out with my buddy Dave who has been riding hard all summer and he completely handed me my ass during this training ride. It is awesome seeing my friend, who has put in a ton of hard work, turn into an absolute beast on the bike but damn, did he make me hurt!

We got in some brisk riding over some decent rollers over the first 25mi or so when we stopped at a gas station to refill our bottles. After that the first 10mi were on a newly paved section of road that was relatively flat. I figured this would be a good time to take it easy and warm-up before we got to the South section which is home to some ruthless hills. Dave had other ideas. It was go time from the first pedal stroke out of the rural town of Coldspring - and it was at this point I knew it was going to be an unpleasant ride!

I figured it was better to latch on to Dave's rear wheel going 27mph then it was to go it alone at 23mph so embrace the pain became my mantra for this rather painful Sunday morning. Unfortunately this was the easy part of the ride!

We eventually hit the brutal hills and the realization that this was going to hurt became a reality. I struggled and struggle bad. I watched Dave pull further and further away and my pride was the only thing that kept me from not walking up the last big ass hill. I had never been so happy to be spinning that final couple of miles back to the car. I made it, barely.

The funny thing is that 3 months ago this ride would have been just another day of training and I would have eaten those hills for breakfast instead of the other way around.  But this day was not 3 months ago and I no longer am that guy who rides 200mi over the weekend. Bike fitness sure fades fast!

And I am okay with this because ...

I am becoming a runner.

Over the last 2 months I have become run focused. The lycra is hanging in the closet, my running shoes have laces instead of yanks, socks are now being worn, chlorine is no longer my fragrance of choice, and my right calf is lacking smeared chain grease.

Yep, I am a runner!

At this point I am just your run of the mill recreational cyclist (as proved on Sunday) and swimmer and have decided to dedicate myself to becoming the best runner I can be. I've become so serious about this running thing that I have even sought training advice from running guru's Chris K and Adam (Thanks for the guidance guys)!

When I was a kid I was always one of the fastest guys in whatever sport we were playing and this carried over to high school and college. Then in my first semester of college I had my clavicle shattered and tore all three ligaments in my shoulder when I got tackled playing football and landed in a weird way (with a 300 pound dude on top of me). This ended my career in football and put me on the path of eating crappy foods and drinking lots of beer. 

By the time I graduated college my weight was exactly the same as it was when I entered but my pants had increased by four sizes and I was no longer good at running.  Over the years I gained even more weight until 2008 when I dropped 50lbs and started Triathlon.

Flash forward to today and I feel like it is time to see if I can be good a running again by giving the training the time and effort it deserves.  Over the last few years I've been on the podium in my AG at a couple local running races that have been done during Tri training but I have never trained or tapered specifically for just a running race. Last summer a huge amount of time was dedicated to getting better at swimming. Last winter and spring my focus was on the bike. Running has always taken a back seat so this fall and winter it is time to run.

So if any of you bloggy peeps are interested in this little running experiment I welcome you to follow along on this journey to becoming a runner.

Thanks for Reading,



  1. Dude. So awesome. I have to stop eating and get some serious training in again.

    Honestly. I lost my love of running during IM training. I used to only run, then I started triathlon and sort of started not liking running. Not sure what is up with that. I guess that poses a problem since I do love the sport of triathlon in all.

  2. I'm cool if your cool. It will be a nice break in the action.

  3. Right after IMKY and IM70.3 Las Vegas, I am DOWN for this running adventure!!!!! I definitely want to do strict run training for a couple months. Can't wait!!

  4. I am a runner trying to become a swimmer. If triathlons were fight, bike, run I would be putting my effort into Muay Thai and Jui Jitsu right now instead.

    I enjoy hearing your take on running. I admit I am a fan of run less run faster and 3x days a week of running vs high mileage plans. Balancing swim/bike/run is not easy.

  5. Heck yes! I <3 to run! After the Branson 70.3 in Sept, I’m hitting up the Marine Corps marathon in Oct--and I’m beyond excited about getting back to running more. Although I do love triathlon a ton, I’ve missed the running. What are your goals going forward?

  6. We are not in the minority judging from your comments! I decided to save trying to qualify for until Xterra next year (when my MTB skills are better), and am focusing on running right now through December, when I will get back on the bike.

