Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Mid-life crisis strikes.

Well, that's my excuse anyway.

So this coming December I turn 40. And that's one of those milestone years where people can buy you cookies that say you're older than dirt. (They work quite nicely if you turn 50 too, as my sister found out a few weeks ago).

Not usually being one to ponder my own mortality, something about this milestone got me started. That or the fact that my friend John has been talking about aging and the fact that we're now almost old. One of those. Anyhow, I decided it was time to do something I'd never done before. Something I'd always said I wouldn't do because it was crazy...I'm going to run a marathon.

And I'm outing myself here on the interweb thingy so that the three and a half people who read this blog will keep me honest.

I'm aiming for the Portland Marathon on October 1st. This race has several advantages over the Seattle Marathon: first, it's not three days after Thanksgiving, so the chance of a huge turkey-induced mid-race nap are lessened. Second, it's in Portland, so the chance that anyone I know will be running along laughing at how much I suck will be lessened. Third, it's relatively flat.

OK, that last one is actually the number one reason. When I looked at the Seattle marathon map and talked to a friend who has run it I realized that this city has a bunch of hills, and the course is apparently designed to climb all of them. Most importantly, it climbs up Madison from Lake Washington, an altitude gain of somewhere around 5,000 feet. The Portland marathon, on the other hand, appears to be run on a 26-mile-long mattress made of marshmallows and gatorade. Or maybe that's just wishfull any case, it's relatively flat, as you can see from the graphs below (the Seattle marathon people don't chart the elevation gain because, well, that would scare everyone away).

Portland Marathon Elevation Chart

I haven't started "training" per se, since I don't think you can call wheezing on a tread mill for a half hour "training", but I am starting to run a bit. And I have a plan, thanks to a guy named Hal Higdon who apparently knows something about running.

My intermediate goal is the 8k (5 mile) "Beat the Bridge" race in May, so if you're in Seattle and would like to join me, let me know. And if you're a runner and have any tips (other than "you old fart, just give it up") send me those too!


bonnie said...

woo hoo! go chicken go!

bonnie said...

ps...yeowch. Mile 16-17.5 looks painful.

Tillerman said...

Good luck. I didn't get around to running my first marathon until I was 56. I had a rough time but did it again the next year and had a much better experience. The second time I used Jeff Galloway's system which uses walk breaks. It sounds like it should be slower but it worked for me and I did the second one half an hour faster.

Scott Chicken said...

Thanks! Higdon recommends walk breaks as well, especially in the water stations where it offers the added bonus of allowing you to actually drink the water rather than just pouring it down your front. I'm expecting it to be rough, but hopefully I'll power through it. The toughest part of the training will probably be in early August because we'll be on a road trip to Colorado just as the milage starts to ramp up, so I'll be running 15 miles in the Rockies at 5,000 feet. That should feel good...