Friday, August 7, 2009

it's official

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!


PeaceLoveHappiness said...

This is the training schedule that I followed to for a half. I completed my first one in May! I, like you, wanted to enjoy running but it dit NOT come naturally. Anyhow, now I am addicted to it and even competed in a triathlon recently! I have 3 children and sticking to the training schedule is difficult, but you just have to make the time. Enjoy the entire experience!

Laurin said...

I'm only 2 weeks into the Hal Higdon schedule but I really like it. Have fun! You'll do great, just like anything else you put your mind're a go-getter, Angie, and I have no doubt that you'll excel in this endeavor too = ).

Angie said...

I'm leaning toward Hal myself. I've heard from several people, and it sounds like he's tried and true. Plus I think I like the 12 week program better than 10. You'll have to keep me updated on how it goes!

Anonymous said...

I have never left a comment before...been following your blog for some time...and love it! I have 4 children and decided to take up running...never ran in my life! I have now lost 33 lbs. and am running a 5 person relay in teh Akron Road Runner Marathon in Ohio. leg is only 3.5 miles...nothing like what you are doing...but commitment is what it takes! Saying it out lots of people....also helps! Good luck to you! Your family is beautiful and I look forward to watching your progress!


Lee said...

O, how exciting! I love Hal and highly recommend him. I ran my first half in December 04 (St. Jude) but really most of that year I was only doing 3 miles at a time. Hal's novice program is a nice slow progression to 13 and I think even though it challenged me, it didn't overwork me and cause an injury.

I listen to my body and I'm a "no-risk" runner. I push myself, but I try to be conservative in responding to aches and pains so that I don't have to get sidelined. I'm using Hal's novice marathon program even now in order to train for the Chicago marathon. This will be my 3rd time to do chicago, but I still prefer the novice program. I run 4x a week, swim a 1/2 mile once per week, and strength train once per week. I think cross-training---even once a week---is wonderful complement to running and a great way to avoid injury. Can't wait to hear how the training goes. Maybe you can do the Chick-fil-A 5k on Labor Day as a kick off to the training. That's what I usually would do when I was training for the half.

I really enjoy running for the aftermath of it all. It's usually just effort and intensity during the run, with spurts of zeal. But afterwards is ALWAYS enjoyment. Run for the thrill of the aftermath, not necessarily with an expectation of a fun run. But that's just my amateur advice =)

Shannon said...

Yea! You will do great! I am due in November and that is my goal to achieve by next December. And I have WAY farther to go than you!

Kim said...

I vote Hal's novice too. It is easy to follow. Didn't necessarily do the cross training and I did ok. Good choice on the St. Jude for your first half. It is fun and inspiring. can help you create runs in your neighborhood so you know how far you are going. Good luck!

Allison said...

Good luck:) I am going to try to do a half marathon in November. The most I have ever run is 8 miles, but it has been awhile.

I am not doing a certain training program. I probably should. I usually run 4 to 5 miles 2 to 3 times a week and then one long run on Saturday. So, I am going to try to do that and just increase my miles until I get to 11 or 12.

What an awesome half marathon to participate in! I have a love/hate relationship with running:) Hate it while I am doing it, but love the feeling after I finish...hehe:)

Macy said...

Go for it Angie! You'll do great! If it makes you feel any better, I never followed any training schedule. Just have fun!

Cathy said...

You go, girl! I'm excited for you!

Emily said...

I trained for a 1/2 marathon to help knock off the baby weight this past year. My dad's been a marathoner several times and recommended this book to me:

Radar's Mom said...

Watch out Angie... when I did my first half marathon (eons ago), it convinced me that I could do anything and I signed up for an Ironman! But as I said, that was eons ago and now I'm back at square one, just trying to motivate myself to do any exercise.

The only advice I can dig up from my memory of training was that I always trained first thing in the morning, because if I let it go until afternoon, I would always find some excuse not to do it.

Good luck - you'll do great!

Anonymous said...

