EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the latest in a series of weekly articles by Travis Daugherty, a 28-year-old veteran, a resident of Vienna and a program analyst for the federal government, as he participates in the Half Marathon Training Program conducted each Monday.
Daugherty left the military in January 2009 and didn't do any exercising until this year. During that time, he gained 70 pounds and had knee surgery performed in March 2011.
Tired of being overweight, he began an exercise program in January of this year, starting on a stationary bike and then moving to an elliptical. By the end of January, he started running and now is training to run in the Aug. 18 News and Sentinel Half Marathon.
This week's training run was the seven mile course again. The last time the group ran it I was in Washington D.C.
Just like many of the other training runs, we started at City Park. I stretched my legs and back before starting with a lap around the pond then hit 23rd Street. I started running with David Harbin and Orrin Ellis. I met these two gentlemen at the River City Runners and Walkers Beginners Clinic which is held each spring. Our training has been very different. They are much stronger runners than I am, even from the beginning of the Clinic. I wasn't able to keep up with either of them, but it was good to see them during this training and knowing they are keeping up with running.
I continued on 23rd Street to Lincoln Ave. then right onto 7th Street. This part was HOT; there wasn't any shade or a break in the traffic. Chip Allman ran with me for a short time and gave me kind and inspiring words. Chip is the Parkersburg Half Marathon race director and a great local runner. I'd like to thank him for the continued support during my training.
This route continued on 7th Street until reaching the downtown area and turning down Avery Street. At this point, I only had about two miles left. I think it's strange that a seven-mile run seems like a short distance now. I get warmed up after about two or maybe three miles. Once I am warmed up, I begin to get in my groove and feel good while running. Since I've only been running since late January of this year, I am very happy with my progress and excited to keep training for my first Half Marathon and then the next and the next. I have already signed up for another Half Marathon in October. I am hooked!
Once I weaved my way back toward Parkersburg High School, I joined two other gentlemen with about a mile left. I was trying really hard to keep up with them. My legs were moving faster and faster as we pushed towards City Park. All of this training was paying off and it was evident. My breathing was excellent and I was still able to talk as we ran the final stretch on Washington Avenue. I kept up and even out-ran one of them but not the other guy; in the last 50 feet, he really started to push it to the finish. It felt good to have some good friendly competition and push each other to the finish at City Park.
Next week is the final training run this year for the News and Sentinel Half Marathon.
It's a five-mile run that starts at City Park.
Then there is a picnic afterward for all of those who have participated in the training.
It's is hard to believe that the Half Marathon is almost here.