A Learning Experience

In less than 24 hours, I will (theoretically) be a half marathoner.

“Theoretically” because someone’s biological clock COULD NOT have worse timing, and right now I’ll be happy if I can drag myself off my futon to get to packet pick-up, never mind run 13.1 miles tomorrow. I don’t know why my body thought this month of all months would be an opportune time to give me a preview of labor, but I am not pleased. We’re talking off the charts awful here, people. Literally never been worse. I’ve been down for the count since WEDNESDAY. wtf. Someone get this girl an IV of ibuprofen, stat.

I swear, if my hormones keep me from running tomorrow, I’m getting sex change surgery.

But anyway…

Training this week was weird on just about every level. I ran on Tuesday and Thursday instead of Monday and Wednesday, I cross trained on Wednesday, I didn’t have volleyball, and for the first time since I moved to Chicago, I did not spend my Saturday morning running. What is this madness?!

My runs this week were meh. On Tuesday it was h.u.m.i.d., but I managed a normal-for-me 10:33 pace regardless. Though the weather was much better on Thursday, my legs just were not having it. My Garmin and my lady bits are apparently in cahoots, because neither one wants to cooperate lately, so I have no idea what kind of pace I ran on Thursday other than “slow.” I didn’t exactly enjoy having a crappy run as my last pre-race run, but what can ya do? I spent a good amount of my childhood in various performing arts activities where everyone knows that a bad dress rehearsal leads to a good performance, so we’ll just apply that principle to running as well.

I also accidentally discovered a huge mud puddle on Thursday.


In an unexpected positive twist of fate, it appears that the weather tomorrow is going to be bomb for racing. That’s wonderful news! If this morning is any indication, the start line is going to be chilly. I have an emotional attachment to most of my t-shirts, so instead of running this morning, I waddled to Salvation Army and picked up a throwaway fleece for tomorrow.

You wouldn’t believe the amount of time I spent looking through the long sleeved items at Salvation Army trying to find the perfect shirt/jacket for tomorrow. It’d be one thing if I planned on keeping it, but I have every intention of taking this jacket off right before I begin to run and never seeing it again (hence, “throwaway fleece”).

Now. Let’s talk goals.

Honestly, my only goal for tomorrow is to finish (or rather, to start and finish, body. Get your act together). If that means walking or stopping to stretch out my hips, so be it. If I cross the finish line, I’ll PR (ah, the joys of running a race for the first time!). I’ve been telling people I expect to finish between 2:30 and 2:45. Ideally, I’d like to run an 11:00 pace, which would actually have me finishing faster than that, but given my long runs thus far, I think 11:00 might be a little ambitious. I plan to seed myself in the general 10:30/11:00ish area and we’ll see how things go from there. From my 10K experiences, I know it’s smarter to seed myself slightly faster than my long runs, because that will help me push myself within reason and not be totally complacent. Like I said, though, this race is not in any way about time for me. It’s 100% about finishing, ideally without getting kicked off the course (which, p.s., what kind of crazy fool thought a 13:00 pace was a good cut off? That’s fast, y’all. I know it’s Sunday, we’re shutting down Lake Shore, tra la la, but come on. So many other long races have a 16:00 cut off, and I’d feel a lot more comfortable if this one did, too).

Training for this race has been, without question, a major learning experience for me. I’ve got to be honest: I’d say 75% of the time, I hated training for this race. I didn’t not like it. I wasn’t slightly annoyed by it. I downright hated it. I hated running in five bazillion degree weather. I hated running in sauna-esque humidity. I hated feeling slow. I hated that all these things brought me down mentally and turned me into a super Negative Nancy. I hated that this training, honestly, kind of made me hate running.

Clearly, a lot of things contributed to my craptastic attitude. The weather did not do me any favors, attempting to adjust to a new city was much harder than I expected, and, if I’m being real, I have not had an easy time accepting that this whole 9-5, Miss Independent, real world life is what I’m stuck with from now until my dying day. Chicago is cool and all, but I’ve spent a lot of time over the past three months wanting to push rewind on life until I got to about this time last year, and then pausing it and living there forever. I don’t like being a big kid, and since running is the main time I have to ponder all sorts of existential questions, my discontent at my life situation in general had a tendency to make itself most known during my runs, which in turn translated to me associating, “I hate where I am in life” to running.

I don’t want to say that I’ll never run a half marathon again, mostly because I know if I say that I’ll probably end up running one again and this will come back to haunt me. I will say, though, that at this point in my running career, I am a much bigger fan of 5Ks and 10Ks. If I ever do run another half marathon, however, I will go on record saying that race will be in the spring or late fall. Heaven help me if I ever make a conscious decision to train through the entire summer for another half marathon. Running in the summer sucks.

So there’s that. If you’re at the race tomorrow, feel free to cheer for me (because Lord knows I’ll need all the encouragement I can get) or find me post-race. I’ll be the one crying tears of joy that I’m still alive 😉

If you run, what’s your favorite distance for a race?

5 thoughts on “A Learning Experience

  1. My first THREE half marathons didn’t go the way I wanted. For some reason, though, I wanted to run a good one. So, I kept signing up. And now I think it’s one of my favorite distances. Although, 10 milers are pretty awesome, too.

    You will be fine tomorrow! Whatever happens you will cross the finish line. I promise 🙂

  2. Now, now. Sounds like you are slightly PMSing here : ) You will be great tomorrow. The atmosphere of half marathons is wonderful! Just rest, regroup, and think about how strong you are and how much you have already accomplished. Completing the training for a half-marathon is something to be proud of!!! And you have already succeeded at that!

  3. So I read this yesterday and bookmarked it so I could wish you good luck before your race but I never got on my computer last night. Boo. But I hope your race went well and that adrenaline carried you through and you feel amazing now!!

  4. Pingback: 13.1 | accidental intentions

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