True Life: I’m training for a half marathon…again

Remember that time I told you about running my 4th half marathon? Yeah, I barely remember it either! I took some time off of training and didn’t participate in any races in the spring. I let my coach talk me into training for the Lexington Half Marathon again (I hit my PR there last year and had the luxury of passing what looked like a deer carcass at around the half way point so obviously I was all “definitely ready to tackle this one again!”).

sign up

Like last year, I’m way ahead on my mileage (#overachiever / I get really anxious that I’m not going to train and force myself to amp it up) so this week I got to take it down a notch to a relaxing 7 miler (ha!). In celebration of passing the mileage midpoint of training, I thought it’d be fun to share what it’s really like to train for a half marathon.

half way

Confession: I have been planning this post during my last 4-ish long runs and literally start laughing…out loud…while running. For someone with my lack of coordination, this is dangerous [and has led to near suffocation…okay not really, but it could’ve!]. I hope it means that you’ll enjoy reading this post as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Without further adieu, I introduce you to the thoughts of a runner {or maybe these are only applicable to me?} / conversations I have with myself while running long distances…

The run begins…< 1 mile

3 seconds in…THIS IS SO GREAT!

running elf

3 minutes in…Why am I doing this again?

dinosaur

Ok, let’s review your motivators (so you can be motivated):

  1. Pizza
  2. Ice Cream
  3. Your metabolism can no longer keep up with the amount of 1 & 2 that you consume.
  4. Because you’ll let down your coach if you give up. And you hate disappointing people.

4 minutes in…

4 mins

Gosh this hydration belt is so annoying. Why can’t there be water-delivery-fairies along my path so I can avoid carrying this bulky thing. I’m pretty sure it’s slowing me down. I’m going to blame my speed issues on the belt. It’s definitely the belt.

running belt

Oh girl. If you ever find a belt that makes anything look good, please tell me.

Mile 1

I think for my next race I should order a t-shirt that says “will run for pizza” on the back. Or cupcakes.

That should be entertaining for the hundreds of people passing me. It’ll be like my gift to them (my other gift: generously volunteering to be the last one to cross the finish line #SomebodysGottaDoIt).

pie

I’m pretty sure that’s what’s holding me back from “looking like a runner”…pizza. It’s pizza’s fault for being so damn delicious.

My life story.

My life story.

Maybe I should cut back on my pizza intake…

LOL – I think I just blacked out from talking crazy again.

tacos

Yes! TACOS! Add that to my list of motivators.

Mile 2

Ooh! I think I may know that person driving by. I hope they didn’t see me.

[while running through USC…]

Is that girl wearing a cotton t-shirt? Has she not realized it’s over 100 degrees…and sunny…and why am I sweating profusely while she is only showing a subtle glisten? Life is so unfair.

Maybe I should write a post called “Things you learn by running in the blistering heat.” Lesson 1: Dri-Fit only.

drifit

Is that girl wearing make-up while running? She must like early wrinkles.

attractive

Lesson 2: Your gym bag is incomplete without make-up removing wipes. #AintNobodyGotTimeForCloggedPores… speaking of, I need to pick up some face wash at the store. Note to self: Don’t forget that by the time we finish this run.

Am I too old to be running through a college campus?

too old

Am I though?!

Oh, who am I kidding…I look younger than half of these kids anyway! #BabyFace

UGH! When will I ever look my age?!

Calm down. Remember that gray hair you found sticking straight up above your forehead? What a gift!

Mile 3

Just hang in there. You’re almost to your sweet spot (you know…that spot where your legs forget they hate you and they convert to autopilot…so for a bit it’s like they’re not complaining…until you stop and your knee feels like it’s going to spontaneously combust. Ok, stop thinking about that!).

dory

Mile 4

Once I get up this hill, I’m totally taking a water break!

Surprised this is my first water break? Don’t be, Mom. I hydrated today until my pee turned clear. #CoachsTip

beyonce

Mile 5

I’m really craving a second walk break. Too soon? Yes, it’s too soon.

Ugh. I told you: once you open the flood gate with a walk break, you’ll want a billion. Should’ve kept on truckin’ a little longer. It’s way too early to be feeling like this:

never again

Except instead of AFTER I’m feeling this way DURING…

Maybe taking up yoga is a better idea.

Who are you kidding?! You tried that. You eat way too much pizza for yoga to be your main workout. Nice try. Keep running.

Mile 6

Surely I’ve burned enough calories for cheesecake!

calories

Gosh I haven’t had cheesecake in forever…intentionally. Nothing is more sad than an aging metabolism. #Truth.

