Journey to the Half
I did something late last night I swore I would never do again. I signed up for a half marathon.
This is not my first half. It will be my third. The reason for my swearing off of half marathons was because of my second. After little time to train, I went into it unprepared. I finished the last 3.1 miles in pain and agony due to major cramping and pain in my legs and feet.
All this because I simply didn't have the time to train. It was for this reason I swore off half marathons or anything longer. That is until my wife forwarded me an email. The email was a promotion from Disney about their Star Wars themed run series in Disney World.
There are two hobbies that I just absolutely love: Bigfoot and Star Wars. When it comes to Star Wars, you can just place me in the "freakishly nerdy" category. And for this reason I began to argue with myself over whether I should take part in this running event.
"No. I'm never doing a half marathon again."
"But it's Star Wars!"
"No. No time for training."
"But it's Star Wars!"
"No. Last time went horribly. I'm not spending all that money and time to travel down there to just be miserable."
"But it's Star Wars!"
This arguing continued and soon my competitive side emerged, wondering what my experience would be like with proper training. My adventurous side added to the argument by stating what an experience this would be. Soon, the cynic began to get beat down, but not without a fight. The cynic conceded on one condition: I had to start a training plan and complete the first day's training.
I agreed. With me.
So, I created a training plan that day. And I waited. I waited some more. Lunch came; no training. Dinner came; no training. 10:00 PM came; no training. Finally at 11:30 PM I decided that I needed to make good on the deal I made with myself.
So, I dressed, laced up the running shoes and dialed in the distance my training plan said I needed to run. 2.6 miles in 33 minutes 30 seconds.
I almost balked again. It had been a while since my feet pounded the pavement. I wasn't even sure I would be able to run that distance, which I quickly told myself was part of the deal; If I couldn't finish day 1 of training, then I didn't need to sign up for the half.
Off I ran. The streets were dark, but at this late hour I wasn't concerned about traffic. One mile down. I could hear coyotes howling in the field near my addition and dogs barking the next street over. Two miles down. Almost there. My legs began to burn and my breathing became laborious. But I continued. And ding! My phone announced I had finished all 2.6 miles.
Now the moment of truth. Did I complete it in the 33 minutes 30 seconds my plan set? It certainly didn't feel like I had. I wrestled my phone out of its armband and opened up the running app. And there it was. Almost 30 minutes even.
I completed Day 1 within the time allotted. Slowly by most standards, including mine, but I did it. And that was that. I signed up for the half marathon soon after.
Before you think that I believe myself to be a stud runner just because I signed up for a half marathon, believe me, I don't. I don't even consider myself a good runner. I'm average. Actually, I'm probably more aptly described as below average. I could probably lose a few Ell Bees (pounds), too, as the old spare tire has gotten a bit bigger over the past year. I have poor eating habits, ingesting far too many soft drinks and "convenience store" foods. But I'm working on it. I'm working on being a better me. The true reason why I run is not to be the best runner. I doubt that will ever happen. The reason I run now is two-fold: 1. I run for my family. A healthier me is a better me for them. I want to have more energy to keep up with my children and to be around for a long time with my wife. 2. I run for competition against ME. No one else, just me. I feel a certain high when I get a new Personal Record at a 5K or 10K event. It shows that I'm gaining ground; that I'm better than I was last time. It also shows when I've slacked off and tells me that I need to watch what I eat or get out and train harder the next time.
So, that competitive edge against myself really helped drive me to do another half marathon... coupled with the fact that it was a Star Wars themed race, and it was a losing battle with myself.
I'll be blogging about my journey to the race in April, so come back and read what's going on with my training. It's sure to be a wild journey. Also, I hope to inspire those that want to take a similar journey. Maybe you're right where I am, wanting to live a healthier life, but don't know where to start or fear "failing". Let's encourage each other to do better each day.
Until next time!