I am (allegedly) running a half-marathon in a week and a half. My training has been a wee bit underwhelming and haphazard. I aimed to run 1000 miles this year, and I know that won’t be happening. But I don’t even know how badly I’m off, because I’ve stopped logging my miles.
Unlike a full marathon, a half-marathon is a fairly forgiving distance for a regular runner. I figure I need to do at least one 10-mile training run before a half, and that’s doable in under 2 hours. In other words, you can fit it into your normal life, whereas a 20-mile training run is much harder to fit. Not only for the time, but because most people are kind of, you know, tired afterwards. Ten miles is far more doable.
So this should seem manageable. Yet I kept coming up short. First, I got sick in early October with a rather nasty bug that didn’t even let me keep water down. Needless to say, this put a crimp in my running.
Then, once I recovered, I had a stellar week of running 3 miles every day. I biked 15 miles on the Saturday, did a 7.5-mile run with a friend on Sunday and then immediately after ran 1.5 on my own to get me to 9. Then I promptly injured myself (neck and shoulder — not obviously running related). I could barely turn my head. So I couldn’t run for a week.
Then, last week, I got home from the PA Conference for Women at 3:15 on Friday. I got my running gear on, and went to grab my GPS watch, only to find it wasn’t charged. I set out anyway, but miscalculated without a watch, and only did 95 minutes — which comes out to about 8.5-9 miles. The problem is that that was a long enough run that I couldn’t do another long run over the weekend, but 2 weeks out from a half is about as close as you should do for your longest run.
So, what to do? I traveled to Indiana on Monday and Tuesday, and unlike Martha Stewart, I didn’t feel like exercising in the hotel gym (though that would have been fun to run next to her!) I looked at my calendar and realized today was it. It was the only open slot I had, and the weather looked more promising than later this week.
So after working for two hours this morning, I took off at 10:10, watch in tow this time. It was a beautiful day — blue sky, 60 degrees, gorgeous leaves — and it was one of those magical runs where you feel like you can go forever. I pulled into my driveway at noon. A 110-minute run definitely gives me 10 miles. And I didn’t feel tired at all. I’ve gone up and down the stairs multiple times with no ill effects, and indeed, played the stroller roller coaster game in the driveway a few times, where I push a kid up in the stroller, then we race down the driveway yelling “whee!”
So I’m feeling pretty good about the half-marathon now, except that part of me looks at a run like today’s and realizes that I’m not pushing myself nearly as hard as I could. If I put more time into training, I could not only run 10 miles easily, I could run it fast. Maybe I could someday get to my dream of doing a sub-2-hour half. But I also realize that it’s not a priority right now in the way that putting extra time into books and playing Star Wars Lego planes with the kids right now is. I can just be happy that I carved out 1 hour and 50 minutes today for a perfect run. Hopefully that will lead to 2 hours and 20 minutes of perfect running in 10 days.
Photo of runners from the Seattle Rock n Roll marathon — the last half I did in June