Half-Marathon: How I Prepared for 13.1 Miles
Tomorrow, I am hitting the pavement for a leisurely 13.1 mile run. :) Wow. You can’t see me, but I am totally turning into the fetal position as I write this. I am nervous!
We’ve talked before on The Mom Crowd about running races. Amanda, McKenna, and I have all run 5Ks this year, and it was a great experience for each of us. Over the summer, I realized that I prefer slower distance running over trying to beat my time in shorter races. So when I read about a half-marathon that starts and runs through the area right around my neighborhood, I knew I had to give it a shot.
My first step was to look for a training schedule for beginners, to see if it was something I could feasibly accomplish. I found this through my local Fleet Feet, and I was excited to learn that the largest sacrifice would be in carving out 2 hours or so each weekend to do the long run (and longer towards the end). The weekly short runs were already the same amount of time I was taking during the week to run for exercise anyway.
Next, I needed to ask my husband for his support in this endeavor. Since our children are so young, I knew I’d need him to watch the kids for many extra chunks of time. I knew the training would also keep us from family time, somewhat, so I wanted to be sure that was okay with him.
After he gave me the thumbs-up (what a guy!), I thought about it for a few more weeks (I had room in our calendar to do this). I didn’t just decide overnight that this was my goal; I spent lots of weeks stewing over it. I liked running the other races I’d done earlier in the year. Ultimately, I knew it was exactly what I needed to do for myself this fall. We have a treadmill and lots of local greenways for running, so I knew I’d be able to incorporate the runs into our family’s schedule without too much stress.
I had good running shoes, the appropriate attire, a fantastic, ever-changing running playlist on my iPod, and the desire to make it happen. There wasn’t much else to do but get going on the training. At first, I decided to keep quiet about it, but after a couple of weeks, I knew I needed to share my goal with as many people as possible. I created a special page on my personal blog to get the ball rolling and keep a little journal of my highs & lows. I also kept a written log of each run on a clipboard. In addition (because I am a list checker-offer), I made little signs of each week’s training so I could “X” them off after completion. It’s these little things that served as fun rewards for me.
Throughout the past 3 months, I have experienced injuries and illness, though not related to my training. I dealt with debilitating neck pain for about two weeks, which forced me out of running for awhile. I read that it was best not to run while ill, but to get back in it when you’re ready. So that’s what I did. And my body quickly got back on track, even with a missed run here or there.
Once I hit the 10-mile mark, I got cocky. I started thinking I was unstoppable, and lessened my commitment level. I even tried to get away with skipping short runs in general and just running on Saturdays. (You don’t need to tell me what an idiot I am – believe me, I figured it out just fine on my own! )
Despite all of my highs and lows, successes and mistakes, I think I am ready to take on the big 13.1 tomorrow. There is more I could read online or in magazines to prepare, but I don’t want to psych myself out with too much info. I know I’m a little out of my league, but that’s okay. My goal is to make it across the finish line in 3 hours.
Last week, I asked my husband if I was a moron for thinking I could or should do this back in August. He said I wasn’t. He reminded me that this was the right choice for me because:
- I wanted to do it.
- it gave me tons of self-confidence.
- it was good for me, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
I share this with you because you might need a new outlet for stress or a new hobby. Maybe you’re struggling with your weight and you need to feel like a rock star a few times a week. That’s how I feel when I finish – most of the time, anyway. Maybe you just want to have bragging rights – to say, “Yes, I ran a half-marathon.” These are all the reasons I decided to give it a try. Let me encourage you by saying, GO FOR IT. You never know unless you try. And to quote my friend Jan, who did this last year: “If I can do it, anyone can.”
I’ll be back next Friday with the full story. Keep me in your thoughts & prayers this weekend! Thanks!