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Sometimes You Gotta Ditch the Plan

GASP!  You read correctly.  Slow Girl (the control freak, the planner to a fault, the one who should take a chill pill already), says, “Sometimes, you gotta ditch the plan.”  I never ditch the plan.  I make the plan, baby.  But a couple of weekends ago, I ditched the plan like one bad-ass plan ditcher.

You see, my half marathon is coming up this Sunday (as in three days from now) and I haven’t been following my training plan like a good obsessive planner would do.  It’s my second half marathon so it’s not like I haven’t run 13.1 miles before.  I’m sure I can do it even if  I’ve missed several mid-week runs, skipped a dozen or so cross-training workouts and missed just one long slow distance run.  Sure, it was the longest run of the training program that I missed but whatever…it was just 11 miles.  Besides, it’s not like I sat around on my butt that weekend and did nothing at all.  I did something just as challenging and strenuous as an 11 mile run.  I had a family dance off, yo!

A couple of weekends ago my youngest sister, Amy, graduated WITH HONORS from college.  Impressive, I know.  I flew to California and met up with my younger sister, Andrea, my mom, my step dad and my niece, Angela.  Since we live in different states, it’s a pretty special occasion when we are all under the same roof.  Throw in a college graduation and a good time is guaranteed!  Spending time with my family always brings me great joy and this trip did not disappoint!

On Saturday night, after all of the graduation festivities, Angela and Amy suggested we play a fun game called, “Just Dance 4.”  What?  You’ve heard of it before?  Well, apparently everyone in the universe has heard of it except for me.  It’s a Wii game and you follow the dance moves of the pretend dancer on the screen.  The better you follow the moves (using the remote thingy) the more points you get.  I’m not a dancer.  I have no rhythm, no groove, no grace, no nothing.  But when challenged to a dance off by my little sister and niece, I said, “Bring it on, you little whippersnappers.”  And so the evening began.  A snap shot of the night:

justdancedontpeepants Amy is on the left, she’s the one actually dancing.  I’m on the right, trying to not pee my pants from laughing so hard.  That was my second dance outfit of the evening.  Lesson:  Don’t ‘Just Dance’ after drinking a ton of water all day….jumping up and down does not mix well with hard-core laughter.

justdance I pulled myself together, put on my game face and danced to this fun song, “Call me Maybe.”  I lost but was given bonus points for best facial expressions.  Yay me.

justdancesister $h!t got real when the song, “Moves Like Jagger” came on.  A little dance off with Andrea was underway…I wanted to win SO bad.  I didn’t.

So you see…sometimes when you ditch the plan, there is a WAAAY better plan out there.  For me, it was dancing like a dork with my family all night long.  Did I deviate from my training plan and miss my 11 mile run?  Yep.   Did it really matter in the grand scheme of things?  Nope.  Was I sorry that my family made me laugh so hard  I peed my pants?  Not really.  Am I going to buy my own Just Dance game so I can secretly practice my moves for the next reunion/Dance Off?  Hell yeah!

As for my half marathon that’s coming up in three days…I’m feeling fine physically and great mentally/emotionally.  My head’s in a good place, I feel like I’m going to kill it.  I’ve completed a 10 mile run during my training so what’s a few more miles?  Honestly, I think spending time dancing with my family was more beneficial to my race preparation than running my scheduled 11 miles all alone.

To Sunday’s Half Marathon:  Ready or not, here I come!

Does emotional/mental preparation play a role in your training?  Do you freak if you deviate from your training plan?

Finnigan Strikes Again & Again

Finn, my whippet puppy, is doing it again.  He’s driving me mad, batty, coo-coo.  I’m supposed to be training for a half marathon but instead, I’m chasing after this goof ball:

slywhippet

He’s a 10 month old whippet, which I’m convinced is old enough to know better…right??  We (the humans) recently took a big leap of faith and started leaving Finn home alone, uncrated, when we left the house.  At first, we left him alone for 20 minutes or so and everything was fine when we returned.  Then we had to leave him for 45 minutes, then an hour, then 4 hours.  Yes, you’re right.  Four hours was a little risky on our part…especially knowing he gets bored so easily.

