A few months ago I signed up to run a half marathon. I ran one of these for the first time last year to show myself that I could manage to pick a goal, stick with it, and succeed at the race. I should say what I mean by succeed though. I’m not a fast runner. Success for me was hitting the correct mileage in a decent time rather than what would be considered by most runners to be a good time.
I had a lot motivating me last year not the least of which was that I had just turned thirty. This didn’t freak me out so much as remind me that I’d spent most of my twenties contemplating things like running a half or full marathon without ever, you know, getting up to actually go running. I was also at a point in my dissertation where long runs in blustery weather made for some good contemplation time while I started to figure out how all the various pieces I was working with would fit together. The exercise had the added benefit of being a way of working off stress and otherwise being all round a healthier, happier individual. In fact, I went from being a horrible insomniac to having a relatively mild case here and there. Frankly, that last one made the whole thing worth the time and effort.
All of this leads me to my real reason for writing: I can’t run worth squat right now. Prior to getting sick last month I was running a regular four miles at a decent clip. I wasn’t in shape, but should the zombie apocalypse have happened I would have had a decent chance at survival. Then I caught the flu and a throat infection. Or as I prefer to think of it, a plucky band of germ friends set up shop in my throat and hijinks ensued. It lasted so long and was so painful that I decided to liken it to the clichéd set up of a sitcom that everyone shakes their heads about and wonders how it can keep getting renewed every year while a show like Firefly got cancelled.
That’s right. Firefly. I went there.
Anyway, after the nagging death cough had finally dissipated I went out for a quick run thinking I’d bounce back easily enough so long as I took care not to over do it. This led to the following inner monologue while I tried to run just one mile: “Ok, I’m running. Good deal. Off we go. Gotta get some mileage. Already signed up for the race. Nothing to it. Phew, I’m feeling pretty beat up here. How far have I gone – oh, thirty feet. Crap. The zombies! The zombies are totally gonna eat my precious brains now!!!” And so on. After a few more runs I’m up to a decent two miles and some change. My biggest issue thus far has been the battle between my mental expectations and my feeble body’s inability to meet them. I want to be running five or six miles right now (as I was last year at this point). The stitch in my side says otherwise.
Since I’m starting practically from scratch (or at least it feels that way), I decided to start posting about my training and progress here as a means to get some motivation and as a way to record my training so I can look back on it next year (when I may try to do a full marathon). I still have enough time to train for the race and I don’t doubt I’ll complete it so long as I don’t get sick or injured. Completing it isn’t my main goal though. My big goal is to improve on last year’s performance. The time to beat is 2:19:03 at a pace of 10:37. Here goes.
(Also, just so you know, if you have a golf cart, I may be in touch. You may be my only hope.)