Marathon Training Day 11: In the Gym with Younger, Stronger, Faster People

Thursday I ran two miles. This is on top of the almost two miles I ran Monday. No, these are not big numbers. But the 2013 Seattle Marathon is in November. I don’t want to hurt myself. My legs feel okay, so I may go for a third run on Saturday. At this point I have only run twice a week… and I am happy with my progress.

However on Friday, today, I went to the gym to use the weights. I have not been to the gym since… a long time… um, 1995. I have stayed in pretty good shape by hiking and occasionally running over the years. But I have not lifted weights during that time.

It was actually really difficult to go to the gym. Surprisingly difficult. I have used the indoor track at the gym twice this week… but I have not used the weight room. There was actually strategy for me to use the indoor track. Strategy you ask? Yes, strategy. And that strategy has two parts.

PART ONE: Getting me inside the gym building was the first step to get me inside the weight lifting area. Men and women run faster than me on the track. I was able to see they were indeed younger, stronger and faster. That was preparation for the fact that men and women would be lifting more than me in the weight room. I am not weak. But I have not lifted weights for a long time. If I try to match a 19-year-old kid in the weight room on my first day I am going to end up in the hospital. Plus, there was the intimidation factor of other people watching me and noticing how little I could lift.

But, as I quickly noticed… I was actually not noticed. No one was staring at me or taking pictures of my physical feats to post on Youtube. Once I realized that I was not the center of everyone else’s world… I was able to focus on my own world and do my light workout. I am only doing basic strength training… and I am not looking to lift much because I am training for a marathon, not a bodybuilding world championship.

PART TWO: This was actually more important than the strength training. There is a mental “thing” about being around other people while running or working out. If I am running in a marathon, there are going to be hundreds of people around me a lot of the time. In addition, there are going to be people on the sidewalks watching. So, I must get accustomed to people watching me… and be okay getting passed by men or women in a public venue. However, I am unsure how I will react to getting passed in a marathon by an elderly person… and I am not sure how to train for that. If I am just running in a park, when an elderly man or woman runs past me, it doesn’t bother me. Honestly, it does not phase me. But when I have been hiking mountains and some “grayhair” sprints past me, it has annoyed me. So, I am unsure how I will deal with the “grayhairs” in a marathon.

Canadian athlete Ed Whitlock ran a marathon in 2:54:48 at the age of 73.

Maybe I need to read more about what older runners can do so I won’t feel defeated if I get passed by Ed Whitlock or some other experienced marathoner. I don’t think it’s the fact of getting passed… it’s the knowledge that other people are watching me get passed. So, getting passed by a 32-year-old woman feels less publicly embarrassing than getting passed by a 69-year-old man.

I’m basically thinking about people who are in their 60s or older. I will never trip a grandma if she tries to pass me. But I may photoshop the photo to delete any seniors who dart past me at the finish line. I mean, I need to show this to my kids someday… and I can’t have some grayhair ruining my image as “superdad.”

1.) Finish the marathon

2.) Don’t have a grayhaired marathoner ruin my finish line photo

3.) Finish the marathon in under 4 hours, 30 minutes

4.) Don’t get hurt

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