I've been toying with an idea for the past few months, trying to think through everything involved and decide if I'm really ready for it. The zeal has definitely been there, but since zeal isn't necessarily enough by itself on this particular venture, I've been proceeding with caution. I've been doing the ground work, ordering the equipment, reading up on the basics, and forming a plan of attack. It is definitely not something I am undertaking lightly, but it is something that I think I'm officially ready to commit to. So here goes commitment!
I am going to run the St. Jude half-marathon in early December!!!!!
Part of me, and a kind of a big part of me at that, still doesn't know if it's possible for me to run 13.1 miles. It seems completely CRAZY in fact. But I've been reading my Runner's World magazine like there's no tomorrow, and it seems from everything I've looked at that I will be able to get myself into half-marathon shape if I am willing to commit and go for it.
I've written several times in the past about running, and if you remember any of those posts, you'll understand why this isn't exactly a cake walk for me. I wouldn't call myself the natural born runner, or even the person with a natural proclivity for running. Rather, I am that person who is striving to enjoy running, even though it is something that doesn't come naturally at all.
I'll give you the bullet point version of how I arrived at this decision. Back in May I went for my yearly examine and my doctor told me I needed to be exercising several times a week. Nothing earth shattering in that little memo, but hearing the words out loud made me realize it was something I had definitely let slide. In fact, since we adopted Adrienne I had run only a handful of times (and in case you aren't doing the math, that had been a year!). So the first week of June I started running, but I couldn't even make it a mile without having to walk. I did a run/walk thing for most of June until I could finish two miles—huffing and puffing—but all running. I kept chugging away through July, aiming to increase my number of minutes I could sustain a running pace, until I finally got to my target goal of 35 minutes.
This is where the strategy comes into play. All my reading has told me that I need to choose a training schedule and stick to it, and even though I haven't 100% nailed down the one I'm going to follow (suggestions welcome!), I have noticed a trend. All of the plans say that I need to be at a basic level of fitness where running 3-4 miles is no problem. Most of the training schedules are between 10-12 weeks, which means that official training would begin in September, so I've known since June that if I really wanted to do this, I needed to be up to my 3 or 4 miles by the end of August. That's why this morning when I ran three miles and wasn't winded, I decided I was ready to commit all the way.
Yes, there is still a loooooooooooooooooong way to go from now until December. In fact, 3 miles seems down right puny in comparison with the 13.1 it's going to take to cross that finish line. But when I look back and see where I've come in the past two months, it gives me enough encouragement to think that just maybe I can really do this.
That, plus the fact that I just got new running shoes. Oh, the motivation that comes packaged up with a shiny new pair of sneakers!
I'll let you know how the training goes from now until December, at which point if I make it across the finish line, I will promise to put a picture of me crossing it, no matter how near-death I look. I am setting my sights ahead and looking forward to that moment!