Just under a year ago, I ran my first half marathon. I went into the training thinking that I would be “one and done”, that I would prove to myself that I could actually run 13.1 miles, me, the girl who played goalie on the varsity field hockey team because I couldn’t run one lap around the practice field (and forget that 3 mile loop).
Then I ran another to “celebrate” turning 40.
After 4 half marathons in one year, I have developed a love/hate relationship with the event. I hate the training. I mean, I hate the training. My husband is ridiculously patient and supportive of my carefully constructed Friday night meal plans, designed for Saturday morning long runs that won’t result in GI distress (I have figured out the secret, but woe is the 10-14 mile run if I break the rules), and my 2+ hour early morning runs that often wreak havoc with the entire day, depending on the run. My training impacts my entire family.
Also, I do not enjoy running for 2-3 hours. There is no joy there.
But I love the races. I do. I love the excitement, the camaraderie in the running community, the sense of accomplishment, the kickass empowerment high I get from not only successfully finishing a race, but knowing I put in the time and effort to get there. I love the medals.
For the first time in my entire life, I don’t hate my body. Running gave me that. Not the 12 years of competitive swimming, but running, which I have always said I could not do, and hated.
And I do still sort of hate it. But I love it also. It’s complicated.
What is not complicated is my current hiatus. I need a break from the 13.1. I will be honest and say I’m nervous taking time off from the very long runs, worried that I’ll lose this level of fitness I have (literally) shed blood, sweat and tears over, but I need a break. My body needs a break. My mind needs a break.
I plan to continue Saturday morning “long” runs of 6-7 miles until I train for another half, just to maintain some semblance of distance running shape, but for the next several months, I’m only doing 5 and 10ks. I really want to break a 30min in the 5k (I’m so. damn. close. at 30 minutes … SIX seconds), and just see what I can do in the 10k distance, since I’ve only run one. I have 2 races on the books for May: the Head for the Cure 5k on May 9th (with my friend Tyra Damm, who raises funds in memory of her husband, Steve), and the Disco 10k on May 31st.
Then there are the “up in the air” races that I’m contemplating, but can’t commit to, due to scheduling as well as financial concerns (races aren’t cheap, not to mention hotels, boarding the mastiff, gas, etc).
The Austin 5 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.
The San Antonio Rock n Roll Half Marathon on Dec 6th.
The Chevron Houston Half Marathon on Jan 17th.
There are some other races I’d consider (the Austin 3M half, the New Orleans Rock n Roll half) but I really try not to choose races on weekends that I have my kids (especially since next year is not “my” year, meaning I don’t have them for Thanksgiving or spring break).
Suggestions for fall 5ks or 10ks? Or more December-April 13.1s to start thinking about?