Mile 7

Running lesson #465689: Running makes me hate my body less. Isn’t it cool what the human body can be trained to withstand?

teach

Mile 8

I DID IT! And oh emm gee my knee is definitely locked. And WHERE IS THE PIZZA?!

gscout cookies

Yes, please. #BringOnTheThinMints

In all seriousness, I do enjoy running. There’s little in life (aside from pizza) that is more satisfying than a runner’s high. I truly enjoy the time with myself – it’s a time of reflection that is so valuable.

running quote

But to be honest – my desire to quit is a real challenge. That tiny voice in the back of mind that tries hard to creep in – telling me I can’t do it – can be hard to suppress. I’m sure every runner has experienced it and overcome it at one time or another. It’s always worth it, but it’s tough!

The moment you realize that your competition lies in beating your own personal time or your own goals (rather than being faster than the person next to you), a real revelation occurs. That happened for me before I even ran my first race. I have always been fascinated with what can do – with every mile I added, I felt such a huge sense of success. I’ve always been a slow runner (in my defense: I have very short legs 😉 ) so I never thought that I would win any of the trophies at the end of the race which also helped (perhaps if I thought I actually stood a chance, I’d be more disappointed when I didn’t take home the gold?).

Focusing on competing with myself and avoiding comparison with others has been the greatest lesson.

just run

One last thing: I hope this posts sheds light on what it’s really like to train for a half marathon. I hope I did this in a manner that doesn’t scare you off, but makes you feel like “If she can do it, I can too!” because I’m slow…I’m short…and my track coach in high school (I pole vaulted for a very brief time) gave me “permission” to quit (yes, it was a real conversation). If training for long distance running isn’t your thing, who cares! Whether you run 10 miles or just around the block, do what makes you feel good.

fake runner

Side note: All photos are linked to their original source. I am in no way endorsing the websites that are linked…in fact, I did not read most of them. But I believe in giving credit where it’s due, so sources are linked in case you are interested. 

My Year of Running

A little over a year ago, I sat across from my friend Randy at our favorite coffee shop one morning before work.

I had recently started taking the running classes offered with the CrossFit membership I had at the time and was discovering how much I actually enjoyed running. Randy is an avid runner – qualifying and finishing the Boston Marathon many times – so of course, I had begun to badger him with questions and requests for advice.

He looked across the table and said I needed to run a half marathon. I gave him a very serious side-eye which led him to say “don’t worry, I’ll train you.”

Well, friends – that was the best over-coffee-conversation I may have ever had (and with my addiction for coffee, there have been many!).

This weekend I finished my 4th half marathon of 2014!

lexhalf_12.6.14

Randy & I at the finish of the Lexington Run Hard Half Marathon – 12/6/14

Saturday was an inaugural race: the Run Hard Lexington Half Marathon. Race day was cloudy and cool (but not as cold as the Governor’s Cup had been). At mile 3 a drizzle began, but thankfully it subsided (because one thing I don’t do is run in cold rain).

I never really understood the phrase “mind over matter” until I started training. Most of my long runs involve me attempting to suppress the voice in my head that is trying hard to negotiating a shorter run…or converting to a long walk. Not only is training physically exhausting, but at times it can be emotionally draining.

Saturday was no exception. Those feelings of self-doubt were out in full force.

We hit a long uphill climb after mile 5. It wasn’t the kind of hill I was used to conquering downtown – steep, but short enough that I could see the top. It was so long I couldn’t see the top (literally miles ahead with a few curves woven in). My self-doubt was coming on strong when I heard an uneven step behind me followed by a “good morning.”

And along came my new friend, Jerry, who struck up a conversation that pulled me through.

Jerry is a 67-year-old race veteran (when asked how many races he’d run his reply was “hundreds…I’m old”) who was battling a heel injury (hence the uneven sound of his strides). He is also a Cross Country Coach for a local high school team. As we ended our first of several chats, Jerry said “you’ve got great running form. Keep it up and you’ll meet your goal today.” Hearing that from a running coach is probably the best compliment EVER (I know, I’m a nerd).

We hung together until the end where he said “ok, Jordan, I’m going to finish just behind you” and let me take the finish line before him 🙂

At this point you’re probably laughing because I barely beat an injured 67-year-old across the finish line. Whatever, I’m a proud member of the #SlowRunnersClub 😉

I might be slow, but I’m getting ever-so-slightly faster: I set a new personal record (PR) – shaving 6 minutes off my Governor’s Cup (and 7 off my Palmetto Half) to finish at 2:06.

I can’t lie: having a coach who has believed in me every step (pun intended) of the way is the reason I’ve stuck with this torturous journey – and I’m so glad I have. I’ve learned so much from running – like mastering mind over matter (or at the very least how to suppress self-doubt long enough to reach the finish line of tough situations).

As this year comes to an end, I hope you’re thinking through your 2015 goals – and I encourage you to add running to the list. I promise to be your cheerleader!