Wednesday, August 12, 2009

16,726-Yard Run for #34

By Ross Forman

I’m not much of a golfer, though I do have some sweet swag from The Golf Channel. (Thanks, You-Know-Who.)

I’m not a regular on the links, though I will eat sausage links from time to time. (I usually pass on the patties for some reason.)

I’m not a fan of golf on TV. Actually, I have watched very little golf on TV; I think golf on TV has to be one of the most boring sports around.

My favorite golf is ... miniature golf, to tell you the truth. Except for that damn windmill hole.

Anyway, I think golf is a lot like marathon running, er, marathon training – sometimes you have it, sometimes you don’t.

As golf announcers Jim Nantz and Ken Venturi would say, let’s go back to the 15th. That’s the 15-miler in my world, not the 15th-hole.

I had a 15-mile training run on Saturday, August 8, in Chicago. I felt great on runs for a month-plus building up to that run; I even felt good the day before, loading up on carbs (pasta and a baked potato for dinner) and hydrating throughout the day (water, water, water).

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. that Saturday as I wanted to be running by
6 a.m. since the temp in Chicago was expected to hit the mid-90s, plus humidity. Running that early in the morning wouldn’t be too bad, I thought.

Almost immediately after getting out of bed, I just wasn’t feeling it. I can’t pin-point what it was, or wasn’t; I just wasn’t feeling it.

Still, I drove to the north side of Chicago as I was going to start at Irving Park. I’d run north for 3 miles, return to my starting spot, and then head south for 4 miles before heading back.

Unfortunately, I just never felt it during the run. Sure, I finished the run, but just wasn’t feeling it. No soreness, no cramps, nothing like that. Just mentally I wasn’t into it.

I guess I was like the golfer who normally shoots 80, but for some unknown reason shot 90. I was kind of bummed, but still returned to the road – for another run – the next day (Sunday, August 9). And also the day after that (Monday, August 10, while in San Francisco). My shorter runs (4 miles) on that Sunday and Monday were exceptional.

Perseverance is oh-so-important … in running, in golf and life overall.

As I prepare for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 11, it’s gonna be 8 miles on Saturday, August 15, and then 20 miles on Saturday, August 22. Both will be done along the lakefront in Chicago, and I’m excited for both.

I also am really looking forward to Saturday,
Sept. 12, when my training run, instead, will be participating in the 6th annual Walter Payton 16,726-Yard Run in Arlington Heights, Ill.

That’s 9.5 miles, with 16,726 representing the total career rushing yards for the greatest running back in NFL history, and one of my all-time favorites: former Chicago Bear Walter Payton. The Run is a fund-raiser for the Walter Payton Cancer Fund.

I met Walter countless times during his Hall of Fame career and it always was special. (Enjoy the vintage photo of Walter and Yours Truly above. Not certain how old I was at the time; I think about 12, and boy did I have a sweet-looking jacket?! And yes, that is my Chicago Bears hat.)

The last time I saw him before his 1999 death was a year or two earlier, at an autograph signing in downtown Chicago. I remember it like it was yesterday, and you can bet I still have the Sports Illustrated magazines that he signed for me that day.

Walter was a legend that day, and always. So I’m super-happy to do something to support and honor No. 34.

I’m running the Chicago Marathon with the National AIDS Marathon Training Program and am fund-raising for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Please consider donating to this very worthwhile cause.
Click here to donate.


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