Aaron’s Real Opinions:

Aaron’s Crazy Race Diary – 2008 Day 1

I’m In Worse Shape Than I Thought
Saturday, April 19, 2008
36 Days Until Bolder Boulder

With just 36 days to go until the Bolder Boulder 10K Memorial Day Race in Boulder, I figured it was time to start training. Better late than never, right? Well, I may be wrong this time.

My running partner, Angela, and I hit the White Rocks trail off Valmont Road at 6:00am on the dot. My best time on this 6.7-mile trail had been 69 minutes and my worst time was 103 minutes, thanks to snow drifts and an otherwise ice-covered path.

Recently, my sporadic running had resulted in times for this trail ranging between 75 and 88 minutes. To run the Bolder Boulder in less than 70 minutes (my worst Bolder Boulder time was 67 minutes) meant I needed to run the trail in about 70 minutes. Unfortunately, I hadn’t been close to that the few times I had run it this year. In fact, I was regressing.

One of my biggest problems was I had been gaining weight all winter. Too many opportunities to eat wonderful food (and not-so-wonderful food) and a relative lack of exercise had conspired to allow me to go from my normal 190 pounds to today’s 221. At 6’5″, I carried the extra weight easily but I knew it wasn’t good for me. And when I ran, it was as if I were carrying a 15-pound weight in each hand. I could barely move.

I was determined to run the Race, however, and decided I needed to lose at least 25 pounds and preferably 36 if I wanted to get down to a running weight of 185. I knew it usually wasn’t good to lose weight quickly but I had gained about 20 pounds quickly so I figured I could shed that in a couple of weeks. It would be that next 15 which would be tough to lose.

My other problem was my lack of sleep. I needed at least six hours a night but averaged only four. In the past, I could get away with this but I no longer could. I was lethargic and doing anything physical was getting more challenging every day. I resolved to try and get six hours of sleep starting tonight. In the past, when I made such a commitment, it usually lasted one day. This time, I decided, it would be different. (Does anyone believe me?)

Of course, eating foods such as an entire bag of Cheetos or a half gallon of ice cream (Rocky Road, please) on a daily basis also didn’t help but, hey, you only live once, right? OK, I admit, I am very naughty when it came to food. I love to eat and constantly indulge myself. This, too, was a critical factor I knew I needed to control.

That’s enough self-reflection on this beautiful morning… Now it was time to run. It was 30°F when we started and absolutely gorgeous out as the Sun began to rise. I was a bit cold and could tell I was tired from the start. Nevertheless, I put my left foot forward and began the run. After just 100 yards, I wanted to die. I already was sweating (not a good sign) and the expectation of a Second Wind was obliterated by the realization there was no First Wind.

I tried to keep going but my body screamed, “No way, buddy – Let’s get back to bed.” Usually I could tough out these situations but today was different. In unison, my legs shouted “Just say ‘No.'” After the first half mile, Angela was ready to pick up the pace and I was ready to go home.

We passed ten deer grazing on City of Boulder Open Space and chatted with them as we went by (yes, I talk to animals). At this time of day, we also saw a hawk, some ducks, and cattle. Except for the excruciating pains in my chest and legs, it was idyllic. I needed an emergency rocker – fast.

After just one mile, I knew I was in trouble. I was exhausted and sweating. This was not a good start. I slowed my pace and soon was walking. Fortunately my long strides allowed my running partner to continue to jog but my condition kept deteriorating. I knew I wouldn’t be setting any time records today or, if I did, they would be bad ones.

At the two mile mark, we continued our run and saw two more deer nearby. One person hiking came towards us and passed us heading back towards our starting point. We later would encounter progressively more people – for a total of about seven during our outing – and more deer (a record 15 for the run).

I despised myself for having to walk much of the time but my body was screaming at me so I paid attention (not that I had much choice) and kept walking instead of running. At different points, I would resume a light trot but it never was at a decent pace. I was resigned to my descent.

Angela explained the bright side was I “had hit bottom” and from this point on, everything would look, be, and feel better. Assuming I didn’t die first, I told her I was certain she was right. This condition wasn’t anything which good rest and better eating couldn’t solve, right?

We saw more deer and were amazed at the sunrise’s effect on the mountains. The Front Range lit up as we returned to our starting point. I checked the time and saw our “run” (which really was a “hike”) had taken an extraordinary 94 minutes. This was the second worst time I ever had for the trail and this time I didn’t have snow drifts as an excuse.

With so few days left before the Race, I knew it was time to get serious. Assuming we did not run the Saturday preceding the Race, meant we only had four weekends to train. I decided to set my weight and time goals for next Saturday at 205 and 85 respectively. The following week would be 200 and 80. Week 3 would be 195 and 75 while Week 4 would be 190 and 70. Then I would run the Race in under 70 minutes and collapse afterwards! Anyone want to bet on if I can do it?