In case you missed the post from a few months back, I signed up to do my first half marathon coming up in November. I’ve been training for it little by little, and what an amazing feeling it was to break my personal best of eight miles around a month ago! Since then, I’ve added a half or another whole mile to each run I’ve done.
Well, the other day I did twelve miles. Let me tell ya, the brain has a lot of time to think about things during a twelve-mile jog! For some people, they can work out their problems while they run. That must be helpful. Other people completely zone out. They sort of find their zen as they run.
I am neither. What I do is I think. And then I think some more. I think about serious things, funny things, strange things, random things. It would be nice to get my brain to settle down, or at least be productive and come up with solutions to some of life’s problems. But alas, nope.
Here are some of the things I remember thinking about as I tackled those twelve hard miles:
- Leaving the house at 6 in the morning is a lot different than at 7:30 in the morning. Everything is so dark, quiet, cold, and lonely. It feels like night.
- Wearing a lime green tank top one day while I was out running got the attention of at least four jerks who decided to honk their car horn at me. For the twelve miles, I wore a dark purple top and no honking.
- The moon was full and still out when I left the house early that morning, and there was something comforting in the way it stayed with me along my path. Even after the sun had risen, the moon was still visible. It was my constant running buddy.
- People zipping right past me on their bikes always seem to have a smug look on their face. What are you so smug about? You’ve got the help of a set of gears, while I’m doing this all on my own two feet. I should be the smug one.
- Most runners don’t “hit the wall” in a half marathon, but since I’m still rather new (and admittedly out of shape) to this long distance running stuff, I can say that I consistently hit my wall around mile 8. My legs feel heavy and robotic, I feel worn out, I don’t feel any momentum to continue. Do the math and you’ll see that this is no good.
- Here’s the math if you didn’t want to do it: 13.1 – 8 = 5.1 miles I still have to finish, wall or not.
- I am really grateful that the university I run by is open by the time I reach the half way point. I can take a super-quick restroom and water break! The college students probably think I look crazy with my red face, frizzy hair, heavy breathing, and basically looking like I’m dying, but whatever.
- Stop lights are good for traffic, but bad for my paces. I know that overall I am a slow runner, but having to wait for the light to change green kills me!
- This may sound silly, but I’ve done a lot of thinking about my race day outfit. It’s not as simple as you think it would be. Tight socks that won’t slip or bunch, running capris with a pocket for my GU energy gels, racer tank instead of a t-shirt because it’s what I prefer, and likely arm sleeves because it will be really cold in the beginning, but then I’ll warm up and won’t need them. None of it is about fashion; it’s about function and comfort.
- Twelve miles was really hard. How am I going to manage thirteen? At some point, you have to convince yourself that it’s just another mile. No big deal. Besides, the only personal record I am hoping to achieve is simply just finishing it, whether by running, walking, or crawling across that finish line.
- One more mile and four more weekends left until that half marathon is mine.