Here’s what tickles Finn’s fancy in the absence of human supervision:

grass Removing all of the dried moss from the potted plants and then leaving the moss on the kitchen floor.  What’s so fun about that?

mantle Finn knows that we keep all of our winter shoes in the basement closet.  He also knows that we are a forgetful bunch of humans and never close the closet door.  He finds great pleasure in carrying our shoes up to the living room where he chews and chews and chews on them.  When we get home and find all of our shoes (and boots, and hats, and slippers) around the house, we just throw everything on top of the mantle because we know if we put it away in the closet, we’ll forget to close the closet door and we’re back to square one.

mismatchedshoes Where the hell are my missing flip flops, Finn????  I can NOT continue walking around like this!

When I come across one of Finn’s messes, I think to myself, “When I find you, Finn, I’m gonna…” then I find this:

adorablewhippet …An adorable whippet who drives me crazy and melts my heart all at once.  I forget exactly what it was I was going to do to him and instead I pour a glass of wine, relax with my trouble maker and make a mental note to close the closet door.

We Should Use the Word “Super” More Often

I never hear anyone use the word “super.”  When I ask someone how they are doing, they never say, “I’m doing super!!”  No one ever says, “This froyo is super,” or, “I saw a super movie last night.”  I don’t know why…It’s a great word (even if it is a little on the dorky side).   It’s positive, fun to say, and you can make it sound better by adding “duper” at the end.  All I know is I’m going to start saying “super” more often and I’m starting now.

Supersource

I had a super duper 10 mile run yesterday!  Last week’s 9 mile run was bad and I whined about it in my last post.  I’m glad I whined about it because Kat from Travel. Garden. Eat reminded me that occasionally, a bad run is going to happen while training for a half marathon and she is right.  I did not want a repeat of my bad 9 mile run so I adjusted a few things to make sure my 10 mile run was…say it with me…super:

  • Hydration – 9 mile run:  I did not hydrate the days leading up to the run.  10 mile run:  I made sure to drink plenty of water all week long…which I should do anyway.
  • Food the night before – 9 mile run:  Pizza for dinner and a couple glasses of wine.  10 mile run:  Teriyaki chicken and rice and no tasty alcoholic beverages.  Just water.
  • Food the morning of – 9 mile run:  I tried out a new oatmeal.  It was a sample that we received in the mail…who knows how old it was or where it came from.  I think it had a bunch of sugary junk in it and it was a bad breakfast choice.  I knew better than to try something new the morning of a long run (yes, 9 miles is a long run for me).  10 mile run:  Toast with peanut butter and bananas plus a cup of coffee.  This is a breakfast I can count on.
  • Attitude – 9 mile run:  My attitude was fine until my hips and feet started to hurt.  At that point, my head just wasn’t in a good place, I didn’t feel great about the run and I was focused on the wrong things.  10 mile run:  I made sure any chatter going on in my head was positive.  I had some upbeat songs on my playlist, and when things started to hurt I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other.  I reminded myself that this is not rocket science…I am certainly capable of moving my body from Point A to Point B.
  • Post run thoughts – 9 mile run:  “This sucks.  How will I be able to continue for 4 more miles?  I’m sore.  Somebody call me a “wambulance.”  (Any Modern Family fans out there?)  10 mile run:  “This rocks!  I did great!  I feel great!  3 more miles will be a breeze!  I have enough energy to run to my car!”

There were some  big differences between my two runs and I now understand I cannot underestimate the importance of my food, water and attitude choices…especially as race day nears.  I have a feeling that May 19th is going to be a SUPER day!

The Good, the Bad & The Ugly

This picture of my dog, Theron, really sums up my feelings about these past several days…Tired, over it, sore, thankful, productive…all rolled into one.

whippetblahs 

The days have been filled with the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

First, The Good:

  • I ran a 10k race and ended up with my best time ever.   Truth be told, my best time isn’t that impressive but I was pretty darn excited about it.  It was a very chilly day at 35 degrees with brisk, annoying winds.  The best part of the day, besides finishing the run, was getting into my car and blasting the heater!

