What’s up? My name is Shaun. I’m 31 and I’m from South Bend, Indiana. Oh and I guess I should mention; I’m Courtney’s better looking (and more refined, oops!) older brother.
Since Courtney’s been bugging me to do a guest blog on my dating life, I figured I’d do one on the half marathon I just ran in Indianapolis! Because dude, I rather talk about that.
An out of shape, beer drinking 29-year old
All through high school I was an athlete. I played on two State Championship football teams and eventually went on to play college football. After two years though, I decided I was done with football and transferred to Indiana University. Cue the beer drinking! And somewhere along the line, I lost my desire to work out and stay in shape.
Fast forward a few years and I was an out of shape, beer drinking smoker at 29 years old. Around this time, I was out at a bar one night and met an attractive girl who told me she was a marathon runner. I thought; “Wow, I can’t imagine running that far.” So one day in August, in an attempt to find more in common with this girl (and maybe impress her!), I went out for a run. I can remember how hot it was and how bad it hurt. I thought to myself; “Lord, I hope this girl is worth the pain.” I ended up running 1.2 miles and almost died! A week later, I ran 1.3 miles. I decided to set a New Year’s resolution and the goal was to run 3 miles by the end of February. And thankfully, I did it!
In June, I ran the local Sunburst 5k, and amazingly, I finished in 26:57! At this point, I realized I was hooked. I went on to run a number of different 5Ks and even a 10K and then I decided I needed to run a half marathon! I wanted to run the Indianapolis Mini because I knew a lot of people that ran it and I wanted a chance to run on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I got the Hal Higdon 1/2 marathon training calendar and stuck to it for 12 weeks, and made a goal to run it in under 2 hours.
The moment of truth
On the morning of the race it was cold, but I was pumped – the atmosphere was electric! I started the race out with a friend, but it quickly became obvy that she couldn’t keep up with me – so I had to leave her in my dust (sorry, Cid!). I was really going at a good clip! And then the worst thing happened – my calf started getting tighter and tighter until I couldn’t run anymore! I don’t know if it was the cold weather, but at mile two I stopped and stretched my calf out (and said a little prayer!). This couldn’t be happening to me; I’ve trained too hard and put in too many miles! Of course, this happened two or three more times within the first 3 or 4 miles. GEEZ! I powered through the pain for the next 8 miles though, and then I was back in business. I had a good playlist in my iPod that gave me lots of inspiration and motivation. I was feeling pretty great when I started seeing the downtown skyline. This added some pep to my step because I knew the race was almost over, but it also made me a bit melancholy because I knew all of that hard work was coming to an end.
I quickly reached for my iPod and cued up a little Joe Esposito “You’re the Best” (from “Karate Kid”, HA!) and I watched as the 3/4 and 1/2 mile signs came and went. As I was nearing the finish line, I looked up at the camera and smiled – or maybe it was a grimace, but I was happy. I was DONE! And then it hit me. I got a little emotional thinking about just how far I’d come from the beer drinking, cigarette smoking, out of shape Shaun – to the 1/2 marathon running veteran in tip top shape! And get this – I finished 1:59:00 on the dot!
The race proved to be one of the most enjoyable times of my life. The twelve week training program really prepared me for the race and that preparation also helped me to overcome adversity when I hurt myself in the beginning. The mental toughness I’ve gained as a runner is immeasurable. I definitely plan to run this race again!
As for the girl, well, we’re just friends now. But I give her a lot of credit for helping me to turn my life around. It’s funny, because in the beginning this whole thing was about a girl. But in the end I realized, it’s about me. I didn’t just grow as an athlete with this experience – I grew as a person. And that’s the best feeling of all.
Now, someone get me a cold beer!