#4 – Run a half-marathon

I DID IT!

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That’s all I could think about after my race, and the few days after.

Maybe it wasn’t my greatest race of all time, maybe I could’ve done better, but I finished – and that’s all that matters.

My friend and I ran together throughout the entire race. The first five miles or so, we didn’t talk much. At one point, she told me I had a really solid pace. I mentioned that it was a bit faster than usual, and that’s when we realized we were both running faster than normal to keep up with each other…. which caused us to run faster than we both normally would. Whoops! We slowed down to a more comfortable pace, and talked the rest of the race. Talking made the race go by SO much faster!

P.S. – it’s a total lie that those last few miles are a breeze. total lie.

A little back story on me, and my desire to run this race:

I was never a runner. At the end of high school volleyball practices, we had a timed lap around the track. I was usually towards the end of the group. I hated running, I was slow, and … did I mention I hated running? Fast forward to college, and somehow, I started liking running. I tried to train for two 5ks, and both times, ended up hurting myself (to the point of surgery, and a walking boot).

Last fall, Aaron decided to do a Spartan Race. He wanted a big goal, to keep himself accountable to working out and being healthy. So, soon after, I decided I wanted to run a half-marathon. “Are you sure you don’t want to start with a 5k?” No. I decided I was cursed with attempting 5k races. I signed myself up for a big race, and started training.

A month or so before my race, I went hiking. Beautiful, long hike with some good friends of ours. I ended up somehow falling/tripping on the way down and hurt my foot. And… you guessed it, another walking boot. I was out of the race. So frustrated with myself. But, I got back out there!

A good friend of mine said she would run a race with me whenever I decided to do one. So, we chose one and got started. We trained separately because of our schedules and whatnot, but we kept each other accountable and tried to encourage each other on our ‘bad’ running days. Side note: my running partner gave birth to a sweet little girl at the end of March, and then started to train when she was able. She was a huge inspiration for me, juggling two kids, one a newborn, and still finding time to train! (Plus, she runs a lot faster than me!) We ended up having to switch races at the last minute, racing sooner than expected. I think that gave us both a bit of a mental block, but like I said, WE FINISHED!

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Training:

Since I trained almost an entire year (off for two months with my injury), I did a few different running places. At the very beginning, I had used a running app with intervals and a built-in training plan. But, it got annoying after awhile because it was trying to adjust my pace so it constantly told me, ‘Go slower… faster…. slower…. slower…. faster…’ haha!

I eventually found and stuck with a plan that essentially had me doing 3 miles twice a week during the week, and longer runs on Saturday. Each Saturday, the mileage would increase. There were a few weekends where the mileage would be the same as the previous week, or went a few miles down (to save energy and prepare for a really long run the next weekend).

My biggest hurdle in training was running too fast. Like I said, I am a slow runner. From the beginning, I didn’t care about my pace or my time (just didn’t want to finish last). I had the hardest time just getting up to two miles or so at the beginning, and couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I was trying to sprint – that’s what was wrong with me. I slowed it down, and pretty soon, I was racking up the miles! The last month or so, I also struggled with weather. It was a rainy month, and I don’t run in rain. But, if it wasn’t raining, it was SUPER hot. Because of my slow pace, I had limited windows of time to get a run in when it wasn’t raining, wasn’t too hot, but wasn’t too dark either. Aaron didn’t like to run the really long distances with me, but I also didn’t like to run on trails at night, by myself.

Final thought on training: intervals are awesome. My friend and I ended up running the entire race in intervals. Jeff Galloway has his runners do really short intervals during their races to fight off fatigue. You end up running a bit faster on your intervals, but conserve energy. So, we did two minutes running, one minute walking, and averaging about an 11-12 minute mile.

And to answer your question, yes… I will probably do another race soon :-)

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