 post race warmup

  • More good news!  I figured out how to breathe!  Ok, I know how to breathe, but I have learned how to breathe while running.  I’m currently reading “Chi Running” by Danny Dreyer and he reviews some very important information about breathing.  He states, “In running, as in all other types of aerobic exercise, the breath holds the key role of providing oxygen to help fuel active muscles.  If you don’t get enough oxygen to your muscles, they will be starved of the key component needed for burning fuel.  The more efficiently your body can extract oxygen from the air and transfer it to your muscles, the easier your running will feel at any speed.”  I learned that belly breathing is key.  It’s more important to get all of the air OUT of your lungs than it is to get air INTO your lungs.  I found that breathing in sync with my steps works for me… three breaths out, two belly breaths in.   I have been practicing breathing during every run and my thoughts are occupied with the task of counting…1, 2, 3, 1, 2, repeat over and over and over.  It’s mesmerizing and relaxing in a weird way.   Here’s a link to Danny Dreyer’s blog that explains belly breathing (item B – but the whole post is very informative).
  • I’m still running with my running group.  We have been practicing drills, working on cadence, breathing techniques, hill training, speed work, and all that great stuff.  On Saturdays we run on a beautiful paved trail  along the river so it’s just a lovely way to spend the morning.  Longest run so far has been 9 miles…this Saturday will be 10.  The half marathon we are training for takes place May 19th which is right around the corner.  Yikes.

riverview Beautiful vistas!

Now for The Bad:

Last week’s 9 mile run felt horrible.  You know how at the end of the run you say to yourself, “That was AWESOME!  I’m so glad I did that!”  Yeah, I wasn’t saying that.   I was so sore I felt like I was falling apart with every step I took past mile 8.  By mile 9 I kept thinking, “Oh my gosh, I will have to run 4 more miles at the half marathon…crap.  I don’t know how I’m going to do this.”  Then I told myself to shut up and run because I was fortunate and blessed that my body was capable of running.  My thoughts turned to the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy and remembering that there are people out there who are feeling a greater physical and emotional pain than I will ever feel quickly shushed the negative banter and whining going on in my head.  

And finally, The Ugly:

I am a very, very, very organized person…or at least I like to think I am.  I disdain clutter and if my surroundings are cluttered, my head feels cluttered and if my head feels cluttered, I become a bit of a nut job.  However, if you made a surprise visit to my home you would probably not believe my claims because recently some of the rooms in my house were just plain messy and ugly.

Now I am going to show you a few photos, thanks for not judging.  If you are a true organization freak, you will curse me and call me a liar and say there’s no way someone who disdains clutter would let ANY room in her house get so messy.  Well, I did.  Take a look at the before and after pics of my closet and office:

Closet Collage       Office Collage

My closet got so out of hand, it seemed useless to even bother cleaning it.  It was so cluttered I did not want to go in there but all of my clean underwear and running clothes were in there.   Talk about a conundrum.   I also had the office situation to handle.  I stopped blogging for a bit because I could not stand to set foot in the office.  Both areas were horrendous.  After much sorting, tossing, cleaning and organizing, I was able to turn the closet and the office into happy places once again!

Now that the ugly in my house has been eliminated, my head is clearer.  Maybe with a clearer head I will be a better runner.  Or maybe being a better runner will give me a clearer head? 

Either way, some great lessons were learned: 

  • I’ve got to take the good with the bad with the ugly and figure out how to make it all great
  • Spend less time whining and more time being thankful
  • Relax and breathe!

Inspiring & Versatile

I am very flattered that two of my favorite bloggers nominated me for two separate blogging awards.  An embarrassingly long time ago, dailyspro nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  I was so flattered because I love reading dailyspro’s blog and always look forward to her new posts.  She is a lover of dogs (and all four-legged furry pets) and shares her heartwarming experiences that any pet owner would appreciate.  You really should check out her blog!

Awww shucks - thanks!

I was again honored and flattered when Miss Harper Lee, Golden Retriever Extraordinaire, nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  Miss Harper Lee writes a fun, witty, entertaining blog, http://thek9harperlee.wordpress.com/, and she always includes fabulous photographs of herself.  What a beauty!  Go see for yourself!

