Yesterday was the day! I completed my very first half marathon race. It was a rough road, but did it. I learned a few things along the way.
- Just do it. Nike has made this phrase a cliche, but it is actually a really great life lesson. As I was looking at my training plan I would see the long runs on Sunday. I would see that I would have to run 9 miles, or 10 miles, or 12 miles, and I would think, “How the fuck am I going to do that?!?” But since it was written there on my training plan I had no choice. I had to go out and run it. And you know what? I didn’t die. This realization has filtered into other aspects of my life. I am a procrastinator, and this realization has made me less of one. So much more has been getting done around the house. So the lesson: Just do the thing. Don’t think about it. Don’t “do it in the future.” Just do it now. Get it done
- Be kind to yourself. Longer runs are not the time to pull out the boot camp version of yourself. Be nice to yourself. Do what you need to do to complete the run. When I was training on longer runs I stopped at my house in between laps of 4 miles to get a drink of water, use the bathroom, eat an orange, and even switch out the laundry. It made things less stressful and I got my milage in and all was good.
- You only need to compete with yourself. I was in track as a kid and there is that bit of competitiveness inside me that comes out when I am in a race. This is not good because I don’t have the body I had when I was a kid. So yesterday at the beginning of the race I reminded myself that I am only competing with myself and it made the race so much better for me. However, toward the end having people in front of me to work toward catching up to gave my brain something to do, which was also good. In the end, I completed the race with the fastest time so far for this distance, and I am really stoked with myself.
Since this was my first half marathon my ultimate goal was to just complete it. Now that I know what is involved I have some goals in mind for next year. Next year I will work on improving my time and I think I will try for two half marathons next season.
I also decided that I’m content with training for half marathons. I don’t feel like I need to scratch a marathon itch. I don’t feel like that is something I need to prove to myself at this time. Marathons require a lot of time to train for and I just don’t have that kind of time in my life right now. I know myself and the stress of trying find the time to train for one would be too much for me. I’ll stick with half marathons for now. When I retire (or when I have a job that allows the time) I will train for a marathon.