Last year when I was preparing for the 2012 RunDisney Princess Half Marathon, I was understandably daunted. After all, I am no athlete. The most running I’d ever really done was to complete an 8 week “Couch to 5K” running program thanks to an iPhone app, then I promptly stopped running because I’d “finished”.
Seriously. I ran my 5K on the treadmill, then just stopped running. No race, no fanfare, just *stopped*. I’m not always good on the followthrough, so I suppose I was just happy that I’d actually finished something. Yay! I did that! Where’s the cake?
So the concept of sticking with a training program which would span 4 months and culminate in a half marathon (or four 5Ks) seemed a little out of character for this chronic ‘good enough, I give up’ kind of gal. I was so paranoid that I’d let myself down in training and embarrass myself by getting ‘swept’ off the race course, that I didn’t give myself a break during training. I missed maybe 4 runs out of those 4 months. I probably should have missed more, as was evidenced by my very painful achilles tendinitis, but that’s a whole other story of weirdo denial. Point being, I got there. Against all my worst fears about myself, I got there.
So why am I doing it again?
- Because it was actually really fun. Its hard not to get caught up in the energy of the crowd on race day. I was nervous and excited while my husband and I stood in our corral, my stomach was doing the kind of flip-flops which are usually reserved for roller coasters and opening night. Never having run a race before, we were all the way in the very last corral. The back of the pack. The group who would start with the “sweepers” hot on our heels. I looked around our corral wondering how many of us would make it all the way. Before long, though, I stopped comparing myself to everyone else. I stopped wondering who I was stronger or weaker than, and I just started focussing on the challenge at hand
- It was real boost to my sense of self. With every mile I got more confident, and when we hit the halfway point and I realized I had enough gas in the tank to finish strong, we actually sped up for the second half. This is huge. I was brought up thinking I wasn’t athletic. A fear of letting team-mates down in team sports, or looking like a goofball in individual sports kept me from trying (which is ludicrous, considering my job today). Turns out that nagging “you’re not strong enough” voice in my head is nothing more than your average, run of the mill fear/self-doubt/low self esteem/excuse making. Nothing more, and certainly not something impossible to overcome. Especially when you shine a light on what it really is. So to realize, halfway through a 13.1 mile race that I KNEW I had what it took to finish it... that was a revelation.
- To prove it wasn’t a fluke. I did it once, I can do it again.
This is where it gets tricky. I am now about a month out from the Disneyland Half Marathon (September 2, 2012), and I’ve missed a lot of training this time around.
I mean a LOT.
Like 2 months worth.
For those of you who aren’t too hot at math, that’s a good half.
Thankfully, I’m in better overall physical shape this time around (thanks to having already done a half marathon this year, and 2 months worth of P90X), but my health has been less than co-operative. My chronic cough and fatigue are a whole conversation unto themselves, but suffice to say I’ll be glad to be leaving my current ship.
I got an amended training program from a kind, former running/endurance coach, and so I have to tackle this half marathon with only a 10 mile long run under my belt this time around.
I look forward to spending my next 3 long runs in:
August 12: New York City (8 miles)
August 19: Toronto (10 miles)
August 26: Prince Edward Island (6 miles)
In case you’re not familiar with Prince Edward Island, it's where the best potatoes come from, the home of fictional "Anne of Green Gables" and it’s pretty darn far east. So, yes, I’ll be running literally both coasts of North America this month, in addition to earning my runDisney Coast to Coast medal.
How do you fit in running when you're travelling?