Friday, July 8, 2011

Long May You Run

As I've said before, spring/summer is the best time to make resolutions.  Warm weather and longer days are terrific motivators.  When I moved to the city this spring I resolved to take up running again.  I have taken up running a number of times, and I often get bored of it after about a month and give up.
Riverside bike path, Ottawa, ON
I think the reason why I have never stuck with running was because I never had any kind of goal.  I was just running "to be healthier", which is noble, but there are no concrete milestones to achieve.  Setting goals can be a powerful motivator, since people are naturally goal-oriented.  But they have to easily be achievable, so it helps to break them down into smaller sub-goals.  When you work on a big project, chances are you break it down into a collection of smaller tasks.  Every time you complete a task, you can cross it off your list, pat yourself on the back, and move forward to the next task with a sense of accomplishment and a positive attitude.

At this point you're probably wondering what goal I have set for myself.  I have two goals - one is reasonable, the other is a very serious challenge.  Goal 1: Run a Marathon.  Goal 2: Complete a Triathlon.  I'm sure you can guess which of the two is the reasonable one.

Although many people run marathons all the time, it is still a lot of work.  A marathon is 42km.  That's really far.  The world record for the fastest marathon time is 2 hours 5 minutes.  The average time to complete a marathon in the USA in 2009 was 4 hours 35 minutes.  Could you run for 4 hours?  I sure can't.  So let's set some smaller goals, shall we?

The standard race lengths are 5k, 10k, half marathon (21km) and marathon (42km).  You can find all the races you want on the running room's website.  I can already run 5km, so the next step is 10km.  I think this is an achievable goal for the summer, so I bit the bullet and signed up for the Oasis ZooRun 10k at the Toronto Zoo!  The races usually are there to raise money for some kind of charity.  I'm a poor student young(ish) person, so I have a rule that I only donate to animal/conservation type charities (Hey, I've got to draw the line somewhere!).  The Toronto Zoo, in addition to being an awesome zoo and providing education and enjoyment for people of all ages, also funds a number of conservation, education, and research projects, such as captive breeding and reintroduction of rare and endangered species.  Now that's a race I'm willing to put my money on.

This race takes place September 24th, 2011, giving me about 2 and a half months left to train for it.  If that goes well, I'll spend the fall and winter training for a half marathon sometime in the spring.  Then if that goes well, I'll try to find a full marathon to run either in the fall, or the following spring.   As for Goal 2, that's a topic for another post!

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