May the 40th Be With You

It was an offer I couldn’t refuse… but maybe one I should have?

“I thought that since you all are turning 40 this year, we should all sign up for the Disney Star Wars Half-Marathon and run it and go to see Galaxy’s Edge. We can call it… ‘May the 40th be with you!’”

The idea checked all the right boxes… Friends, Running, Disney, Star Wars, escaping the infinite rainy season of Seattle right at the point where I would forget that there’s a way to do weather that’s not 40°F and raining.

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away“, by Ivan, is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The race itself wasn’t a requirement . Rather, it was a rallying point — a convenient way to pick a date for a trip without needing a consensus. Still.. the idea of running a half marathon, and booking it almost a year in advance, tripped some circuits in my head that I thought had long-since atrophied.

It reminded me that I used to have a thirst for running, and I haven’t felt that way for a while now. In particular, in the last fifteen years my running has been haphazard and has lacked focus. Even when I set up a big goal (e.g., trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 2016), I didn’t come at it with a realistic plan (I trained 3 days a week and completed two horrific marathons). I’ve tried to get away with the bare minimum investment in running. I have not made the plans or the commitments that would help me improve.

In total, it’s been a bit of a debacle, especially since I attempted marathons in 2016. I’d like to do it differently in 2020. My guiding principles will be:

  • Run more often.
  • Run higher mileage.
  • Don’t worry about cross-training.
  • Integrate strength/flexibility into my pre/post-run routines.
  • Listen to your body and don’t over-train, but it’s also OK to feel tired sometimes.

I’ll be writing more about all this in upcoming posts.

And yes, I signed up for the Rival Run half marathon scheduled on April 19, 2020.

Why Do I Run?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a lion or a gazelle — when the sun comes up you’d better be running.

– Who Knows

When I was ten years old, my mother would take me to dance classes she taught at the local JCC.  They were boring, and I didn’t like the way that the women in the class would fuss over me, so I usually tried to occupy myself elsewhere while she was teaching. For several years this consisted of either watching swimmers while eating challah, or trying to find enough coins to get a plate of french fries at the cafeteria.

The JCC had an indoor track adjacent to the one of the dance studios.  It was old-school and looked like it was made out of melted tennis courts. The track circumnavigated the gymnasium below and smelled like old basketballs and gymnastics equipment.  Each of the four turns of the track were pseudo banked. It was a tight squeeze.

I don’t know where I originally got the idea – possibly from my mother, but one day I decided that I would do laps around the track during her classes.

The track felt long.  I’d run 10 minutes and then want to do something else.  But I always kept a tally of my laps.  I was always interested in knowing how long and how far I ran.  I wanted to know for next time.

I’ve never been a great runner.  But running around that indoor track became more than a simple pass time.   It signified the beginning of a way of thinking that’s been with me ever since and is pervasive in my life.

This is the beginning of a series of posts I’m publishing about why I run and how running has changed for me as I grew into adulthood. I’ll share my thoughts about training (now and in the past), motivation, and why I’ve extended my trial of miles for so long.