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Thursday, June 6, 2013

National Running Day 2013


Nothing like a meaningless holiday to bring you back to something you love.
 
Our beloved country seems to be overrun with “National Something Day” announcements. I have to wonder just who decides these things, and why on Earth National Margarita Day doesn’t show up as a holiday on my Google calendar.
 
The vast majority of these days of honor seem to mean very little. It doesn’t seem important until you get a whole month devoted to something. Still, one that jumps out at me every year is National Running Day. Whether it’s the slight 10% discount on the $500 merchandise I can’t afford, or the log-your-miles-for-charity Twitter feeds exploding, I never seem to miss that day. Yesterday was no exception.
 
But I got to do something a little special in honor of the day. Instead of taking my usual lonely run around the neighborhood and calling that a celebration, I headed to Luke’s Locker in downtown Austin to join their Wednesday night social run. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but just hadn’t gotten around to yet. What better day, right?
 
So I parked about half a mile away and jogged up to try and look tough, as though showing up for a run in 96 degree heat wasn’t proof enough. I found a small group, 15 or so runners, ready to take on a nice easy 5K. Many seemed to know one another, which leaves me feeling like the odd man out for a while, but all were happy to engage in conversation, and one topic always pops up quickly: what’s your next race?
 
Well, I’ve recently made that decision, assuming I can complete the challenge I have set out for myself. With money tight and the heat rising, I need to make the smartest decisions I possibly can, in order to do the things I want to do. And there is one thing I want to do above most others at the moment: I want to run the 2014 Boston Marathon.
 
I can only begin to imagine the feeling that will surround that race. The camaraderie. The joyful defiance. And let’s not forget, the incredible names that will be in attendance. The list is only beginning to grow, but it seems like every big name in running will be a part of next year’s race. It’s our chance to show that we won’t be afraid, that we’re stronger than anyone imagines. It’s our chance to honor those who have gone before and pave the way for those who will come after. There’s nowhere else I want to be on that day.
 
Which means I have to qualify.
 
And to qualify, I have to run my time before the second week in September. Well, being a runner in the south, pickings are slim on local races in the summer months due to that whole collapse-and-die-in-the-heat thing that can happen. So I have to set my sights far away, both in time and place. I plan to qualify at the 2013 Bozeman (Montana) Marathon on September 8th. However, I need to make sure I start training now, heat be damned. And I have to prove to myself that I can be responsible enough to spend the money.
 
Beginning last Monday, I have started myself on a 97 day challenge. No alcohol, moderate caffeine, and a whole lot more water. I’m eating better (and more often), and I’m running more. And if I can make it 50 days into this challenge (completing at least 300 miles in those 50 days), I’ll register for the race and buy my plane ticket on July 22nd. Day 97, I qualify.
 
Now, to be fair, I’m only on day 4 and mile 6, but I’ve got a good feeling about this. I believe I can do it. I believe it was meant to happen this way. I’m going to keep going to the social runs as much as I can, and push my Sunday morning friends to show more often. I’m going to run Yasso 800s around my neighborhood and get as many miles out of a morning as my work schedule allows. I’m going to live every day like it was National Running Day, and hope that National Margarita Day doesn’t hit before day 97. But when I cross that finish line, my first drink is already decided.
 
Samuel Adams, Boston Lager.

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