April 19, 2016

My Journey to 13.1

Several weeks back, I made a big commitment. One of those scary and audacious, but at the same time, “this is going to be so awesome” commitments.

It was part impulsive, and part calculated risk.

It was partly because I wanted to do it, partly because a good friend of mine encouraged me to do it, partly because MAL has been encouraging me to do it for several months and partly because I really wanted something exciting to look forward to.

The commitment is I signed up to run the Detroit Free Press half marathon on October 15 – two days before my 32nd birthday.

I wouldn’t really call myself a runner. I’ve ran in a handful of 5K races, and I enjoyed doing them. I do run on my own accord, but a runner? I wouldn’t really classify myself in that category.

And I won’t lie to you – I don’t love running. I’m not one of those “I can’t wait to lace up my shoes and feel the breeze on my face” types of people. I do enjoy it – for about 3 miles.

So how the heck am I going to run 13.1 miles? Well…I’m still working on figuring that out.

Thankfully, I have my lovely friend Julie to partake in the challenge. Heck, she just had a baby. My babies are 3 years old now. She inspires me.

I can do this. I want to do this. I will do this. I kind of pretend like I’m not doing this.

But with the weather getting warmer, it’s becoming a reality that I made this big, scary commitment. I can’t hide from it anymore. I have to start training.

I think I’ll feel better about it when I put a training plan together. Right now, I’m still kind of pretending like I didn’t sign up for it. But when I talk myself out of the shadow I’m cowering in, I know I need to get my act together and start figuring out how I make it 13.1 miles without collapsing during mile 5.

I thought it may help to document the journey along the way. It helped me during my 2.5 mile run this past weekend – I was thinking about what I wanted to write about in this first post.

I was also thinking about the many reasons why signing up for this half marathon was a terrible idea. You know, it was that self-deprecating type of talk that is so important to avoid if you want to maintain a positive attitude (I swear, I’m not going to have many of those talks with myself anymore!).

This is a bad idea because I don’t think I can run more than 4 miles.

This is a bad idea because I don’t have the mental stamina to make it for 13.1 miles. My mind starts to wander during runs, and I become impatient. I pay too much attention to how close I am to the next mile, or to the end of the run. I start to focus on everything bothering me – my thighs are screaming, my calves are tightening up, I’m too hot.

Physically, I truly think I can do it. I think my body can definitely make it 13.1 miles, with the proper training. Getting winded isn’t my problem. It’s truly a mental game. So, I guess my mental prep needs to be just as big a part of my training as the physical aspect.

I’ll stop rambling. For now.

I can’t promise I’ll write every week, but I would like to make a concerted effort to document this process. It gets me back to writing on this blog that I’ve poured so much effort into over the years, but intentionally neglected once the twins were born and there were too many competing priorities.

I have to thank the nice person who was talking to me through the @freepmarathon Twitter handle last week. He/she looked at my website and suggested I document the training process on my blog. I politely declined, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be a good idea. So thanks for the encouragement, @freepmarathon.

I’d love to hear from the real runners out there. How did you train for your first major run? What helped you with mental roadblocks? What products do you love most to help with the training? Leave a comment here or on my Facebook post (if we’re Facebook pals).

And, thanks for reading. 🙂