2 years. 8 half marathons. 1 triathlon.
Running was never something that came easy for me, nor was it something I grew up particularly enjoying, but it was the exact challenge I was looking for at the time. Up until November of 2007, the longest I’d ever run was in the 8-mile race on Thanksgiving day the previous year. I’d crafted a plan, trained for it, and surprising even myself not only ran it but finished about 10 minutes ahead of my sister! I’d enjoyed the schedule of the training, I’d loved the high I experienced from tackling and finishing a particularly long run, I’d loved succeeding at something hard. But the pain I was in after the race, which was excruciating, pretty much closed the door to long distance races in the future.
And then May rolled around. It was my sister who first threw out the idea of training for and doing a half marathon. I thought about it. And thought about it. And thought about it. And then thought, why not? We signed up for the Route 66 Tulsa Half Marathon that was to take place the weekend before Thanksgiving. And then in a moment of shear insanity, the three of us (my mom decided to join us in our training endeavors) signed up for an additional 4 half marathons, all before we’d finished training for our first!
Our cousin, Julianne, had run several marathons prior to this and she recommend the 8×1 method. Basically you run for 8 minutes and then walk for a minute and repeat that cycle throughout the race. It made running so much easier and more manageable in my head. I was only running for 8 minutes, not for two hours! I will say for people who aren’t natural-born runners and whose goal is simply to finish, this is the way to go.
Training wasn’t too bad other than the time commitment. The exercise itself helped keep the stress from being a full-time graduate student while holding down a full-time job at bay. I do remember my first 10 mile run very vividly. I’d been wondering all day at work how I was ever going to run for so long. But after work, I got out the door and the most amazing thing happened. I got bored running before I ever got tired. The distance didn’t bother me at all! It was a minor milestone, but one I gladly accepted. If I could run 10 miles with no problem, surely I could do an additional 3.1. Surely.
Race day came around, and once the gun went off my sister and I took off down the course. We were pacing ourselves and feeling great and then mile 9 came with an obstacle: a long, winding hill. In all my training, I’d never trained for hills. I had to stop and walk about half-way up. After that hill, my legs never really felt the same after that, they were spent. (Note to self, must do some hill training!) But I finished the race, success!!
Over the next year and a half, I ran 7 more half marathons and 1 triathlon. While it was a fun time pushing myself to the finish lines of these races, I’m once again to the point where I think my distance-running days are behind me. I know I can conquer 13.1.
Here are the posts I wrote about training and running:
Here’s a list of the races I completed:
Route 66 Half Marathon (Tulsa, OK)
White Rock Half Marathon (Dallas, TX) – ran this one twice
Dallas Running Club Half Marathon (Dallas, TX)
Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon (Phoenix, AZ)
Country Music Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon (Nashville, TN)
Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon (San Antonio, TX)
Austin Half Marathon (Austin, TX)
TexasMan Triathlon (Denton, TX)