My Half-Marathon

A Distant Goal

One of my short-term goals is to run a half-marathon (and someday a full marathon), probably at the Austin Marathon in 2015. My sketchy plan was to build up my miles in preparation for that race, maybe running 3-5 miles Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, a rest day Saturday. On Sunday I’d do a long run of about 10 miles followed by a rest day on Monday. I felt this would be a nice, do-able routine.

But, when I injured my knee in October, I had to suspend my running for a few weeks to let it heal up. So, the routine got messed up. In November I slowly started running again and finally got back up to running my normal distance of about 5 miles, but taking at least one rest day between runs.

Weekend Run

Sunday morning, I began my normal run around the neighborhood.

It started out on a good note with the weather just about perfect. There were plenty of clouds to block the sun and keep the sky beautiful, a nice breeze, and mild temperatures. About a mile into the run I saw a turtle sunning itself in the middle of the boulevard, so I picked it up and put him by the nearby pond (where I assumed he came from). That immediately put me into an even better mood and I continued the run with a smile on my face.

Can I Run All the Way?

At this point the thought of running 13.1 miles crept into my head.  “Can I run all the way? Does it matter that my half-marathon is not at an official event?” These questions were floating around in my head while I started to calculate how many laps around my usual route I would need to make. I figured I would aim for three laps, but I had my phone with me telling me how long and far I have run every 10 minutes. I didn’t have to worry about getting the course perfect. With that in mind, I just kept running.

Lap 2 was uneventful but towards the end my legs started getting fatigued. I also started thinking that I didn’t really fuel up before the run since I didn’t think I would go for long. In fact, my breakfast consisted of two cups of coffee, a single glass of water, and about five macadamia nuts – not the best pre-race meal!

What’s Important about 13.1

I was also pondering why running a half-marathon was important to me, or rather, why it was a goal of mine. I guess it’s all about completing the distance, and not actually competing in an official event. I’ve run 5k and 10k races before and although they took place at nice locations and were fun, they don’t seem to have the appeal to me that they do to other people. I guess I am kind of a solo runner (and motorcyclist too). I really look forward to running alone. So the answer to my second question above – “Does it matter that my half-marathon is not an official event” – was “No”. I’m doing the distance, albeit at a slow pace. But 13.1 is 13.1, isn’t it?

Back to the run. Halfway through lap 3 (at around the 10 mile mark) I started to get really thirsty. My mouth was getting dry and my lips felt chapped. I also started to feel a little bit of pain in my right calf muscle, as if it were cramping up a bit. I was so close to my goal! Of course I didn’t want to risk my health or suffer dehydration, but I could taste the “finish line”. After a quick check of the rest of my body’s condition, I came to the conclusion that I could go on. I was pretty much in the home-stretch, heading back towards the house.

Success!

Continuing to watch my body condition closely, I kept chugging along and before long, I had passed the 13.1 mile mark! It kind of felt like when I passed the 1,000 mile mark on my Saddlesore 1,000 motorcycle ride. I knew I had achieved my goal, and any extra distance I ran was just the icing on the cake!

When I reached home, the total distance was 13.9 miles and it took me about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Now that I have completed my goal, I am looking forward to upping the distance and have learned a few things. Most important is that I need to fuel up properly, and even maybe plan a water stop at my house. Also, I learned that I need to allot about 50+ minutes per “lap” and I should be good!

I’m so happy to be running again!

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