Working at Polar Bottle, it sometimes feels like biking is the only sport in the world.
In the morning, it’s not uncommon to have to navigate through several bikes lining the office corridors before reaching your desk. As the days get warmer, employees trickle in and out of the office more and more intermittently throughout the day — taking longer lunch breaks to hit the amazing bike trails surrounding our office in Boulder, Colorado. And at our weekly meetings, conversation almost always turns to what rad bike race we should attend next.
This week, however, as we finalize preparations for attending the registration expo of the Boston Marathon — one of the most popular marathons in the world, and our first marathon as a company — all focus has shifted to another sport — running.
After doing some research on marathon history and race record holders for trivia to include in a daily bottle giveaway on our Facebook page, I decided I needed a better perspective on who these marathoners are and what it’s like to train for such a seemingly impossible race. Luckily for me, our operations manager — Eric Schorling — is only weeks away from completing his first marathon and was willing to disclose the details of the three months of training leading up to the big day.
Eric, 27, moved to Boulder from Virginia in 2004 to attend the University of Colorado, where he graduated with a degree in anthropology in 2010 after taking a few years off to pursue a degree in business management from Metro Denver College. He started at Polar Bottle in 2007. His interest in running, however, Eric says didn’t spark until last year.
“In less than a year I am going from running no more than four miles to running more than 20,” Eric said, explaining that he first started seriously running last April when he started training for the Bolder Boulder 10K race held every year over Memorial Day weekend.
After completing the 10K, Eric set his sights on doubling that distance and ran his first half marathon a few months later. Next month, he aims to double the distance again in Cincinnati’s Flying Pig Marathon.
To train for the 26.2 miles, Eric has followed the standard training plan of tackling one long run every one or two weeks, with three to four shorter runs in between. The first week, Eric’s long run was 13 miles. Last week, he completed his final long run before the race — an impressive 21 miles.
The hardest part about training is not in the long distance runs, according to Eric. For him, the challenge has been keeping up with the regular daily shorter runs, which as he has gotten closer to the big day have reached distances of upwards of seven or eight miles.
“Those really get to you,” Eric said, explaining that it can be hard to adjust your routine around at least an hour of daily running. “You don’t really do anything else but run.”
The elation of running, however, Eric says outweighs the struggles. The best part about training he says is definitely “the runner’s high after a long run.”
We hope that runner’s high stays with Eric throughout Flying Pig Marathon, which he will complete with his younger sister, Kelly, and father, John. His training partner, Gwen, and mother, Sophie, will also join him for part of the race — planning to run the first half of the event before marathoners split off to finish the final 13.1 miles.
Though it seems like an intimidating distance, Eric says a marathon is not a sporting event limited to elite athletes.
“The body was built to run,” Eric said, explaining that so long as they are committed to training most people can conquer 26.2 miles. “Everybody should know that it’s possible for anyone to go out and do a marathon.”