Boston Training Week 6 …. I am a rocket ship

Posted: January 31, 2010 in Motivation, Training

Monday morning marks week number 6 of our training plan with the Boston Marathon now just 11 weeks away.  In 76 days or 1,845 hours (who’s counting) with ESPN Cameras rolling, news outlets from around the world on hand, one million spectators watching and the finest international marathon runners in the world on hand – Run for Dom takes to the streets of Boston.

A friend this past week was asking me how much time I spent training and whether or not I felt that the time spent was truly worth it.  Now, in my particular situation the question was answered quite easily.  Any “sacrifices” I have made to this point and will be making in the coming weeks and months are nothing compared to the fight that my close friend Dom is in.  To compare the two situations is simply ludicrous.  My friend’s question however was more to the point of distance running in general, it had nothing to do with raising money and awareness to help my friend’s cancer battle.

Thoughts of this conversation returned during my Sunday long-run this weekend.  Why is it such an easy decision for me to hop out of bed on a Sunday, bundle up and cover 9-miles in 28 degree temperatures?  What is it about the sport of distance running that has such a powerful draw for me?

Garmin Miles

Over the next 11 weeks I will spend approximately 102 hours training for the Boston and Pittsburgh Marathons 13 days apart.  43 hours will be spent covering the remaining 343 running miles, 26 hours spent cycing 424 miles with 33 1-hour strength training sessions mixed in.

Those 102 hours will represent roughly 9% of the time I am awake between now and April 19th.  Is it “worth it”?  My  answer remains – “absolutely”. 

The reason being is that just last week I learned an important lesson about myself.

I am a rocket ship.

Now, I did not learn this lesson on my own – I owe this bit of wisdom to my friend Heather’s 3-year old toddler.  Heather is the very talented author of one of my favorite blogs – “Run Faster Mommy” – (you can read Heather’s post here):

She writes about the amazing energy level that her three-year old displays and the excitement with which he takes on all adventures.  How he can run with unbridled enthusiasm while yelling out “I am a rocket ship!”

In preparing for last week’s 3M Half Marathon this post of Heather’s really hit home.  At one point we all loved to run.  In our childhoods running was FUN – 100% fun with a capital F.U.N. – so what happened?  How did something that we all enjoyed so thoroughly become something that we view as “work” and question its worth?  How did it become a sacrifice instead of a celebration?

I thanked Heather for helping remind me of this fact last week before the half-marathon and told her that I would find a time during the race when my body started to feel the rigors of the event and my legs started to feel heavy and proclaim aloud on the course that I too was a rocket ship.

At mile 11 last Sunday as I passed the water station heading down toward the University of Texas campus I proclaimed aloud that I too was a rocket ship.  I will admit – I did receive a strange look from a runner on my right and a raised eyebrow from one of the race volunteers – but it put me exactly back in the state of mind I was seeking.

I was able to smile and realize that I was doing something I absolutely loved to do.  That given the choice there was really no place I would rather be at that point and time – I had in the words of Heather “found my inner toddler”.  I honestly believe that it is there lying dormant inside all of us waiting for a rediscovery.  It is a lesson that I learned at the tender young age of 42.  Shame on me for having forgotten.

Come Heartbreak Hill in Boston, or the Forbes climb at Pittsburgh – steep hills, strong winds, falling rain or cold temperatures that lie ahead – none of those obstacles stand a chance.  You see they are simply unaware of the fact that I have a secret weapon to lean on when the 26.2 mile distance becomes unforgiving.

You see … I am a rocket ship.

  1. Heather G says:

    Yes! YOU ARE A ROCKET SHIP! I love it! I’m so glad that Rowen’s enthusiasm is spreading far and wide. Great job Joe!

  2. joerunfordom says:

    Thanks Heather! Rowen is a wise, wise young man – you should be very proud! Take care, Joe

  3. Jessica Neno says:

    Joe: Today I watched a documentary called “Spirit of the Marathon” on Netflix. It tracks six runners who are preparing for the Chicago marathon. I think I understand your motivation a bit more now. Nice segment in it on philanthropy running too. Have you seen it? You should check it out. I realized that — oddly enough — I have something in common with marathoners. Many of them said, “If I can do this, I can do anything!” That’s how many women — myself included — feel about natural childbirth. And trust me — training for that is similar to training for a marathon too!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Jessica! Thanks for stopping by. I have indeed seen “Spirit of the Marathon” which is reaching cult status for us crazy marathoners – kind of like the surfers who used to watch movies like Big Wednesday. I think that is one of the things I like most about the marathon which is it can really cross over to mainstream America – it’s not just a hardcore event any longer. There can be 25,000 runners at a marathon and everyone of them has their own story and their own goals – rare is a sporting event (or any event) where every participant who finishes is a winner. I can imagine how your latest “win” is something you can draw strength from for all time – that confidence is a powerful emotion. We received a “Neno” gift today at Run for Dom from Kathy – I’ll be sending her a note of thanks shortly. Take care, Joe

  4. Lara says:

    What a fantastic, absolutely perfect realization. Yes, at one point we all thought running, jumping, skipping rope, and riding out bikes was play. When did this change? I have a feeling it was around the time hormones jumped in and we started pounding our bodies with junk food. However, the inner toddler is absolutely correct. It’s all perspective. I’d run with you in a heartbreak, proclaiming each and every mile that I, too, am a rocket ship. Ships unite!!

  5. joerunfordom says:

    Lara – amazing how much we can learn from those little rascals who have it all figured out by age 5. (I think this nickname may stick – I’m getting called Rocket Ship in the office today ….)

  6. Sarah says:

    This post made me smile. 🙂 I will have to remember that I too am a Rocket Ship!

  7. Leslie1976 says:

    What an excellent blog post! I couldn’t help but smile as I was reading it. Something I’m definately going to try to do as i’m pounding the streets of London on 25/4/10. It actually reminded me of Michael Johnson’s autobiography. He says that whenever he was lining up against the 7 best other runners in the world at either 200 or 400 metres that in his head he was a kid running in his school sports day. It just rteminded him of simpler times when all he wanted to do was run! Great post!

  8. joerunfordom says:

    Leslie – thanks for the visit and the comment! Best of luck in London – that is on my short-list with Athens of “dream races”. Take care, we’ll talk soon. Joe

  9. Leslie1976 says:

    Joe, I don’t know if you’re aware or not but it’s the 2500th anniversary of the Athens Marathon this year. A friend of mine done it two years ago and is going back for this years special event. I know it might be a bit short notice but the 2500th anniversary of a race would be pretty cool to do!

  10. joerunfordom says:

    Leslie – I was not aware of that – wow that would be tremendous. My wife and I were kicking that around and I’m going to have to give that some serious thought. I think of all the events out there post-boston that one and London are on my “Bucket-list” so to speak. Would be a great post-race vacation as well! Best of luck with the training Leslie – thanks again for the information and the visit! Best, Joe

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