As with all blogging awards, there are some rules to follow.  Since the Very Inspiring Blogger Award and the Versatile Blogger Award have the same rules, I decided to post them once:

1.) Display the award logos on your blog.  Check. Check.
2.) Link back to the person who nominated you. Check.  Check.
3.) State 7 things about yourself.  Check.
4.) Nominate 15 bloggers for this award.  Check, but I cheated on this.
5.) Notify those bloggers of the nomination by linking to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by ping back.  Check.  Check.

7 Things About Myself

  1. I am not a fan of handshaking.  Whenever I shake someone’s hand, all I can think about is getting to the nearest sink and washing my hands.  I just obsess over the germ factor.
  2. I hate clutter.  I can’t stand it when a room or work space is cluttered.  In fact, I did not set foot into our home office for over a month because it was so cluttered.
  3. I will not set foot into a dark room.  It freaks me out.
  4. I love laughing.  I like it when I laugh so hard I cry, but I don’t like it when I laugh so hard I pee my pants. 
  5. I like cream cheese SO much, I spread it on bread to make a cream cheese sandwich.  Yum.
  6. I’m a terrible cook.  There are certain things I can make, but only if I follow the recipe PRECISELY.  If a picture is not included in the recipe, I’m doomed (or at least my dish is doomed).
  7. Most of my cursing takes place in the kitchen (see number 6)

Nominate 15 bloggers for this award

I cheated on this a little.  I’m not sure if I’ll get kicked out of the blogosphere or what, but I only nominated 6 for each award which equals 12 bloggers which is really close to 15!

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger Award

These blogs are fantastic so be sure to check them out!!

Thank you again dailyspro and thek9harperlee for your nominations!

The Easter Bunny is Real…Right??

One of my most dreaded ‘parent-child’ conversations ended up being one of my favorites.  It was the, “Is Santa for real?” conversation.  Ugh.  Our parental strategy was to avoid the topic until our son brought it up.  We wanted him to believe in the magic of Christmas forever but realistically, that would have been stupid.

One day, out of the blue, my then 8 or 9 year old (that’s how memorable it was…I can’t even remember his age), asks, “Mom, is Santa Claus for real?  Tell me the truth.”  Well, ok.  Since he asked for the truth, my grand plan to lie to him was foiled.  So the conversation went a little something like this:

Me:  “You want the truth?  Are you sure you want the whole truth?”

Son:  “Yes.”

Me:  “Once I tell you the truth, we can’t go back.  You really want the truth?  You can’t handle the truth.”  OK, I really didn’t say that last line.  But I cracked myself up typing it.

Son:  “Just tell me mom.”

It was a bittersweet moment for me.  He was growing up right in front of my eyes and it sucked.  I explained to him that Santa does not visit every child’s house on Christmas Eve, that he does not have elves or reindeer or a workshop or a home at the North Pole, in fact, the whole Santa Tracker thing is a scam.   I told him we bought the presents, we wrapped them up, we ate the cookies and we tossed the gross, room temperature milk he left out for Santa.  I confessed that we chewed up carrots and spit them out on the lawn…not Santa’s reindeer.  We made the footprints in the snow, not Santa.  We wrote the ‘thank you for the cookies’ letter from Santa in that fancy, ‘looks nothing like mom’s’ handwriting.   Then I got pretty philosophical on him about Christmas.  We talked about being thankful (I know, I know, that’s Thanksgiving), we talked about the story of Jesus, we talked about being with family, giving to others, and again, being thankful (I think that’s important).

He looked at me as thoughtfully as an 8 or 9 year old could look at a parent who just turned their world upside down, and asked a very clever follow up question:

Son:  “I kinda thought that about Santa.  Some kids were talking about it at school…….(long pause)…..But the Easter Bunny is real, right?”

Me:  Thinking to myself, “Are you kidding me little boy?  You want me to ruin all that is good in life in this one conversation?”  Like any fabulous parent, I replied, “Honey, do you really think there is a 6 foot rabbit that comes to our house and hops around hiding plastic eggs everywhere for you to find?” 

source

Son (looking very perplexed):  “Well, I guess not.  So that’s you and dad, too?”

Me:  “Yes, honey.”

Son:  “Mom…”

Me:  “Yes bud.”

Son (reluctantly asked):  “What about the Tooth Fairy?”

