I’m starting my training with Hal Higdon’s novice 5k plan because I have not run regularly since I ran a half marathon last December. I ran the Decker Challenge in Austin and it was my first half marathon ever.
I had never run that far before. In fact, before starting training for that race I had only ever run 6-8k tops.
For a first half marathon, I picked a HARD one. The Decker Challenge is full of hills, with a really long incline around mile 10.
I used Hal Higdon’s novice plan for half marathons to train for it. The longest run you do in that plan is a 10 miler the week before the race. According to Hal, you didn’t need to run more than that before your first half marathon, because the adrenaline and excitement you experience during the race will get you through to the end. Well, for me it was sheer willpower. After that huge hill at mile 10, it took EVERYTHING I had to get through that race. I HAD to finish. And I HAD to finish having run the whole thing. Those thoughts were the only things keeping me going. I had no music to push me and no podcasts to distract me. John was on a business trip at the time and I didn’t have many running friends or people who would willingly wake up early on Sunday morning to cheer me on. So, I didn’t even have that to keep me going…. just me and my thoughts. I was also running in between two pace groups, the 2:15 group I believe and the 2:20 group.For a lot of those last few miles I was running by myself.
I have never been good at running. Always huffing and puffing and lagging behind. Hating my life with every step. I remember being a senior in high school and having to run just one km during PE and I was dying. I was only 18, how embarrasing, right? I wasn’t overweight, just really unfit. I also have a pretty high resting heart rate. In the 90’s last time I checked, which really bothers me.
I didn’t start running for exercise until I was a Sophomore in college and I had gained the Sophomore 15. I had to start out really slowly. Run/walking until I could do 3 miles without walking. I was pretty confident in my running at that point. So much so that during the annual sportsfest at the university I was attending I signed up to run the one mile race after the original runner had cancelled. Sportsfest was just an event where different floors of the different dorm buildings at the school competed against each other. Some students were athletes, most were not, so it wasn’t a super serious competition. I had just had a bowl of oatmeal and the race was in half an hour, “yeah, I can totally do it.”
Well, I nearly barfed after that race. I did come in third though, out of four.
After that I didn’t run for a few years until I moved to Amsterdam and lived near the Amsterdamse bos (Amsterdam forest).
I decided I would start running in there and I started out slowly until I could run 6-8k without stopping. I would always quit in the winter time though because I couldn’t and still can’t stand the cold. In fact, it was the cold that stopped me from going running last year after the Decker Challenge and I lived in TEXAS.
When I moved to Austin I lived right next to a busy trail which was always full of runners.
I got inspired to start running again after yet another hiatus and signed up for the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5 mile race. I had so much fun I decided I was going to train for a half marathon and the rest… the rest is history.
I have about nine months to train for this next half marathon which is why I’m starting with the 5k plan. I’m also taking my dog out running with me and he needs to slowly build up his miles too. He has gotten way out of shape since we left Austin.
I want to try to keep running after this race. Now that I live in California there are a bunch of cool races around: Big Sur, the North Face challenge (I think), the San Francisco half, the San Francisco women’s half, and so on and so forth.
I do really miss the trail I used to live by in Austin though. I just don’t see as many runners out here. I like running where other people are also running around me.
Training is going well so far. This week the longest run was 1.75 miles. Piet, my dog, is getting used to it too. When he hears my watch beep he starts running. I listen to podcasts while I run. If I listen to music I have a tendency to blast it and that’s not good for my ears. I find podcasts a lot more distracting than music too. I try to listen to inspirational podcasts to help me feel hopeful about my life. It’s a good start to my day.