Where to start?

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     Hello and welcome to rillaruns. I’m Bill and I have no idea how to create a blog that might be considered appealing. Kinda like 9 months ago when I had no idea how to become a runner. My approach here is going to be pretty much the same as my path from non-runner to today: I’m going to do something and those who are more experienced than I am may offer encouragement and direction. I’ll get to where I want to be eventually.

Tea Cups anyone?

Tea Cups anyone?

     Some of the personal details about me: I’m 45 and live in Kissimmee, Florida with my 18-year-old daughter and two cats. In the past few years I returned to school and finished both my bachelors degree and MBA, yet haven’t found an employer who values this extra education, so I still have the same job. The name rilla is short for (you got this?) gorilla, and is a nickname I started using in the late 90s when I worked as a radio DJ in Albany, NY. Our radio station mascot was the Blue Gorilla, it was unique so I went with it. And luckily I never had to put on the gorilla suit. Not an exciting story, but it’s a story.

     I began running 1-2 times per week in October 2013 so that I could complete a charity 5k race without making it too obvious that I hadn’t run at all since 1987. I ran 8 practice runs of 1.8 miles each and not once did I complete the 1.8 miles without walk breaks. I was convinced that I was going to make an ass of myself in front of all of those athletes. Needless to say, I survived and somehow I achieved my completely unrealistic goal. Yes, I walked some, but I finished in 29:50. I had never run/walked 2 miles before, let alone 3.1, yet I set a goal of “under 30” and made it! It was at this point that I realized that I could do so much more than I had ever imagined and maybe running was something I could enjoy. And by enjoy I mean get really competitive and push myself to places that I never dreamed of.

     How do I make myself work so hard to get to these places? I have a big mouth. I tell people that I heard about this cool race or awesome medal, and that I signed up to do it. Once I have opened my mouth I have to find a way to make it happen and come out of the experience with my head held high. Translation: Time to go to work. Case and point – This past January I heard about the Dopey Challenge offered for the first time at Disney’s Marathon Weekend. I couldn’t believe that there were people who were not professional athletes that would consider doing this, especially since I just had that one 5k in my racing history. I told someone at work about it and got a response I wasn’t prepared for. “Ya gonna do it?” “Yep” Where did that come from? My chance to do the Dopey was a year away, and I was verbally committing to it. I had no idea about running techniques, how to train, where to look for help, or even about this thing called “easy run” where you don’t have to run all out all the time. 

     Since my verbal commitment to do the January 2015 version of Dopey, I have signed up and paid my entry fee to Disney. There’s a motivator! I have also run a few more races, including:

  • Five more 5k races
  • Six 10k races
  • A 15k race
  • A 10-mile race
  • Two Half Marathons

     I have also signed up for a handful of fall races to keep me race-ready, including my first full marathon in November and another five half marathons before January. I will be ready. I will be Dopey-er.