Second time's the charm! I finally did it.

This post is a little different than my usual posts.  I usually just post peeks from my client sessions - which is really what this blog is all about. However……I am sort of tickled pink about this so I just had to veer from the norm and talk about something completely different.  Me.  Me and the fact that I actually completed a half marathon this weekend!

A little history…….

I have been a "runner" for about 25 years.  Not to date myself too much, but suffice it to say, I didn't run (or do much of anything other than work) when I was in high school.  But after I got out on my own, one of my roommates gave me a kick in the pants one beautiful spring afternoon as we were coming home from work in downtown Pittsburgh.  She said "today we are going to buy you running shoes so we can run together!".

"Uh…OK! (?)"

And that was it.  I started running.  And I hated it.  HA!  For almost an entire year, I did it, but it definitely took every ounce of motivation I had to lace up my shoes and get out there for a 2-3 mile "jog".

But after that first year, something finally clicked.  I finally got to that point where I felt a bit of the "runner's high" people talk about and I understood why people love to run.  I  was finally going out for a run and truly loving it.  I loved being outside in any weather.  I found I got a lot of thinking done during that time.  I also just felt so much better - I was in a better mood and it put my daily problems into perspective.

Except for the evening I went for a run right after my mom called me and told me my cat, who was 17 yo, was killed by a car.  Yeah, I thought the run would make me feel a bit better, but all it did was cause me to hyperventilate and then trip and end up with a face plant right on Fifth Avenue in the  bustling neighborhood of Shadyside.  But I digress…...

I continued to run, about 3 miles at a time, for years and years and years.  I would occasionally run a 5K.  I ran a couple 10ks.  But nothing more.  My only breaks in my running came when I was pregnant with my kiddos.  I took those 9 months off, took about a month or so after off, and then slowly got back into it again.

And then last spring I got this thought, during a particularly good run, that maybe I should attempt training for a 1/2 marathon.  I came home, did some research, found a great 20 week training plan for beginners HERE and then found that there  was a perfectly flat 1/2 marathon at Presque Isle in Erie that was pretty much exactly 20 weeks from that date.  It seemed like destiny!  HA!

So I started to train. And I signed up for my first half marathon in September and started following my training program as religiously as possible.

I found that every time I was faced was running a distance that I had never attempted before, I was terrified.  I mean, I had considered a 10K a very long run.  So to go out and run 8 miles on a Sunday morning?  Holy Cow!  And each time I was faced with running yet one more mile than I ever had run before, I was scared to death.

But I did it, getting up to 11 1/2 miles - pushing myself through runs during some of the hottest days of the year.

About 2 weeks prior to the race, I started tapering, no more long runs, just nice and easy 2-4 mile runs.  And then I had a great idea.  And I say "great" with a HUGE dose of sarcasm.  I thought I would put some new insoles in my shoes because the bottoms of my feet would get sore at the end of a long run.  And really, can that hurt?

Uh.  DUH!  Biggest rule of running a long race…..NEVER DO ANYTHING NEW BEFORE THE RACE!

And, much to my incredible dismay, I found myself faced with severe hip pain about 2 days prior to the race.  Yes, I was an idiot who tried out insoles days before a race and messed up my hip.

And I dropped out.  With more than a few tears.

Well, fast forward, it is December and I decided that I can't let all that work from earlier in the year go to waste.  So I started revving up my training again with the renewed goal of a half marathon.  This time at Cook's Forest at the end of March.

This time I was very lucky that my SIL wanted to run with me!  But instead of dealing with sweltering temps, we dealt with single digits, sleet, snow.  And even better - ICE.  Gotta love a long run on an icy road with 4 layers of clothing!  ARGH!!!!  But I also found that this second time around was so much easier in that I was undaunted by the distances since I had already "been there, done that".  Now I just had the actual race to accomplish.

But after many weeks, a few falters due to small injuries and a couple illnesses, we actually, we finally, did it.

I had absolutely no goal in regards to time.  My only goal was to finish and not finish feeling like I was on the verge of death.  And I did just that.

The weather was almost perfect - mid 40's with just a little downpour during my last mile (hence finishing the race looking like a drowned rat).  The course was beautiful, winding along the Clarion River.  I felt pretty good, although it was definitely tough around mile 11, but that is to be expected.

But to round the corner and see that finish line and see my family cheering me on literally brought tears to my eyes.  The sense of accomplishment was enormous.  I had never ever thought I could do something like this - others could, but not me.

And nothing beats running that last .1 mile with my two of my favorite munchkins!

Oil-City-Franklin-photographer_0008Now that the fear of the distance is behind me, I am so excited to gear up for another race.  I really do love this distance and, at this time, have no interest in working towards a full marathon.  Something about 4 hour training runs just seems a bit too overwhelming right now.

For now, I plan to do a lot more work on improving my time.  I  also need to find better socks that may prevent the blistering that I didn't expect!  And I am excited to start training again in a bit more favorable weather conditions.

I also want to say that my SIL finished right behind me at a 2.36.  She was a runner back in high school, but just started running again last year.  So the fact that she geared up and completed a half marathon in less than a year is nothing short of absolutely awesome!

Until next time!!!