David Pressgrove: Slowly but surely

Sunday will mark exactly two months until the Steamboat Marathon.

I have mixed feelings about my preparation.

Three weeks ago, I wrote a column to inform the community about my plans to raise money for Parkinson's disease research and the Moffat County United Way during my training for the 26.3-mile race.

I'm at 60 percent of my goal to raise $500 for Parkinson's, which I'm more than pleased about.

My training is at about 40 percent of where I want to be. I'm not a big fan of that progress.

The community response to my first column has been humbling. Not only did more than $300 in pledges come in, but I've had at least 10 people ask me how training and how my father, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's two years ago, were doing.

Thank you all for that, I didn't even know that many people read my column.

If you would like to help put me beyond my fund-raising goal, there is a pledge sheet at the front desk of the office.

In the first column, I wrote that for every mile that I didn't finish I would pay for that part of the donation. I still stand by that, but some days on my runs I worry that I'll have to take out a loan to cover my losses.

One measure of my progress is a run I call the "power plant loop." That 10 1/2-mile run to the power plant and back to town is something I try to do about every two weeks. The first time I ran it a month ago, I would rank my performance about a 2 on a scale of 10. I ran it again last Sunday and although I ran four minutes faster, I would only give that 75-minute jog a 3 on the scale.

I felt like Gumby for the first five miles and had to stop once to stretch. During mile six, my right hip flexor started popping and shooting pain through my leg.

That is a time that I, like most of you reading, wonder why I put myself through the pain.

The rest of the run is why I actually do it.

There was minimal pain and I felt smooth the final four miles.

Friday I had one of my better runs so far. It was just 5 1/2 miles but there were few pains. It was, for once, nice, and gave me confidence that slowly but surely, it will come.

I have no weight loss to report from my last column. I think I'll be at a stalemate in that area until it warms up a bit and I start to get some longer runs in.

At this point I've finished four runs that were an hour or longer. I hope to get 12 to 15 of those in by the marathon. Those are the runs that build up the endurance in my legs so that when I reach mile 20 I'll still have something left.

I've had some encouraging moments in my last couple of weeks. One day I was bogged down at work and lacking enthusiasm to run, when my girlfriend challenged me that I wasn't doing this for myself or at least that was what I wrote in my first column.

She was right.

So that's what I've been reminding myself when I get up at 5:30 a.m. to go out, or when I'm running a workout with the high school guys and they're smoking me. It's not for me.

There's only so much one can write about running and keep interest so I will sign off now.

See you on the roads.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com.

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