I’ve always said,
“I’m not a runner.”
I’ve been firm in the belief that I am a musical theater nerd through-and-through, and that there wasn’t room for me to be anything else. But, I started running last summer – like, really running. As in, more than 2 miles at a time (big stuff). I was surprised at the clarity of mind that came from my longer runs. Eventually, I worked my way up to doing 4 miles. But still, I didn’t own the fact that I was a runner.
And then, I got the insane idea to try a half marathon. Because why not.
My expectations were low – again, I am NOT. A. Runner.
I had just hoped to finish the damn race. I had put a stake in the ground of wanting to finish around 2:30, and I had a desire to walk as little as possible. But other than that, it was more about seeing what the experience was like, and if my non-runner body and mind could tolerate its challenges.
Throughout my half-marathon training, I continued to surprise myself. Each time I ran a longer distance, I marveled at my body’s ability to do whatever my mind told it to just shut up and DO. I would come home after a couple of hours on the trail and Michael would ask with anticipation, “How far did you go today?” And I’d collapse on the couch in exhaustion, but complete elation, and tell him. And he would be blown away too. I remember one day, I ran from our condo all the way down to the Whetstone Park of Roses (5.5 miles, then I had to run all the way back). I stopped at the park to stretch and texted Michael, “OMG guess where I am?!” I was SO proud of myself.
Then, race day came. I surpassed my expectations, finishing at 2:24, a whopping 6 minutes faster than I had hoped! It was then that I finally realized,
“I AM a runner.”
Looking back on my first half marathon, I went into the experience with the mindset that this was a one-and-done thing. I just wanted to be able to cross a half off my bucket list. But as the post-race euphoria wore off, I realized a few things…
- I miss half-marathon training! Yes, it was grueling. But I loved the momentum of working toward a moving target week after week.
- Cliche as it may be, it truly is about the journey, not the destination. While the race was the culmination of all of my hard work – and nothing can compare to the adrenaline and emotion of that day – my training was peppered with emotional milestones too. I enjoy and cherish those every bit as much as the race itself.
- Damnit, I can do better! 2:24 is nice and all, but I KNOW I can beat that time. I’m glad I have a baseline, but it’s time to best myself.
- I can take better care of myself. Somehow in the course of my training, I packed on a good 10 pounds. Now, I’ve never been a big junk food or sweets kinda gal, but I think I allowed myself to just eat as much as I wanted because I was burning off 1,000+ calories per run on long days. I need to be more mindful of my nutrition this time around.
- I need a balance. I did not make the time to strength train in my off days. Incorporating that really could have made the last 3-4 miles of my race less painful. This time around, I’ll be working in Pilates and strength training.
Today is Day 1 of training for the Columbus (Half) Marathon. Because I am trying to break 2:15, my training plan is pretty aggressive this time around. Today, I tackle 4 miles (after over a month off, ew). I need to scale up to 8 miles by Saturday.
What are your fitness goals for the remainder of the year?