    Have Maui 1/2 Marathon next month, Xterra 10K and a 10-miler in November, so a good race each month.

    Had my first 8+ mile run last Sunday in over 10 years. It was awesome!

    I'll definitely be following along! Let's kick it!

  7. It's so liberating to just run. Simple. Easy. No pumping of shoes. Can't wait to see your potential shine with the run focus!

  8. Yesterday i ride my bike nearly 1000miles !!!

    triathlon training

  9. Been there. Done that. Got the tshirts. Seriously. I have like a million race tshirts. haha.

    I think you new goal is awesome and I know you can do it! I'll be following your journey closely.

    Personally, I can't see myself going back to full time running at all. I may never BQ if I keep up the tri-training but I really don't care anymore. That said, I have never been a faster runner than I am now. My 5k PR is a full minute faster than any 5k I ran in high school and outside of the Honolulu Marathon suckfest, my marathon time is steadily dropping as well.

  10. Me too

    To do well at IMNYC I need people to say "Did you see that guy hammer the bike like Leito does, and you know, he can run too"

    Weight!!! When I go to work carrying my briefcase (computer inside) it always seems SOOO heavy. Since I have a scale in my office I weighed it.. 20 pounds. And damn it seems heavy. It's all about weight. I can not fathom what it will feel like to have 20 less of those pounds on this body while running.

    Do I hear 145 out of the Carrot man??

  11. I am certainly following your journey with interest. Love it!

  12. I'm with Mandy
    must - stop - eating
    must - start - training

    excited to follow this new path and journey

  13. "So if any of you bloggy peeps are interested in this little running experiment I welcome you to follow along on this journey to becoming a runner."


  14. I feel like I need to become a runner too. You're going to do great, and I'll follow you on your journey. It's nice to get owned sometimes on the bike to give yourself a little perspective.

  15. I think that is a little misleading. You already are a runner... you just don't have the running speed you want.

    As a runner turned triathlete, the only advice I give people is this. If you want to be fast, you have to go to a dark, very painful place. You will be there a lot.

    Every speed session I did when I wanted a PR in running hurt, I can take the running hurt much easier than I can take the bike hurt (we are all different).

    Heck, I was 185lbs+ when I got my marathon PR, so there is no reason anyone lighter than me can't do that right? ;) haha. Stick to the plan and as usual heed injuries properly... that is what did me in.

  16. I think one thing that keeps me coming back for more is keeping it fresh in training cycles. I have enjoyed this tri training spring /summer block, but I am already totally looking forward to post REV3 Cedar Point when I will likely again return to my running roots for the winter! Good luck and looking forward to hearing more about it!

  17. It's about time you saw the light!
    : )

    The beauty of running is its simplicity. You can do it anywhere, any time, no need for equipment, a pool, etc. I'm sure you'll be successful with it.

    Unless, of course, you do it in those shoes you bought!

  18. I can't wait to see what you drop at the HOU MARY with just a run focus.

    If you put in 1/10th of the dedication to running that you did to swimming and cycling this running thing is going to be easy for you.


  19. Woohoo for becoming a runner! Triathlon is awesome, but running is my true passion! After IMAZ, it will be my main focus again too!

  20. I am definitely jumping on your running journey. That happens to be where my concentration is at this time. I suck at all 3 sports, but I suck the worst at running. If I can train up to the Honolulu Marathon without injury (like the injury I sustained the last time), I am going to concentrate on my speed. Right now I may as well be walking fast!!! :-)

  21. I feel you. Nothing but running since early June for me. I'm kinda digging it. The simple life.

  22. I'm with Ms. Zippy, that's why I love running! And I think that's why I haven't gotten into biking as much, because it takes a lot of gear, and seems to take a lot of money too. I've never liked sports that require a lot of gear.

    I think you will do awesome at your first stand alone marathon, wouldn't surprise me at all if you BQ or get really close to a BQ.

  23. This is gonna be fun!!! Go get your run on and rock it out!!

  24. I'm with ya! I need to get my running S together BAD.

    This fall/winter will be all about the swim/run.

  25. Nice information! I'm really enjoying reading your blog here!