Thoughts on running and training for my 1st 1/2 marathon....
This morning proved to be awesome - I completed my 1st long trail run. It's a big accomplishment for me simply because at one point I could not even run 1 mile. After the birth of my 3rd child I started running and over time I could run longer and faster distances. It never fails that just as I am getting better, I find out I'm pregnant. I keep up with running as long as my pregnant body allows, but my body does not appreciate it - everything seems to ache, always - when I'm pregnant. Running makes this worse. And I always have to run near places with bathrooms, which is a whole other problem. Then, the baby arrives and everything is turned upside down around the house for a few months and running is not at the top of my to-do list. My baby is almost 7 months old and I have a decent handle on things around here so it's back to the running. The past few weeks I have been feeling pretty good about my running and I started to think about completing my 1st 1/2 marathon.
I had been thinking about it for some time, but I was scared. I have run a few 5ks and have done well in them, but long distances scare me. I have never run anything longer than 10 miles and I am not a fast runner. Anyway, I found out that a few moms from my children's school would be running a local and very popular 1/2 marathon on March 22. I know most of them and they very kindly have included me in their training for race day. This morning they had scheduled a 9 mile run, mostly on the trail that we will run that day. I have to be honest, while I have run that distance before, the thought of keeping up with others, perhaps the fear of being judged as a slow runner, and running a completely new course all freaked me out a bit.
Well, I ran it...it was hard...and I will do it again next week. Funny thing - I kept thinking that a rattle snake was going to cross my path or that a mountain lion was going to leap out at me from behind the brush. I took this picture when we reached the top of a steep hill...nice, huh?
I was reminded about 2 things on my run:
1. Comradery is awesome. On today's run, right around mile 5, I felt exhausted. The newness of running a long distance (for me) on a hard trail was beginning to take a toll. My feet hurt and I doubted I could run any longer. Then, I started to focus on my friend running in front of me. I just followed where her feet landed and kept ker pace. Later, when I couldn't run up the steep hill, another person in my group waited for me. I saw 3 other groups of women running the trail. The sense of "we are doing this together" was really nice.
2. Usually the best rewards require a lot of work, and it can be painful - physically and mentally. Yes, those of us who have been in labor can totally relate, right? I am not suggesting that we should all push our bodies to the point of exhaustion but the health goals that we set for ourselves often mean doing things we don't want to really do. Sometimes they hurt and that's ok.
I'm not training for a great finishing time, just for the ability to persevere and make it across that finish line with some friendly running partners. Looking forward to March 22nd race day!