My Super Sweet 13(.1)

A 1st Half Marathon

4 Days Until… (OMG. 4 Days!)

on April 24, 2012

You got this! Ignore the nagging doubts and go for it!

I can hear Vincent Price’s laugh in my head as I read the title of this post – only FOUR more days until the Kentucky Derby MiniMarathon! Only four more days until all my training comes to a head, until I run my first half marathon, until I run 13.1 miles for the first time ever, like in my life, and only four more days until I can go back to a life of leisurely swims and yoga classes…

Well, not really. As I look at Nurse on the Run’s blog, See Glen Run’s blog, and Sugar and Scrubs’s blog, I see a lot of contemplation, reflection, and dedication to running. I think everyone who trains for a mini or half marathon will continue running a little; because you have done something before, I believe it makes us more confident to continue pushing ourselves further, in any pocket of our lives that we see some space for expansion. And some nerves are popping up on others’ blogs and in my own head; that’s to be expected. I’m doing better nerve-wise than I was for the 10-miler. I missed a total of three runs during this whole training process – one for my trip to Utah for work, and the other two were this past week, where a very oddly-behaving knee (and this is the “good” knee”) and a nasty big-toe blood blister kept me on the couch with an ice pack. I ran 35 minutes yesterday and it went pretty well; I am happy to say I run up the hills on Cherokee Park’s scenic loop now with an ease I never could have imagined!

A quick note on the blood blister, for those of you who might be reading this and want to know how I “fixed” it: I wrapped it in moleskin for two runs, but could feel it throb every time my left foot pushed off the pavement. I got some ampoules (I knew these things were the bomb after the Inca Trail) but the first run with an ampoule felt the same as the moleskin, so… I popped it (with a flame-steralized safety-pin – hurrah for bathroom surgery). It was gross. But then I applied antibiotic treatment to the raw skin and wrapped up my big toe in an ampoule designed for finger and toe blisters. I had to drain it a couple more times, but I could run on it with the pressure of the blister relieved. All of this was less painful than dealing with an ingrown toenail, if you’re trying to get a pain-read on this. Anyway, still wearing ampoule, running fine. The ice/knee advice came from my doctor; the back of my right knee was having some sharp pains when I wasn’t running so I decided rest was best. I’m so glad this issue came up in the “taper” period of training – you run less! how weird! – before the mini.

So as we near the goal – the prize, the finish line, the big triumph, the secret success, the personal best – what does it really mean to have run a half marathon? I mean, if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, but the kindly farmhouse people (it’s always a farm) say “the nearest gas station is 13 miles (or 20 kilometers, for That German Runner) from here” you now have an estimate of how long it would take you to run to town. So what else does it mean? Running a half-marathon means that you have the strength and stamina to run a certain distance, sure, but for many – myself included – it means that you had a goal and you had the will power and stamina to stick to the rough bits – the training – to get to that goal. You already “did it”; if I counted up the amount of miles I’ve run since January, when the official training program began… let’s see: using a rough estimate, and knowing I have run 15-20 miles a week for the past three months – that’s over 200 miles at least!

But I don’t really care how far I’ve gone; what I care about is that I stuck to it. I slogged through. I wore tights and mittens and a hat and ran in below freezing temperatures, something I never would have thought I’d do. I can run 5k no problem, yet back in my middle school and high school days I wouldn’t even run a mile in P.E. I ran before to get weight off when I was finishing my B.A., then again during my M.A., but now, during my Ph.D. work (I like the parallels – I got better as my career grew), I really made it into a practice, like yoga – something that you must do, something that you promise yourself to do, for you, and for all the benefits that it gives you. To stick to it, I started, last year, running races. Ah, much harder than jogging on the treadmill! So I got outside and hit the pavement. By committing to training for any race, you commit to doing something that was not expected of you. You commit to doing something that makes you feel good, thus in turn allowing you to spread the good vibes to those you care about and those around you. Yoga, I truly believe, does retains that benefit, but I think running does it too; you can become very proud of yourself when you run – the small victories equal the big ones – and that confidence is a good thing. So congratulations to my fellow runners on successfully training for the milestones they’ve set for themselves – BRAVA!!! You did it:)


2 responses to “4 Days Until… (OMG. 4 Days!)

  1. runningfarce says:

    Really cool post! Good luck to you in your half – hopefully you’ve liked running enough to keep it a staple in your routine, even if you add in some yoga and swimming, too. I really like the picture – words to live by

  2. Best wishes for you on your mini-marathon! You’ll do great!

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