I gave him some kind of pathetic, defeated look because he said to me, “You’re the Tooth Fairy, aren’t you?”  I nodded my head.  He then inquired, “Where do you keep your Tooth Fairy outfit?”

That was a rough conversation for all of us but looking back, it was one of my favorite, most memorable talks (so far, anyway).  Santa and the Easter Bunny still stop by each year (wink, wink) although the Tooth Fairy stopped visiting when my son told me point-blank to keep my change.  

Two Weeks of Running “Firsts”

These last two weeks of running have been filled with many firsts and it’s refreshing to know that even at the tender age of 45, opportunities for “firsts” are abundant!

Here’s my first “first”:

I am participating in a group training program. I recently posted about joining a training group which was a pretty big deal for me (issues folks, I have issues).   I was worried about being the slowest one (I’m not).  I was worried about getting separated from the group and never finding my way back (hasn’t happened…yet).  I was anxious about talking to people during a run because A) I wouldn’t be able to breathe while talking and B) I would not hear a word they were saying because of my hearing.  Turns out, when someone talks to me, I can just smile and throw in a couple of “uh-huh’s” and “really’s” and call it good.  No one needs to know.  Other than faking conversations, my group training experience has been great!  The mentors are full of helpful advice and it’s great to run with an energetic, supportive group.

My second “first”:

I ran my first night run.  I know, I lead such a sheltered life.  Last week, the training group went on a night time run and it was so amazing!  We ran downtown around the river and it was perfect.   Imagine my surprise when I finished the run in one piece…no kidnapping, no mugging.  It was a good night.

My third “first”:

OK, this is a biggie.  So, I’m a slow runner, and that’s just fine, but I am trying to improve my time from like a 12 minute mile to 11 minutes to 10 minutes…and let’s just stop there for now.  For the first time EVER, my time started with a 10.  It doesn’t matter that it was 10:45, I just like to focus on the 10 part.  I think the group runs keep me motivated.  At some point during the runs, it’s inevitable that I will get separated from the bulk of the group.  When that happens, I get nervous that something sinister will happen (I have an overactive imagination) so I move faster to keep up.  In fact, during this morning’s run I saw two homeless guys in the park.  One was sleeping while sitting up and the other one was passed out on the grass with an alarm clock right next to him.  I hope he wasn’t counting on the clock to wake him  up because, well, he was in a park with no outlets.  Anyway, I felt bad for those gents but I have to admit my pace picked up as I tried to run past them and catch up to the rest of the group.  Bottom line, my time is improving but really bizarre things motivate me. 

My fourth “first”:

I went running with my puppy, Finn, for the first time!  Normally I would say, “I took my dog for a run,” but in this case, 8 month old Finn took me for a run.  We did a quick two miles around the neighborhood and I cannot believe how great he did.  He was so focused, didn’t get distracted, didn’t trip me up and didn’t stop to pee on everything in sight.  He was great.  My favorite part was the way he would look at me while we were running.  I couldn’t tell if he was thinking, “You can do this!!” or if he was thinking, “You can do this??”  Running with a dog changes the dynamics of a run in a very wonderful way.  I am looking forward to more runs with Finn!

finn on a walk

While I’ve only been running a little over a  year, I love the fact that there is so much to learn and that I can look forward to many more “firsts” in my running adventures!

relaxingwithpups

Slow Girl relaxing with Fast Dogs!

Running Topless

Well…..I’m not talking about running topless like THAT!   Sheesh.  What kind of girl do you think I am?  Besides, it’s sooooo cold out there.  Speaking of brisk temperatures….

I recently joined a running group and they do crazy things like run outside when it’s cold.  I know, right?  Insanity.  I bet they even have some outrageous “rain or shine” policy, too.  Since I’m new to this running group thing as well as running in cold, hostile temps (low to mid-40’s…I can say that since I grew up in southern California, right?), I decided to purchase this cool-weather running accessory:  The thermal topless winter headband made by Headsweats purchased at Title Nine.

headband      headbands

Here’s what I love about this thermal topless winter headband:

  1. It has a fleece lining around the ear area so simply pull it over your ears and you have ear warmers.
  2. The front portion that covers your forehead is made of super absorbent, moisture wicking material so your sweat is absorbed but the headband does not feel drenched.
  3. It has a cool ponytail slot in the back…not sure if that’s the technical name for it.   If you have a ponytail, it can easily slip through the slot and your headband will stay in place while your hair stays out of your face.
  4. It’s machine washable.
  5. It’s cute.

