Less Than a Week

One week from today I will be recovering from the 2011 NYC Marathon! I can’t imagine doing it really yet. All the months of training, dealing with an injury, recruiting child sponsors, etc., etc.

Sunday will be quite a culmination. Culminations are good :).

A Little Uncomfortable

So, on today’s long run (8 miles), I had…how do I say it…trapped gas. By the end it was gone (and no I didn’t “get rid” of it in Central Park!) and I felt better. But, it was very uncomfortable. That’s something that’s happened to me a few times since losing the weight. It gets very painful and I’m pretty much a baby with pain.

But, I made the target pace I wanted (avg around 9:30). I found this great calculator online (http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm) that you input your fastest 5k (or any other race) and it tells you what you can run the marathon (or any other race) in. It’s very helpful…my fastest 5K about a month ago was 24:43 so it says I should be able to shoot for around 4 hours for the marathon. Yes! So my long runs should be between 9:42-10-42 avg pace. I feel okay going a little faster, but not too much — I know it’s important not to overdo it.

Somebody asked on my last training blog how I went from not running at all to a 9 min mile avg pace. The short answer is just continually running and having a desire to go faster. Some people are quite satisfied with a slower pace and I think that is awesome. There is no requirement that you have to push for a faster time. I just WANTED to be faster. I’m competitive. I love pushing my limits to see what I can do. I’m so excited/thankful that I can actually do that with my body now. At 297 lbs one year ago I couldn’t push much of anything except bigger pant sizes.

So, how did I get faster? I ran the half marathon in April at just over 10 min/mile avg pace. I decided in the time between that and the start of training of the marathon I would try and get faster. So I started doing some interval work. They’re called “Fartleks” and they obviously have a weird name (appropriate with today’s title:), but they work! I would do a mile at 9 min pace and then 1 at 11 min. I also did many short runs like the 5K and kept pushing for a faster time. One particular run with a friend who just did his first Ironman Triathlon (!) was pivotal. He coached me as we ran and I actually did my fastest mile up to that point (around 7:50). I knew I could do it then, so I just kept pushing.

Now I’m doing my Tuesday 5 mile run as a “tempo” run…a minute or so faster than the pace you want to run the race at. For me that’s 8/mile. This is a very hard run but pays off big time when I go my target pace. I then do the long run on Wednesday with some intervals. Right now 2 min fast, 1 min slow with an easy 2 mile warm up and 2 mile cool down. Once again, HARD, but worth it when I feel how much easier it is to run my target pace.

These are just my current experiences…I have SO much left to learn and I’m happy about that. Have you had success with other methods? Educate me.

Oh, and change a child’s life by sponsoring!!

Help Me Run – Help a Child

As many of you know I’m running the NYC Marathon on November 6 of this year! I’ve lost 113 lbs in the past year and a big part of achieving that has been running. I ran my very first half marathon in April. I’m well into training now and I am so excited!!

I am running for Team World Vision. World Vision is one of the largest and strongest humanitarian organizations in the world. They believe in helping children in the name of Jesus. You can find out more about what they do here:One of the primary ways they provide aid to the developing world is through child sponsorships. For around $1 per day you provide….

Clean water
Nutritious food
Health care
Educational opportunities
Spiritual nurture

As a child sponsor, you are connected with one special child who will know your name, write to you and feel your tender love and prayers.

Olivia and I have just sponsored our first child through World Vision. Her name is Lorine, she’s from Kenya, and we are so excited to pray for her and get to know her better. We are helping to change her life!

My goal is to get a child sponsored for each mile I run in the Marathon (that’s 26!). Would you consider sponsoring one of these children? It’s $35 per month. You can use the link below. Be sure to include my name on the form and then email me so I know to include you in my total! (benwardmusic {at} gmail.com).


Thank you and I look forward to changing lives with you!!!!

For the Joy

Hebrews 12

The Race of Faith

1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I think we have to have a reward in front of us. Something that makes the battle, the suffering, the pain, the annoying inconvenience worth it. Something that makes us go, “Yes-for THAT!”

When I was missing Olivia like crazy while she was on the Ranch, I could keep looking forward to the amazing day when she came home and we could celebrate the beginning of a new life. When I was in the middle of yet another run on the treadmill because it was so cold and snowy, I could imagine being healthy, fit and not fat anymore. When I’m training for this year’s NYC Marathon (my first:) and I can’t imagine waking up early to run some crazy distance I just think about being able to finish; I think about the kids in Africa that I’m raising money for….the JOY set before me.

Look at the verse–even Jesus, the very Son of God, needed a joy to look forward to so He could endure…

Don’t you? Don’t I?

What’s the JOY that is set before you? Maybe you need to find it so you can get going…