Posts Tagged ‘training’
Guest Blogger of the Month, April 2011: Luis Bueno
Running is difficult. I forget that sometimes. I’m not exactly a gazelle prancing through races and long runs, but I’ve logged my share of miles over the last couple of years.
However, running 4-6 miles on any given day is not difficult. I finish those runs and don’t face too many mental or physical challenges.
Sometimes, though, I need a good reminder that running should be and is indeed difficult. And for that, I’ve got the San Francisco Marathon, slated for July 31. I’ve run three marathons in my life, and while the other two marathons were difficult and had their own sets of challenges, San Francisco was a snarling, hilly beast, prepared to do battle against any and all contenders. It was love at first sight.
Perhaps it’s the difficulties the San Francisco Marathon presents that seize my attention. Marathons are difficult enough. Getting to mile 20 is a challenge but the last 6.2 miles is mentally exhausting. The San Francisco Marathon sees those challenges and raises them quite a bit higher.
San Francisco is, of course, notorious for its hills. The mere mention of the city to runners can cause grimaces and shivers. Imagine, then, having to ponder such monstrous challenges that a marathon presents and having to play them out on a never-ending hill. The course is obviously not all uphill, but a sizeable portion is. It’s a steady wave of hills. However, there are also some amazing and unique sights – starting on The Embarcadero and running past Fisherman’s Wharf; smelling the freshly baked sourdough bread past the Boudin bread factory around Mile 2 instantly made my mouth water; houses overlooking the sea on the Presidio; an oasis of flowers that is the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park; trudging around AT&T Park at Mile 25 and of course running across the grandiose and historic Golden Gate Bridge.
The hills are the fun part of the race. Hills add spice to any run, and running up and over a hill can cause you to throw your arms up in celebration. Take that challenge and multiply it by 26.2. and you get the San Francisco Marathon.
Now, perhaps I’m a bit different. Perhaps I’m used to challenges and need a good challenge or three in order to feel like I accomplished something. You see, I used to weigh more than 300 pounds. For most of my life I was overweight but in my mid-20s, the weight skyrocketed and just got out of control. When I was 30, I was a father of two young girls (2 and 6 mos.) and feared setting a bad example for them. With the help of my wife I signed up for a trainer at the local gym, put all my trust and faith in him and off we went. By changing up my diet and exercising, I lost 60 pounds in 2006. In 2007, I lost 60 more all by myself. I was used to the monstrous challenges that weight-loss presents and I conquered them.
I slowly got into running and ran a 5K, a 10K and wanted more challenges. A half marathon followed in April 2009 and then I decided to go for the full, which I ran for the first time in February 2010. After running a marathon, what’s next? An ultramarathon? A triathlon? Short of tackling those superhuman challenges, I thought about taking on what I considered the ultimate marathon. On July 25, 2010 I ran the San Francisco Marathon in 4:37:51, beating my previous time by five minutes. I’ve since beat that time and when I go back to San Francisco for this year’s race, I won’t go there with a PR in mind.
The San Francisco Marathon isn’t where you go to get your PR. It’s where you go to get your Marathoner’s Badge of Honor. I got mine last year and I fully intend on getting another one this summer.