What I learned from my first Half

If you’ve been following along here, or any of my freakish status updates on Facebook, you may know that I completed my first ever Half-Marathon this past Saturday, October 29, 2011. It was the Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon, and believe it or not, it was a lot of fun. I bought a discounted red shirt from Sport Authority, found some left over black fabric from an old quilt project, some iron-on Heat-N-Bond, pulled out some black tool from old costume, and some pipe cleaners….and about an hour later voilå! Lady Bug.

When I signed up for this back in July, I knew I would have a lot of work to do. We had just moved back from North Carolina to South Florida, and I had become a smoking, drinking, couch potato. Eastern North Carolina hasn’t met a food they won’t deep fry. In the past 5 months of early morning, dark, soggy runs, I have learned a few things about this process – and probably myself. Here are a few of them.

  1. Apparently, I can do anything. In my life, I have completed several endurance laden tasks. Most notably, I have survived pregnancy and given birth – twice, and I have completed a Ph.D. program —  on time. I’m no stranger to endurance tasks or delayed gratification. By comparison, this one was actually the shortest to train for – but it was the scariest. I’ve been the fat kid in gym class my whole life. My high school varsity sports included Marching Band and Badminton. Really. I couldn’t make that up. I think I have the right to be little impressed with myself for now.
  2. My thinking has been forever altered. I had two simultaneous thoughts at Mile 5: Hey, that was easy; and I still have to run up to the Fountainbleu and back? I must be nuts. There were a few other weird thoughts I had, like I wonder what I’ll dress for next year, and what race should I sign up for next?
  3. A good friend will cheer you on, your best friend will bring you a beer at mile 10.  — even before 9 a.m. — on a Saturday. This may not sound like much, but I’m pretty sure that I didnt’ get out of bed willingly before 10 a.m. on the weekends for about 6 years of my 20’s. So even though I teased my BFF about the fact that I would be running within just a few miles of his place I wasn’t really sure he would be there. But he was, and that was the best, the coldest Presidente I have ever had in my life. HELLAgoodTIME!!
  4. It takes a lot of time, and you can’t do it alone. Sure, it was only training for a half marathon. The training runs took 2 hours at the most – not those crazy 18 mile warm-ups before work that full marathoners do. Most days it was just about an hour while everyone was sleeping, before breakfast. But if it wasn’t for the help of my husband, Dave, getting the kids dressed every morning while Mommy was running, or watching them on Saturday while I took a nap after a 9 mile run, it couldn’t have happened. And having them at the finish line to cheer me on was Priceless. Thanks, hon.
  5. Seriously, if I can do it, anyone can do it. Really. If you have time to spend on Facebook, you have time to run. If you have time to watch mindless sitcoms, you have time to run. I started hoofing my way through a 2 mile walk back in July. Unless you are a single parent that drops your child off on your way to work and picks them up on the way home, without any family or friends living within a 25 mile radius of your house, you have time to run. Everything else is just an excuse. People ask me all the time how do you do all that? I just do it. I don’t think about how someone else would do it; I don’t spend time talking about doing it; seriously – Nike is on to something – just do it. It doesn’t matter if it is running, learning to play an instrument, writing a book, starting a business, or whatever it is that you want to do. Stop talking about it and do it.
I can’t wait until the next one, I’m considering signing up for another Half Marathon in February. I’m afraid that without a deadline, I will fall back into my couch potato ways. I didn’t – and don’t –  really give a shit about my time, just about finishing. It’s a lot of fun to run MY race, not anyone else’s.

2 thoughts on “What I learned from my first Half

  1. Great job!!! Funny, all the things you learned I learned as well…however, I DID go back to being the couch potato (gaining back 50+ lbs. – yikes), which I am now trying desperately to undo by training for the Georgia marathon in March. Maybe I can talk SmSS into giving me a beer at mile 13? Looking forward to hearing about your next race… ;}

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