I began training for the half marathon back in May. I bought myself a Nike + and used it to track my mileage. I set up a training schedule based on Hal Higdon’s intermediate half marathon training plan. At first I was a little worried that it might be too demanding, but I knew that I needed to challenge myself. I adjusted the days to fit my schedule. So armed with my Nike +, a solid training schedule, a supportive husband and son I set out on a mission to accomplish a goal.
Prior to this I had run one 5K. I ran 1-3 times per week for exercise. I never enjoyed running before partly because I never believed that I could run. I have been “heavy” for as long as I can remember. My body is shaped like a pear. I carry all of my weight below the belt, so to speak. I have always been active and worked out intermittently for years. I started running a couple of years ago because with an infant and a full time job I needed a form of exercise that required little preparation and could be done anywhere. So enter running. I hated it at first and could not go very far. After about a year and a half of running I finally entered a 5K in November 2009. I ran alongside my very fit and fabulous sister. She pushed me a little bit but I definitely ran at a pace that felt good. We ran that race in the rain and cold, but I couldn’t have felt warmer with all the supporters along the way. I crossed the finish line and something changed inside of me. I wanted to race again. Now I knew that I could.
I ran at least 2 times a week outside throughout the winter. I loved running in the cold crisp air sometimes freshly fallen snow coated everything along the way. It was invigorating. I was anxiously awaiting spring. I wasn’t sure when I would race again, but I knew that I wanted to.
I am inspired by my cousin who began running about 4 years ago and has since competed in many races including marathons, halfs and 5Ks. She is now a coach for Team in Training in South Florida. She does it because she loves it and she exudes that enthusiasm whenever I see her. I am also inspired daily by a number of bloggers who write about not only their training and races but also the fun and creative recipes they make, and hints and tips to lead a healthier life. I feel healthier and make better choices as a result.
So in June 2010 I registered for the Hartford ING Half Marathon. I had already started training but I held off from registering because I wanted to make sure that I could commit to a proper training plan. I started craving the runs. I looked forward to spending quality time alone running at local reservoirs, bike trails or at nearby college campuses. We had a gorgeous summer here in Massachusetts, albeit a hot one.
As part of my training I also participated in a 5K in July and a 10K in August. It was great practice. I used the opportunities to really learn what works for me. The 5K in July was horrible. It was a brand new race and a bit unorganized. We were forced to wait an extra 20 minutes in the heat before the race began. I got too excited at the start and couldn’t catch my breath. It was about 95 degrees out and there were no water stations. I hadn’t yet considered how I would run longer distances and maintain proper hydration. Since I hate running with anything in my hands I purchased a camel back before the 10K. I also made sure to learn where the hydration stations would be during the next race.
The 10K was exciting. It was in a beautiful town. It was a big, established race with lots of supporters along the way. Mile 2 was all up an enormous hill or small mountain as I like to call it. Once I made it up the next mile or so was all down hill and the rest of the race went smoothly. I had a smile on my face the entire time. I saw my husband and son near the finish line. I grabbed my son’s hand and he ran over the finish line with me. I knew at that moment that I would indeed complete the half marathon two months later.
For my own peace of mind I needed to complete a 13 mile training run before the actual half marathon. It wasn’t called for in my training plan, but I added it in. For my long runs I increased my mileage one mile at a time each week until I reached 13 miles since I had ample time.
The training was such an integral part of the entire process of running the half marathon. I learned a lot about myself and my capabilities.