Going the Distance: Adventures in Half-Marathon Training

Saying hello to the rocky statue during my long run on Sunday.

So, last week, while I was visiting my family in New York, I went on a lovely run with my mom through Forest Hills Gardens. I ended up running about 8.6 miles, which I have never done before. Last year I don’t think I ran as much for the Broad Street and I was aching horribly afterwards. This year, I have been sticking to my training schedule somewhat better and therefore feel pretty good, even if Mom declared that I might be on my own since I’m slower than honey on an ice cube. Before you think of my mom as some unfeeling mean person, keep in mind that if I do try to run at her pace, I might die, so she is letting me off the hook. Besides, with beer and wurst being served by Bavarian bar maids at the finish-line tent, no one cares if it just might take me all day to finish.

Still, I have been feeling a little hopeless about being able to make it the entire 13.1, which is a lot of miles to run. I mean, no one would blame me for chickening out. But, this weekend I managed to run not 8.6 miles but actually 8.8 miles, which is more, and I ran 4 miles the day before and I did it by myself.

And I felt AWESOME!!

They’re not joking when they say long distance running is mental. For me, the first mile is always the hardest. My mind thinks it still has a chance to talk me out of the run. Then I stretch, even during races which always gets the oddest looks from people. After that, my legs try to protest and that little voice says how long I have to go, how I can’t do it, how I should go back to the house and blog or fold laundry. Then around mile three it’s magic. I find my groove and off I go.

I really feel like I could go longer but my goal is gain, without pain. So I run a nice 12 minute mile and towards the last mile and a half, I alternate walking and running. I also stop to take pictures, for traffic signals, avoid small animals, etc, which drives other runners batty, but I actually prefer it. I typically never take the same route twice in a row. I like to change it up.

For me, it’s about the journey, and eventually getting there, even if it takes a while. Considering I am not likely to win any speed awards, why bother killing myself? I’m happy if I’m not the last runner in and I arrive feeling great.

So now that I think I just might be able to finish the race, I am quite excited and looking forward to the big day!

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