Training Day

Sunday, September 25, 2011

So I casually slipped it into a post awhile back that I finally signed up for a half-marathon. Like, I paid for it and everything.  Which means I’m actually training.  Homegirl’s too cheap to pay $75 for a race and not run it.  So here I am.  Training.

But I use that term loosely… By train, I mean I run a long run once a week and hate every second of it.  I’m not following any official training schedule, I’ve just been bumping up my distance by half a mile every week since June and doing regular workouts during the week.  Prior to this season, I’d never run more than six miles at a time {and it was not a common occurrence} and had only competed in 5ks.  Running has always been my exercise of choice but I’d always considered myself a 3 mile kinda girl.  Nothing more and why would I?

But my friend Ashley, after two glasses of wine mind you, asked if I wanted to run the Army 10 Miler with her in October.  I said yes and we signed up immediately for a coveted spot in a race that fills up within hours.  {I even felt bad that my poser-runner self got a spot…}

The Rock ‘n Roll marathon series also announced they were adding Savannah {my hometown} to the schedule and it was a month after the 10 miler—the perfect amount of time to train from 10 miles to 12 miles.  So I signed up for that too!

{Apparently, I really believe in myself.}

So here we are…two weeks from the 10 miler.  I’ve been training REALLY HARD {sarcasm} and I’ve set really intense goals and standards for myself.

Like, finish.

Don’t walk.

Or throw up.

Or pee your pants.

I REALLY hope I can achieve these, especially that last one.

Training is actually going better than I made it sound above—I don’t actually hate every minute, I just had a hard run today.  I ran 8 last week and felt golden; I ran 9.5 today and felt like bricks were tied to my shoes.

My friend Ashley {a different Ashley} writes these really eloquent recaps of her races and recalls how she felt along each mile {seriously, read her account of the NYC marathon. It made me want to sign up…and then I remembered I had to qualify}.  Unlike hers, my runs generally go something like this…

Miles 1-3: “I’ve been running for 2 minutes…I’ve been running for five minutes….I’ve been running for 10 minutes…I have to keep running for another hour…I have to keep running for 50 more minutes… Can I step yet?  How soon can I stop running?”  I just can’t stop myself from thinking about time.

Miles 3-7, I finally get into a groove, my body loosens up, and I get distracted enough to stop focusing on how much longer I have to keep running.  I enjoy my music, I pray for people, and just generally get lost in my thoughts.  These miles usually go by surprisingly fast.

And then mile seven hits and it occurs to me, “Dear Lord, I have been running for over an hour and I have how many miles left?? I hate this.  This sucks.  Why am I doing this?  Running is stupid.  My hip hurts.  Why didn’t I do my hip exercises this week?” And I suffer through the remaining miles…

I pay absolutely no attention to my pace or time, sometimes I don’t even run with a watch.  I have no contraptions on my shoes and I can’t track my distance until I get home via the good ol’ Map My Run site.  I’m kind of whatever about the whole thing.

The good news is that the Dear-Lord-why-am-i-doing-this-i-am-so-tired-please-let-me-stop-how-am-ever-going-to-run-13-miles feelings used to start at mile 5.  And now they don’t sneak up until miles 7 or 8.  So even when I have a runs like today and my time seems awful {even though I know they’re not that bad}, I’m encouraged to know that it’s gradually getting easier and despite how I feel, I am making progress.

And I’m encouraged because I’m putting FAR less into my training than I should.  Veteran runners would cringe at my habits… Imagine how good I’d feel if I stopped eating barbeque two hours before my run…or a casserole dish worth of corn dip. Or didn’t drink three glasses of wine the night before.  Or if I didn’t put off my runs until Sunday night when I cannot possibly delay it any longer.  Perhaps I wouldn’t get so bored if I stopped listening to the same two Taylor Swift albums during every.single.run. 

{But I really do love her “If they could see me now” songs and they really motivate me. Suck it all you mean girls in ballet class!}

But hey, this is my first go at it.  I already have races scheduled through the spring and I’m sure once I run a few, I’ll be a little more competitive and take it a little more seriously. 

For now, I’m just pretty impressed that my 3-mile-self can run nine miles… So far, I’ve finished my runs, occasionally I need to walk, and have not yet thrown up or peed my pants.  But the first race is coming up in a few weeks—I’ll let you know how it goes!

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