“I’d like to run a half marathon,” I said…in December of like 2010. “Just to say I did it.”
It was an item on a to-do list for the following year (I’m not really an outright resolutions person, but I do usually make a list of things I’d like to do the next calendar year).
Running a half marathon was an item on a list for five years.
On my birthday this year, I took the plunge.
Something about starting my Jeff Gordon year made me want to race, I guess? I’d peeped some races (mostly at race131.com
because I followed them on social media — Twitter, Insta) and *thought* I remembered seeing one coming up in the area.
December 12, 2015 — Race 13.1 Durham
— marks exactly one month from my birthday. This, I decided, is enough time to be ready to race but not so much time that I’ll back out.
I’m not big on long term commitment, one could say.
The caveat to my running thirteen point one miles, is and has been that I wasn’t going to formally train. I’m the type where if I say I’m going to do something, I do it. I’m also competitive enough to know I’ll finish running a public race. No matter what. I don’t need to train.
(Hey, do we think I’m jinxing myself here or nah?)
I also am not going to look at the course. I’m just going to expect some hills and some straight aways and start running and hope for the best.
I registered for the race — an inaugural holiday-themed race! Inaugural! Like how this is my inaugural half! It was meant to be! — and learned that the Race 13.1 company provides its registered racers with free training. The training is even divided into racer level..including first-time half marathon runners. OK, fine. I’ll check it out.
Joke’s on me — training programs are eight weeks and I have 29 days of actual running before race day.
I’ve given the material a good look over and am going to make this ish up as I go along. The program for “beginner half-marathon,” per the website is for someone “who has yet to complete a half marathon race and has a solid base of 4-6 weeks of 4-5 runs per week.” So, that is me. I’ll modify or mimmic or make up some schedule that matches the pattern of the real training program or something.
Pause. Important: I do NOT consider myself a real runner. I do really like running, however. I’m running a half to say I did it.
Me not viewing myself as a runner is part of the reason I see this as something that will be an accomplished feat. Me also wanting to commit to something that requires steady time, effort, and attention is another reason I’m doing this (something that isn’t my job — which I feel comfortable saying I commit a lot of time and effort and steady attention to). Crossing a long-standing goal off the list is a third main reason I’m doing this.
Yes, I also imagine I’ll be in slightly better shape in a month than I am now..my legs’ll be stronger, based on the fact that I’ll probably be less likely to eat like crap before running a lot of miles, I may generally look a little better too…but that truly isn’t the driving motivator here.
(If that’s what this was about, I wouldn’t have eaten an entire frozen pizza for (second) dinner/midnight snack on my birthday.. Dang. Alright, maybe this race has some hidden health bonuses that I sneakily need.)
Depending on where you fall on the spectrum, your response to my self proclaimed non-runner status will fall anywhere between “hahaha duh, of course you aren’t,” and “hahaha ok no *I* am not a runner because I literally do not run, do you see the difference?”
Nonetheless, for the sake of disclosure, here are my runner “stats,” if you will:
– I run four to six days a week…at least 3.5 miles a day.
– I run as much on a treadmill as I do outside (on concrete — running in rural places keeps me entertained. I like people more than I like nature).
– My standard run pace for November to this point (thank you to my Nike running app, which I have used for years and love) is 7:58/mile and my longest run is 5.81 miles. October average, FWIW, is 8:03, September 8:08.
– I ran one 5K in 2015 and one in 2014 and slept through two in 2013 (it was my senior spring semester of college, leave me alone).
– I finished the 5K I ran in just at a pace roughy 15 seconds faster than any single run I’d done in the month prior — THIS is what I mean by competitive. I finished fourth in my age division by two seconds. *Competitive fire flares as I type that*
– I don’t have any injuries (thankfully) and basically just run a lot (6 or 6.5 miles) or a little (3 or 3.5 miles) based on how I’m feeling on any given day and also based on how bumpin’ the music on Pandora or Spotify shuffle is or is not.
The race description says, “Be prepared for plenty of Santa Claus hats, jingle bells, drumlines and festive music along the course!” but I’m a little nervous about the weather because I HATE running in leggings/pants so that’ll be interesting..I don’t see a Santa Hat solving that problem. I hope I don’t have to be prepared for rain. If the NC Central band/drumline makes an appearance, I may run a full marathon out of pure joy.
Here goes my first “training,” run. Or my first post-registration run. I don’t even know how far I’ll run today. Am I doing this right?
Writer’s note: Please feel free to reach out to me and share race day tips or training (general) tips. I’d LOVE some suggestions for playlists and/or songs. Please feel free to also encourage or ridicule my somewhat shot gun and careless approach to this..I’m just doing it.