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Half-Marathon: How I Prepared for 13.1 Miles

by Dawn on November 7, 2008
category: Health and Fitness,Healthy Mom,Husbands and Dads,Inspiration

running-2.JPG 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.  AmandaMcKenna, 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!

4 Responses to Half-Marathon: How I Prepared for 13.1 Miles

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Heidi
    November 10, 2008 @ 10:03 am

    Dawn – I’m looking forward to hearing about your experience running the 1/2 marathon. Congrats to you girl for doing it! Isn’t it amazing how much our own mind can sabotage us from accomplishing tasks that deem to be impossible?

  • Gravatar
    Comment by LaTrice
    November 10, 2008 @ 4:01 pm

    I planning to run a half too. This is the begining of my second week of training and I dont know if i will make it but i guess its just a mind thing. I am running a half April 5, 2009 here in Dallas to support blood cancer research.

    Please post how everything goes.

  • Gravatar November 14, 2008 @ 6:36 am

    [...] Last week I shared with you how I prepared myself for a 13.1 mile race.  Then, I did it! Here are a few things that caught me by surprise: [...]

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Annie
    April 8, 2009 @ 9:12 pm


    I’m a random person, but I just told all my friends and family that I’m doing a half marathon in about 6 months. I’m a little overweight and can only run 1.5 miles without completely passing out at this point. Thanks so much for sharing your story on the web, and for sharing your training program. I’ve given myself a lot of time, and know that once I’m comfortable with an easy pace 2 miles I should be able to start the training. Anyways, I know this is random, but thanks very much. This was the biggest help out of anything I’ve been able to find so far.

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