Next Up: Half Marathon

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I’ve been contemplating this idea for two weeks. I’ve been back and forth on it. I’ve thought about multiple doubts and reasons why I shouldn’t. And that’s why I did it. Yesterday I registered for the Monster Dash Half Marathon. Oh, and I should probably mention it’s in three weeks.

I pushed myself hard this summer and saw big improvements throughout the triathlon season. My times continually got faster. I set PRs on multiple occasions. My confidence sky-rocketed. The element of fear had almost disappeared. I no longer doubted if I could swim the half mile – I now wondered how fast I could do it. I no longer doubted if I’d have the lungs and legs to carry me through to the finish line. It was a question of how hard could I push it and how fast could I get there. The fact is that I was becoming comfortable. And that’s what led me to the half marathon idea.

When you become comfortable with something, that’s a sign that it’s time to take it a step further or try something new that scares you. That’s where growth happens. I still remember my first triathlon. I didn’t actually know if I could do it, but I knew I was going to try. And when I crossed the finish line I was overcome with a sense of accomplishment that lasted for weeks. Right now, the thought of running a half marathon scares me.

I’m used to sprinting. I’m used to going all out as soon as I leave the start chute and not slowing down until I cross the finish line. That strategy isn’t going to work in three weeks. The longest distance I’ve ran in one outing is five miles. And now I’m about to attempt 13.1 miles. I’ll need to be mentally strong enough to pace myself. I’ll have to run slower than I’m used to. I’ll need to conserve that energy for the long haul.

So how am I going to prepare in such a short timeframe? There aren’t really any recommended plans to ramp-up for 13.1 miles in a month. So I’m doing the next best thing — I found a 12-week plan and plugged myself in at week nine, starting last Monday. The middle of the week runs are pretty consistent with what I’ve been doing almost all summer. And the cross training of swimming and cycling have helped create a strong base. The only part I’ve been missing is the long runs each weekend.

At this point of the 12-week plan, the long run should be nine miles. That’s almost double my longest run of the year, so I’ll need to make some adjustments and ramp up to ten miles for the weekend before the race. Tomorrow I’m going to tackle seven miles.

This is going to be hard. It’s going to be a little scary. It’s going to push my outside of my comfort zone. Do I know if I can run 13.1 miles? No, because I’ve never done it before. But I do know that I’ll never know unless I try.

 

 

3 thoughts on “Next Up: Half Marathon

  1. A sprint triathlon and a half marathon take about as long to finish (HM will take a little bit longer), so you have the endurance bit taken care of. Just don’t go out too hard and too fast or you will implode by the end of the race. Consider joining a pace group for the first half of the race just to force you to slow down. If you have not done any Team Ortho events, they tend to be very crowded and very disorganized. My motto for these were “come for the drama, stay for the race”. I loved the time that the timing mats didn’t work and runners were asked by the race director to email your official time to them. Lots of PR’s happened that day. Overall, they are fun events. You will see a lot of people in costume. Just be mentally prepared for things to not go quite according to plan and don’t let it throw your race off. I stopped racing with them when I discovered that none of the proceeds from their events went to charity as promised (Google Team Ortho for details…I have a blog post buried somewhere about the Team Ortho trainwrecks…).

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    • Thanks for the pace group idea! I went for my first long run yesterday. My goal was to stick to a 08:40 pace, after the first mile I looked at my phone and saw I was hovering around 07:45! Pace mindfulness will be a key focus in the next few weeks. The pace group seems like a great idea to stick to the plan when I’m sure to have extra adrenaline on race day.

      Wow, I had no idea about Team Ortho. Hopefully things have improved since that news broke. I guess I’ll find out! This is a good reminder for me to do research for future races. Sounds like I’ve been spoiled with LifeTime and Twin Cities In Motion Events so far. Thanks for the heads-up!

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