I wore it during my first group run on Saturday morning and it was just perfect.  It kept my ears warm, my forehead dry, and since it was topless, I didn’t have to deal with excess head heat.  The cost was around $16-$18 (I threw the receipt away before I realized I loved it so much I would blog about it).  Normally I would think that was pricey for a headband but this one was well worth the money.

I sweat a lot when I run so I love, love, love (need, need, need) headbands and this is my cold-weather fave.   If you run in cool temps and want to try going topless, this thermal topless winter headband is definitely worth checking out!

If There Was A Comfort Zone Cliff, I’d Be Jumping Off It Right Now

Like many humans this time of year, I have been battling a super annoying cold these last five days.  So what productive things have I done while lying around hacking and sneezing?  Well, I lathered myself up with some Vicks VapoRub, took a deep breath and did something out of character…I signed up for a training group to prep for an upcoming half marathon this May.

I know signing up for a training group isn’t earth shattering for most people but you have to understand that I am a loner runner.  I’m not a loner in other parts of my life…just running.   I have several concerns about running/training with a group:

  • I’m slow.  What if I’m the slowest one?   Who’s the poor person that is going to get stuck ‘mentoring’ me?  I know the slow pokes will be grouped together, but what if I’m the pokiest?   I just don’t want to be the one that everyone has to wait for…Please God, please have one other person there who is as slow as I am!
  • I don’t want to talk to anyone during a run.  Sounds anti-social but I need all the oxygen I can get and a casual conversation with a fellow runner could be disastrous for me during a run.  One of my biggest challenges when I run is getting winded quickly.   If I have to engage in polite conversation, I won’t be focusing on running…I’ll be focusing on trying to catch my breath (insert  Kelly Clarkson’s “Catch my Breath” song here).
  • This goes hand in hand with not wanting to converse while running – My hearing is HORRIBLE so I wear hearing aids…except when I run which means I really can’t hear jack $h!t when I’m running.  So, I must pray that there’s not a lot of running chit chat that takes place because I won’t hear it.  As a result of my hearing issue, a great deal of my focus is devoted to being visually aware of my surroundings.  I will wear my iPod while out on a run but being the deaf and paranoid person that I am, I spend a great deal of time checking things out.  I’m always asking myself if there are cars behind me, is anyone else out running, are there any suspicious deer hanging around, is anything out of the ordinary?   I suppose these are things all runners should take into consideration, hearing impaired or not.

On the flip side, I envision a lot of positive aspects to joining a running group:

  • I’ll be dealing with people who have a great deal of knowledge and insight.  These experienced runners will be able to coach me in a hands-on way that reading a book could never accomplish.
  • I will have regularly scheduled runs twice a week with the group.  This is a great way to stay motivated and hold myself accountable.
  • I will have the opportunity to enjoy outdoor runs.  Sometimes I’m too chicken to run outside alone so it will be wonderful to know I’m running with a group…safety in numbers!
  • I will be inspired by others’ successes.
  • I will enjoy the company of other runners, which can only be a good thing!
  • I plan to set and accomplish new goals that I may not have been able to accomplish on my own.

So there I go…..Weeeeeeee!   I put my insecurities aside and jumped off the comfort zone cliff.   If I can just get the trainers to talk REALLY loud during the instruction time and make sure I don’t have to converse with anyone during the run time, then I’ve got this in the bag!

comfortzonecliff

Have you jumped off your comfort zone cliff lately?  Did you land softly?

Side note:  I asked my son about the “artwork” above.  Conversation went like this:

  • Me:  “Does this look like someone jumping off a cliff?”
  • Son:  “Yes.  Who drew that?”
  • Me:  “I did.”
  • Son:  “You’re not thinking of suicide are you?”
  • Me:  “No, honey.  It’s a comfort zone cliff…I made it up.  Thanks for asking though.”

I thought it was sweet that he asked.  He was relieved that I wasn’t thinking about jumping off an actual cliff and I was relieved that the drawing was so amazing, he knew what it was.  Yes, I will keep my day job.

