Whew, has time flown by! Just eleven weeks ago, I signed up for the Boston Half-Marathon. It’s already been that long? I’m in utter shock that the Half-Marathon is nine days away. Less than a week! Eek! I know my anticipation about the half is way scarier than actually running it – or so I hope. In attempt to collect all my thoughts about running since training began, here is a list of things I’ve learned on the journey.
1. Running and training is not perfect.
I used Hal Higdon’s training plan to prepare. I made a lovely colored calendar with workouts posted in little boxes to check off. Did I do each one of them? No way. Did life get in the way of running sometimes? You bet. No, I didn’t do every single workout exactly as I had planned, and I knew that would happen. Sometimes the weather isn’t good for a run. Sometimes I was in pain or recovering. I went on vacation and that threw me off a bit. But I did the best that I could.
Furthermore, something is always not perfect. My shoes are too tight. My shoes are too loose. I’m hot. I’m cold. I’m thirsty. It starts to rain. Someone’s dog just cut me off. I tripped on a stick. I start to feel pain and have to stop. My iPod dies. You get it! But instead of focus on how all the conditions may not be perfect, I like to focus on that I am running at all – and that in itself is greater than all the imperfections that bother me.
2. Running better takes a while.
I thought that one day I would just magically love running and be really good at it. If that day is ever to come, it has not yet. Running does not ever really feel easier to me. I run better now. I have better form, I know different techniques, but “easy” is not something I ever think to describe my runs. Running longer distances takes a long time to work up to. When I started training, a 3 mile run was killer to me. Now, 5 mile runs are my “norm.” But that took 11 weeks to get to!
3. Stop comparing.
I’m a slow runner. It’s really easy for me to start comparing myself with other runners around me (if there are any), or just compare myself to “other runners” in general. I’ve really had to take a step back and tell myself that my personal best is the best. I can’t want someone else’s personal best because, well, I’m not them. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t want to compare myself to anyone else anymore. I’m just happy that I ran that day, however slow or fast it was. Basically, there will always be someone faster and slower than you. Where you are – if you’re giving it all you’ve got – is the best.
4. I can actually run at different times of the day.
I am very used to working out early in the morning. If it gets too late, I basically have had the attitude that it’s “too late to work out,” regardless of if I have the energy. However, some mornings if the weather isn’t great, I have to wait until mid morning or even the evening to get a run in. Adjusting the times when I run was not fun for me. I personally believe I have the most energy in the morning. But some of my evening runs have been really great too. Allowing for changes in my running habits has forced me to step outside of what I prefer, but I realize now that it is possible.
5. I like running!
Before training started, I was not a runner. I ran sometimes, but not regularly and I didn’t like it one bit. I never thought I could run 3 miles well. I never thought I could run 5 miles, but I do 5 mile runs often now. Sometimes I don’t always like running while I’m doing it, but when I’m done – I am so happy. I feel so accomplished and empowered. I totally get runners now. Running just gives me power. And when I run, I feel at peace with myself and powerful for going on a run at all. Overall, running makes me feel in control of myself regardless of what anyone says. Running is my little happy place that I didn’t have before!
9 days before the half-marathon. Yes, I am kind of scared. But I’m also pretty excited about it! I can’t wait to see what it’s really like! Wish me luck 🙂