Just thought I would throw in my two cents about running. I ran my first marathon in 1999. I ran regularly about 4-6 miles a day. I did not do many long runs. Prior to the marathon, I had only done two 12 mile runs, with one probably being three weeks before the marathon. Other than that, it was usually six mile runs about 5-7 days a week. I was so enthusiastic, motivated, and determined that running the marathon was not that bad. It was definitely hard around mile 22, but I just pushed through it. I ended up finishing the marathon in 3 hours 57 minutes. Not bad for the little long distance training I did. I think a lot of long runs can tire you out before the race and can be too exhausting and unmotivating. If you can run 3/4 of the race, then on the day of the race, you can surely do the full amount. You just have to have a determined attitude. Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

I've started training for a full marathon for next April in Louisville! I feel your apprehension in my bones as well. It's a scary but exciting journey to conquer this feat! I'll be praying for you as you start you training!!!

Lauren Watson

Just Me said...

Wow, that is AWESOME! I have (VERY, VERY slowly) done a couple 10Ks, but am going to have to miss this year's race. I think I need to get a running partner and then maybe I can do a quicker 10K (not sure I'd be able to do a half-marathon, but maybe with the right "partner"). Good luck and have fun! The kids you are running for will surely inspire you keep on going :o)


Adam & Amy Wilson said...

Wish I was there to do it with you... but already you are WAY ahead of me-- especially since you are actually running at all. :) Have fun!

CindySioux said...

Good for you! You can do it! I did my first half last fall in Columbus Ohio for my 40th birthday, and then did another in the spring. I think I will keep that schedule-one in fall, one in spring just to keep me running. I highly recommend the book "Running for Mortals " by John Bingham. It talks about running for the average person (not elite, not totally unhealthy) I used a Nike plus training program and trained only 3 days a week for 12 weeks and felt good for both half marathons I did. You can do it. And now you have to since you put it in writing!!! Love your blog.

Katie said...

I am so impressed!! I started running this summer in an attempt to get back in shape and have been amazed at the progress in six weeks! I'm starting to actually enjoy it. Previously, the fact that I was paying big bucks to run with a trainer at the gym was my only motivation. Good luck! Keep us posted.

Jennifer Burgett said...

You can do it!!!

I ran my first half last October and used the Hal Higdon half marathon training plan as well.

I was supposed to run St. Jude last December but my group backed out of me and canceled the reservations and I couldn't find a hotel. I have the t-shirt though! :) I don't think I will be in shape this year to run it (my baby girl is due October 5th). I will run it at some point though and hope to be able to meet you when I do!

Cary and Amanda said...

Hey Angie,

First of all, I wanted to say that I have been following your blog for a little while, and long story short, I have been blessed and pushed further towards Christ by your life and your words. Keep writing.

Okay, half marathons. I did one two years ago. You can SO do this.

1. Listen to your body. If something hurts, slow down. I actually injured myself a little during my training and had to take two weeks or so off to let it heal. I was so worried that skipping some training would set me back too far to actually run the race, but it was fine, and I did fine during the race. Just know that if your body is tired, let it rest and pick back up when it is reasonable to do so.

2. It's mental. I'm telling you right now - if you can run 6 miles, you can run 9, and if you can run 9, you can run 13. After about mile 6, I found that my body was almost self propelled - it just got into a rhythm and "two more miles" was not that tough. Your breathing levels out and you can just go. It like your body figures out that you aren't stopping anytime soon, and decides to chill out. That isn't really advice, just something to look forward to. It is mental though. I endeavored to memorize a book of the bible to quote in my head during my race to keep my mind off of the miles in front of me. I didn't succeed in that, but I see that you are memorizing scripture with your little girl, so that might be something that could help. After all, Paul does use a race as a picture of the life of a Christian.

3. Try not to walk - only slow down your pace. Even jog in place if you need to. If you walk, the chances of you running again are slim. If you do have to walk, give yourself a time limit. I would usually give myself one minute, and I was strict about it.

4. Food really does matter. Pizza and burgers were my enemy. I could always tell a difference in my endurance when I didn't get good nutrition. And water is like magic. Drink it ALL the time.

5. Stretch too much. Before and after. It helps so much.

Well, this is long. Honestly, I think anyone that has given birth/labored can do long distance running. It hurts, you know you have a long way to go to reach your goal, and you have to push yourself.

I can't wait to hear how you do!

-Amanda Penrose

Anonymous said...


First, YAY for you and training!! I'm a friend of Mardecia's and have been following you here since before Poppy was born. I'm also and adoptive parent, and I just love to read what you write.

So... would you join our marathon team???
We have a GREAT time! Check it out! We would absolutely LOVE to have you!

Allison Fuller

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