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Before I even take the first step of my first half marathon, let me say this: I have more respect for the people who legitimately train and compete in these races regularly than ever before.

The goal of running a half marathon came into existence (years ago for me) for the difficulty of the concept, the athletic challenge, the mental challenge..and ok yes, sure for the slight trendiness. When I really evaluate the idea of doing one of these runs the right way — full training, two(+) months, all the way committed to hitting a particular time…man, that’s some dedication.

In my “I signed up, here goes (almost literally) nothing,” initial post, I touched on the idea that running this race would be something for me to have a consistent committment to. While I have been commited to “getting ready,” (we’ll call it..since it’s true and not full-fledged training) to run 13.1 Durham, I’ve been just as tired ahead of many runs (and other workouts) as I ever was.

This feels obvious, but NO (sh*t) signing up for a half marathon did not magically make me so motivated to run 100 percent of the time. Nonetheless, I ran intentionally for the past month with two key things in mind that I hope will have me prepared to feel successful during and after running my first half marathon.

It’s not a (full) marathon, but it’s still not a sprint. It is an uphill battle.

In all of my non-training but consistent running in the last month, I had a No. 1 goal — run slower.

It sounds pretty easy, but the truth is that I’ve always gone at as fast a pace as possible so that I could get runs over with. If I run slower, I tend to get bored.

My (NCHSAA State Champion cross country runner) sophomore year college roommate would literally laugh at my fast starts when we ran together. From age 18 to 21, that never changed. I don’t know how to pace myself very well and I never have. Again, boredom is the fear.

So, my mission of practicing running at a slower pace, with a slightly higher average length of run per day than before I signed up, was what I charged myself with in my one-month non-training. Oh, and run more hills — that was the second key to my made-up preparation.

The hill practice is more of a struggle for normal reasons — like my butt hurting and it being hard — but somehow, I feel like these two keys to preparation helped one another out. Hills fend off the boredom of turtle speed and my intentional slight dragging of my feet fends off actual muscle exhaustion.

Outright, I have NOT ran 13.1 miles (no, not even once) in readying myself for the race. But I have gone on a lot of runs in the last month that were regularly harder for me than what I was doing before — both mentally and physically. That counts, right? We’ll see.

“When will we see?”

image1When I picked up my race number and shirt Thursday night, I was racing to get to Omega Sports in Durham before the 8 pm hand-out cutoff. I told one of the 13.1 staffers that and they joked it would be just like how I felt Saturday as I moved toward the finish line. Oh. Boy. (What have I gotten myself into?) I was asked if I was ready for the race. “We’ll see,” I said. “When will we see?,” came the rebuttal.

….I hope we’ll see if I’m ready or not on Saturday. But, part of me does feel that I’m going to complete the race and still not be satisfied or feel “ready.” Maybe it’s my personality or maybe it’s that my YOLO approach to signing this thing echoes the sound of half-ass-ed-ness in my mind, and that simply is not my style.

The back of the 13.1 Durham shirts say “You can. You Will.” (And the front of the shirts are SO. Stinkin’. Cute! image2That holiday bull is a BOSSSSS. *heart eye emoji* Sorry..I was SO hype though when I saw him!!!) The “You can. You will.,” mantra is many places on Race131.com, which I LOVED seeing when I read through all their pre-race materials and in signing up. Seeing that printed on the back of shirts made me super happy. Whether I’m ready or not, I can and I will finish and be proud I did on Saturday. I love that the race company I’ll be running my first 13.1 with agrees.

I’m still VERY afraid that I’m going to get bored during the race, but I will be listening to music (shoutout to the first month free of no commercials on Spotify, I guess) and I will be determined. In Race 13.1’s largest-ever event, I feel even more motivation not to walk a single step (mind games y’all, I can work them to my own advantage if I can motivate no other way). Even. If. I. Get. Bored.

Still holding out with fingers crossed for the marching bands on race day (and I was promised beer *sincerely thanks ace sponsors {100 emoji}* at the finish line). #motivation

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