Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Just keep running

I wish I looked this good running.

A little over a week ago, C and I ran our first half-marathon. It was wonderful and horrible, exhausting and energizing, cold and warm...okay, no, it was just cold. And if you ask C, he'll probably tell you it was just horrible, exhausting, and cold. Our opinions differ when it comes to running.

Running a half marathon is not easy, but I truly believe it's achievable for anyone. When we started training for this 13 weeks ago, we struggled to get through the first 3-mile run. The long run that week was a completely agonizing 4 miles. And then we had to do it again the next week. The longest distance either of us had ever run prior to training was 5 miles. And even that had only been done twice. The truth is, we are more "fitness runners" than true, bear-it-all-rain-snow-sun-sleet-hard-core-runners. Looking at the training schedule that first week was daunting. I was confident in our ability to work up to 6, maybe even 7 miles. But the thought of running 8+ miles was terrifying. I was afraid we would fail every day for those first few weeks. I was afraid to tell people we were doing this training in case we decided to back out in week 6. (We aren't always the best with follow through).

When it came down to it, the hardest part of the training was not the running. It wasn't even the mental aspect of running 13.1 miles. It was the dedication. It was planning your life and schedule around fitting that run in 4 days a week, along with a 5th day of cross training. It was getting up early, or staying up late to get everything done for the day while not sacrificing the goal. For 12 weeks, C and I pretty much worked, ran, ate, and slept. Yes we found time to do other things during the weekend, but it was always planned around the 1-2 hour run we had to get in that weekend. The runs got longer and harder and recovery was slower. And to top it all off, daylight saving time hit us about 2 weeks from the race date, forcing our weeknight runs to be completely in the dark. But we stuck with it and we achieved our goal. Our finish time was 2:18:18. Nobody said we were the fastest runners out there, but I felt like this was a respectable time.

*Please note that I am in no way a professional runner. This was proven when I completely faceplanted about 200 feet from the finish line of the half marathon. I'd like to say it was because I was completely exhausted and my legs just gave out, but it wasn't. In fact, I still had quite a bit of energy so I was in sprinting mode. This made it even harder to stop the fall when I tripped on a tree root because I decided to step off the trail. Super embarassing, but made it that much more memorable.
This is how I feel when I run

I have to give a huge shoutout to my cousins for serving as my inspiration for training. One of them just rocked the Portland Marathon in October. She was a huge motivator for C and I during our long runs. We just kept reminding ourselves that if she could run 18 miles, we could surely run 8! Another cousin invited me to run the KC Half Marathon with her (her first half as well), which I unfortunately was unable to do. But her invite is what got me searching for races at a later date and gave me the motivation I needed to start the training. If only she had actually run it with me!

With New Years coming up, maybe it's time for you to follow through with some of those lost resolutions or just hopeful goals you have set for yourself lately. Or if you are looking for a new goal, start training for a race. It doesn't have to be a half marathon. Couch to 5k has a great 5k training program for people with zero running ability (and I speak from experience; it's what I used 3 years ago to start working out and lose some weight). Following through with some of those goals is a great way to relieve stress and experience a little extra joy this holiday season.

C and I running our first 10k back in October

1 comment:

Kate Carpenter said...

Congratulations -- what a great accomplishment!