Friday, March 12, 2010

Adventures in Running

It is now coming up on over 5 years that I have been living in Cincinnati.  And every Spring the Flying Pig Marathon comes up and I think, "Hey, I would love to try and do that".  But being that the race is on the first weekend of May, if you really want to do the race, you need to be training throughout the Winter.  Unfortunately, my body tends to slip into a hibernation mode during the Winter and when Spring hits I am just beginning to try and get outside to exercise.   But then the Flying Pig comes and goes and I have a twinge of regret that I did not have the courage and fortitude to at least TRY and get involved.   But this year is different!  I am running and running a lot.  I have been working out throughout the Winter doing intense workouts that have helped to keep my endurance strong.  I have also been doing the insane running in frigid weather.  It actually is kind of fun battling the elements, even though in the past I usually had the temptation to run these types of people off the road.  I also have discovered the blessing of Under Armor even though it makes me look quite unsavory once I put it on.  Having a full keg of abs doesn’t look as good as a six-pack.  

And now it is beginning to feel like Spring outside.  It feels so good to run without 10 pounds of layered clothes on.  I actually went out in a t-shirt and shorts and ran 7 miles the other day.  So I am right on track to actually attempt the Flying Pig!  Here's the thing though. Since this is my first race since high school, I decided that I am going to do the half marathon this year.

As the weather is getting nicer people are starting to come out a little bit more and make my jogging experience more interesting.  The other day I was coming down a hill that bottoms out at the entrance to our local Kroger store.  As I was picking up some speed at the bottom of the hill I noticed a pick up truck waiting to turn on to the main road.  Now I know that it is the better part of wisdom to run around the back of the vehicle but I was already lost in my “runner’s high”.  That is when a combination of adrenaline and serotonin give your brain a rush and your eyes role back into your head and you lose yourself in the run.  So without thinking much I ran in front of this truck.  All of a sudden I noticed that the truck started moving as if it was going to turn quickly onto the road.  I immediately reacted as the image of me being bounced into the middle of the intersection flashed in my mind, and I slammed my hand down on the hood of the truck rapidly as I was trying to assess if I needed to jump quickly onto the hood!  Luckily the truck came to an abrupt halt as I tried to casually go back to running, hoping for no confrontation.  That is when I heard in a loud and panicked voice, “GOD, YOU SCARED ME!”  Without making any eye contact I just hollered over my left shoulder “YOU SCARED ME!”  (As you may have noticed, I did not refer to him as “God” although I felt pretty important that he called me by that name!) As I quickly kept running down the sidewalk, I was trying to subtly watch to see if the truck driver was going to double around and continue our friendly conversation.  But thankfully, he must have realized that we were both even and it’s time to move on.

As I was catching a wave of adrenaline from that near-death experience I rounded the next major intersection and came upon one of the oddest landmarks of Loveland which is called the “Whippy Dip”.  This is one of those sugar shacks that pump out substandard ice cream.  The strange thing is that Loveland people are crazy about this place!  They flock to it the moment it is opened and there are huge crowds there all the time.  I simply do not get it because we have Graeter’s Ice Cream and United Dairy Farmer’s Ice Cream that is a thousand times superior to the Whippy Dip slop.  Yet this place consistently draws the people in with their tractor-beam of sugary goodness.

Well, as I was coming up to Whippy Dip I just happened to notice that one of my Junior High girls was just getting an ice cream cone and turning to face her friends who were waiting for her.  I did a sprint right towards her and she did not notice me until I was about two steps in front of her.  With the speed of the surprise I was able to get a massive reaction from this Junior Higher who instantly screamed before she recognized me.  I felt bad just a little bit though because the friends that were with her did not act in her defense but collapsed in hysteria from this strange guy charging their friend.  I then just continued on my run with a smirk on my face as I heard behind me a familiar voice say, “SCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTT!”   Mission accomplished!

So here’s the deal.  If I am going to do this I need to set some goals.  So here it is:

1.  I need to run consistently at least 3 times a week. I would like to add some upper-body, core workouts at least once or twice a week just for something different.

2.  I just really want to cross the finish line.  I don’t know what a good time goal is since I have never done this before but I suppose that it would be good to try and finish the half-marathon in say 2-3 hours? . . . Ok, I’m back.  I just did a web search for last years’ results and the best time for 13 miles was 1:09!  A little over one hour!!! If you can pull off 13 miles in one hour why not just do the whole freakin’ thing!?! No, it must feel better to run past middle-aged men like me and smoke everyone in less time.  I swear I will trip you if you run past me!

3.  I have to beat all the guys in my church who are my age or older.  This goal has its roots back to the days when I ran in high school.  I was in cross country when I was a Freshman and a Sophomore.  So at that stage of life, those teens who were older than me had the advantage of more experience, training and mental and physical development.  The completely AWESOME thing at this stage of life is that people older than me have a distinct disadvantage because their age is more of a detriment than a blessing!  So I must beat them.

4.  I really want to beat all the women that are in my church too.  And I do mean all.  But most importantly I need to outpace Stacey.  Now before you label me a sexist let me explain.  See, once again this goes back to past insecurities as a young high school runner.  Back when I was in cross country there was no distinction between the sexes when it came to race day.  The guys and girls all lined up on the same starting line and ran together.  This lead to the demoralizing experience right around the 2 mile mark when girls would start flying past me.  No other sport had guys and girls mixed for competition!  In fact, it would seem that once I graduated, then the girls had their own races separated from the guys!  Now, the deal with Stacey is that her name is the same as the first girlfriend I had in Junior High who broke up with me because she said I was too immature.  This was a cataclysmic event in my 7th grade life.  I was so impacted by this first break-up that I think that I just stopped maturing from that point on.  Stacey left deep, deep scars.  So now I am running with this other Stacey whom I never even knew when I was in Junior High but simply having the same name as the first girl who absolutely smashed my heart to freakin’ pieces is just too much to bear.  I will have victory over all Stacey’s in this race!

5.  I want to try to complete the race without walking.  The temptation is always there but no matter how slow I am going I want to keep it somewhere between a slow jog and a sprint.  Maybe if I just need a quick break I can throw on some wheelies for a mile or two and just glide for a while. 

6.  And then finally, in all seriousness, I am running with a bunch of people from my church for a very good cause.  We have one of our students at our church who is currently battling cancer.  His name is Jake and he is in 6th grade.  He is currently going through an intense regimen of Chemotherapy.  You can learn more about him by going to  or check his status by joining and searching “jakeferrell”. We all are trying to raise money for the family to help supplement their medical bills and expenses during this difficult time.  So if you would like to support me in the Flying Pig marathon you can find my cause on Facebook or send in your support to Epiphany UMC ATTN: Scott Russ (race for Jake Ferrell), 6635 Loveland-Miamiville Road, Loveland, OH 45140.  I appreciate your prayers and support for the Ferrell family and that I make it through race day with my team! 
Who knows what this race will do!  Maybe next year I will attempt the full marathon and then the next year it will be the Iron Man Race!  Only in my dreams!  Thanks for checking out the blog and considering supporting me in this race as I run for one of my pre-teens!

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