So You’re Going to Run a Half Marathon Part 6 – When the Race is Over

This is the final segment of my “So You’re Going to Run a Half Marathon” blog-a-thon.  If you want to catch up on parts 1 – 5, you can check out my deep thoughts (with a sprinkling of hilarity) here:  Researching Your First Half Marathon, The Training Plan, Acquiring the Gear, The Mental Stuff and The Day of the Race.  I know, it’s a lot of amateur advice to take in.  But like I said, deep and hilarious – if you like it like that.

So here is my not so sage advice on what to expect when the race is over.  Once you finish a half marathon and you’ve let your awesomeness sink in, you will need to come up with 3 (yes, THREE) versions of your race day story:

  • Version 1 – This is what you tell clueless acquaintances.  These are the folks who don’t really know you all that well and don’t even really know what a half marathon is.   You just tell them that you ran a race and it was fun.  So, your conversation might sound something like this:
      • Chuck, the clueless acquaintance:  “Hey, how was your weekend?  Do anything fun?”
      • You, the half marathon finisher:  “Well, it was a pretty busy weekend.  I actually ran a half marathon. “
      • Chuck:  “Dude, seriously?  Did you win?”
      • You:  “Well, no.  It was my first half marathon and it was 13.1 miles so I really wasn’t trying to win, just trying to finish…which I did, by the way.”
      • Chuck:  “So, you didn’t win?  Bummer.  Sorry about your downer weekend.”
  • Version 2 – This will be for people who love to run…People who have finished a half marathon, a marathon or any long distance race.  This is where you can go crazy and describe all your gory race details.  We want to know what miles 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 were like.  Tell us all about miles 5, 6, 7 and 8.  And did you hate miles 10 and 11?  Were you stoked by mile 12?  Were you falling down by mile 13 or were you sprinting to the finish?  We want to know about running hills, hitting walls, temperature, pace, what your medal looked like.  Did you cramp up?  What did you eat?  What was on your playlist?   Were the lines long at the porta-potty?  Did you experience any chafing?  Did you cry?  WE LOVE THE DETAILS!!!  So, please do your non-running family and friends a favor, save Version 2 for the runners in your life and come up with Version 3 for your other friends and family.
  • Version 3 – This is for the people close to you who know how hard you trained and understand all the work you put into finishing the half marathon.  You can tell them the details of your story but don’t do it mile by mile.  Tell your story emotion by emotion…they’ll relate better 🙂  And, by all means, if they ask for details, do not hold back!

Other important “When the Race Is Over” things you should know:

  • You will feel like a bad ass.  Quite honestly, you should feel like one.  And you can even act like one for a few days if you want.  I’m pretty sure it’s in the half marathon policy manual somewhere.
  • You should reward yourself in a meaningful way.  Here’s how I rewarded myself :  1) The day after the race, I took a vacation day.  I honestly wasn’t sure  I would be able to move, so I thought I better play it safe.  I actually felt GREAT the day after the race!  Nice, relaxing day off…Check!  2)  I promised myself a new pair of running shoes.  The weekend after the half, I went to a local running store and had a pro assess my running situation and make a couple of shoe recommendations.  New Shoes…Check!  3)  I got a pedicure.  My poor feet deserved that pedi.   Cute toes…Check!  Those were the things that made me happy.  I’m so easy to please.
  • You should sign up for another race.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a half marathon, a 5k or a 10k.  Just sign up for something so you have a race to look forward to and you keep yourself in the running groove.
  • Lastly, in my experience, I had a lot of bone head moments shortly after the half.  My not-so-scientific explanation is that running a half marathon takes a great deal of focus and I’m pretty sure the week following the race, my brain was taking a breather from the half marathon focus factor.  Maybe it’s just me.  But if it’s not, please let me know your experience so I don’t feel like a weirdo.

So, first time half marathon finishers to be, my advice is to enjoy your journey.  From figuring out which race you’re going to run, to tracking all your training progress to crossing that finish line.  It will make you proud and you will inspire people around you…maybe even that dumb ass acquaintance Chuck will be in awe once he figures out what a half marathon is.

Go forth and train, run, finish then be a bad ass!