I’ve never been much of a comics guy, which probably explains why I didn’t like The Avengers very much (I feel like a bad Clevelander saying that!) and why I was completely lost during the X-Men movies.

However, the one comic strip that I have consistently enjoyed throughout my life is Calvin and Hobbes, and the title of this post is a homage to one of the compilations of Calvin and Hobbes cartoons that I still have somewhere in my mom’s house. My mom used to leave funny Calvin and Hobbes cartoons along with notes for me when I got home from school, and I still enjoy the strip to this day. While I understand Bill Watterson’s desire for privacy, I would love to see a Calvin and Hobbes movie during my lifetime!

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Although I definitely am grateful for the benefits of adulthood, I would be lying if I said that I never wished to be able to take a trip back in time to the days when I was Calvin’s age. These past few weeks have been packed with a variety of stress in just about every aspect of our lives. Hence, I completely dropped the ball on blogging about Week 5 of training. One picture will explain why:

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The above picture was taken in the MetroHealth emergency room. Although Sheila’s got a pretty good attitude in that picture, I can assure you that her condition was far worse than that only a few hours earlier after she asked me to come to Target and pick her up because she didn’t feel well. I’ve dealt with some pretty tough things in my lifetime, but driving one’s wife to the emergency room while questioning whether she had a stroke and wondering if life as we know it is about to change forever is at the top of the list.

Fortunately, my bride has made a (mostly) full recovery and she was even discharged that same night. The doctors ran a battery of tests and everything came back normal, and they think that she either has an ulcer or had a bout of gastritis. The entire experience provided a much-needed wakeup call to us with regards to dealing with some stressors in Sheila’s life. While the experience was scary at first, I don’t think that we would have addressed these stressors for quite some time otherwise, so I suppose that’s the silver lining in the entire situation.

Needless to say, we did our best to take it easy for the rest of the weekend. God has been very good to us, and the support that we’ve received from family and friends has been great.

Later in the weekend, Sheila did feel well enough to attend a bridal shower on the east side of Cleveland, and I took advantage of the opportunity to knock out my training run at Horseshoe Lake. Heading into the run, I felt a bit worn down from the eventful start to the weekend and very frustrated with some work-related stressors. Fortunately, the conditions were ripe for a fantastic run, and I had my most enjoyable run of my half marathon training thus far! I knocked out 6.75 miles in 60:07 and could have easily gone for another 2 miles.

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Horseshoe Lake was beautiful!

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Over time, I have found that running has turned into one of my biggest sanctuaries in life. When I’m facing difficult times in life, my first instinct is to turn to God and pray for strength and a resolution to whatever is going on. However, as anyone who has waited on God for an answer to prayer can attest, sometimes the time between saying “Amen” and God’s answer can be difficult. Regardless of how tired or stressed I have felt in recent weeks, I have desperately craved my training runs and I felt a million times better when I was done. On that day, I was grateful for the bright sunshine and fantastic weather that allowed me to have a lengthy run during I could pound the stress related to Sheila’s health scare into the pavement!

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I had a bit more free time last week because of spring break, and I took full advantage of it! Last Sunday, one of my friends asked if I was doing the Towpath 5 Miler. Prior to then, I hadn’t thought much about it. However, after I looked at the race website, I realized that it started very close to my house. After I knocked out a great training run on the Towpath on Tuesday, I decided that I definitely wanted to run the race. Hal Higdon lined up a “5K Race” for me on my schedule, and I figured that running a 5 miler wouldn’t be overextending myself.

Thursday’s run took me to a small park in Brunswick with a lake and a completely flat trail. After I decided to run the Towpath 5 Miler, I told myself that I wanted to set a new PR for a 5 miler and I decided to use Thursday’s run to gain a sense for what I’d need to do pacing-wise. When my adrenaline kicks in, I often have trouble starting slowly, and this often results in a lack of energy for the middle of the race before my “finish-line adrenaline” kicks back in during the last mile. I need to figure out how to pump myself up without losing control over my pace!

Anyhow, I knocked out 5 hard and scenic miles and had a fantastic time of 41:16 to show for it afterwards. Here’s a few pictures of North Park in Brunswick that I took during my “cool down” walk:

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My legs were pretty sore afterwards, and I was afraid that would affect me on Sunday’s race. Fortunately, that didn’t happen… but you’ll just have to come back later in the week for my race recap to see how the race went!

Despite having much turmoil in the rest of my life, I’m thrilled with how the past two weeks of training have gone. With over half of my training plan in the books, I am very grateful for how my body has held up and for how I’m feeling about running in general. Lord willing, this optimism will continue as I head into the first double-digit training runs of my life. However, looking back and thinking about how I am now able to successfully conquer long distances that were previously daunting only a few months ago gives me confidence to believe that my training, my faith, and my determination will help me to conquer the distances that lay ahead!

How is your training going?