The Chances

How a 250+ Pound Couch Potato Got Healthy

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Adventures In Training, Camping... AND BEYOND!

On January 1, 2009, I started training for the Avenue of the Giants Marathon. In the past, the most "training" I'd done was running 2.5 miles every day. I suppose I'd also done some weight training, which I accomplished by following training plans. It was nice, because it was like following a menu. I'd already been losing weight via a diet plan, and the workouts were like a diet plan with weights! Follow the steps, and you're there.

So I started looking for similar plans for running a marathon. I didn't want to forsake the weight training, so I found a plan that accomodated my goals: the FIRST Marathon Training Program. It compressed the training into 3 days a week, allowing me to still go to the gym 3 days. I dove in head first.

The first six weeks went great, but then I started having problems with my leg. When I ran, it was fine, but afterwards my leg hurt so much I was having difficulties picturing myself running in May. It got so bad that I ended up not running at all for a week and a half. Even lifting weights was hurting my leg, so I stopped going to the gym.

After much research and visits to the local running store, I found out they fitted me with the wrong shoes a year before! After being fitted with the right shoes, I also swapped out my walking shoes, and over the course of the next few months, my leg healed. In March I ran the Shamrock'n Half Marathon in Sacramento, and managed to finish with a respectable time! I was on the mend, and on track to finish the marathon.

I made reservations in the Burlington campground, where I grew up camping, and is a great camping spot for kids. It's next door to the Humboldt Redwoods Visitor Center, and is right on the marathon route. I flew my sister out from Charlotte, NC for the occasion, and took a week's vacation for the event. On May 1, we drove up to Humboldt.

The drive up was entirely in the rain. Not just rain, but pouring rain that just wouldn't let up. I set up our tent with the help of my sister, and we all headed in.

The tent turned out to not keep water out at all. That night, we slept with rain drizzling down from the top of the tent. It's a good thing we slept on air mattresses, because the next morning I discovered there was an inch of standing water underneath.

The kids couldn't play and were getting restless. The overpriced food we'd bought in Garberville for cooking while camping couldn't be fixed because of the rain. If it were just my wife and I, or my wife, son, and I, that would have been fine. But on this trip, we had my sister, her son, and the two girls as well, and just about everyone was either bored, crying, or complaining. All our clothes were soaking wet because of sitting on the floor of the tent in puddles all night, so we didn't have anything to change into.

The tweets tell the story...

20:40 Hey everyone. Sitting in humboldt, in a tent that's supposed to be waterproof but isn't... #

20:41 ...and a rainfly that's supposedly rainproof but obviously isn't, with no extra tarp. #

20:42 I have a very waterproof backpacking tent that will hold 2 ppl on a good day. We have 7 ppl. #

20:43 It also appears my wife wants to blame me for the whole debacle. #

20:44 She asks, "What are we going to do?" and I give options that only piss her off. #

20:46 Every marathon book or article says not to be stressed prior to a marathon. Uhhhh... #

20:54 OK back to the tent. Sorry to bring everyone down. #

21:51 Going to bed now. By getting lucky I was referring to having a happy family. Nite all. #

In all the marathon books I've read in preparation for this thing, all the websites I've followed, and all the fine runners I've talked to on Twitter, they all say the same thing about stress the week before: avoid it. Don't go near it, steer clear as much as possible. Hah! After sitting there for long enough, and shedding enough of my own tears, I finally booked a room at the Garberville Motel, 15 miles from the marathon site. I told my wife and sister to pack up everything and stuff it into the back of the Xterra. Meanwhile, I drove the 2nd car to the motel and booked the room.

When I got back, without exception everyone's spirits had lifted. We left the tent up, and drove to the motel. We all showered, and in our wet clothes, went off to eat dinner.

06:46 Good soggy morning! #

06:56 My sister gave up, she & her son slept in the car! It's really not that bad. The mattress kept us off the wet floor. #

12:22 Camping DNF! We gave in and got a motel. :) #

I had planned the next day to be somewhat without activity. Our big activity that day was eating at the Samoa Cookhouse on Samoa Island in Eureka, CA. This is a tradition I've followed while driving on the North Coast for the past 20 years or so, and recommend it to everyone. I'll never rave enough about it.

12:35 OK time to go to one of my favorite restaurants in the world, The Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka, CA. #

In the evening, we drove over to Weott for the spaghetti feast. Getting ready for the marathon, I had a mild panic attack when I couldn't find the Garmin!

21:24 CRAP!!!!!!!!!! #

21:24 The 305's at home. #

21:30 Whew #

21:30 Found my 305, it was in the wet workout bag. Thank GOD. #

21:30 Addicted to tech at all? #

21:31 One thing I don't have, tho, is a USB cable for it. But I can live without that, heh. #

I managed to get to bed at 10pm and even had a good night's sleep.

No comments: