“keep that smile! you are a half marathoner!“
from a Facebook messenger chat with a friend and former colleague turned (not my) running coach.
The smile hasn’t gone anywhere in 48 hours. It honestly took until Monday for the you are a half marathoner! feeling to hit and for me to realize I did it.
Some thoughts since I’ve digested the race:
- I truly did not think I was going to finish this running. I wasn’t so much worried about the distance: the 15K in December had been fine. I was scared to death of the hills, the host of the NYRR Talk on course strategy on Friday night mentioning there were 11 (3x Cat Hill, 2 x Harlem Hills, 2x Three Sisters) did not help. Around Christmas I began to think about just not doing it, but I really really wanted to do it. Or to at least try. Because I was fairly sure I wasn’t going to be able to, I told almost no one. A few folks who aren’t likely to talk to anyone else, and two running buddies training for their own half, but otherwise Secret Squirrel mode activated. I texted my brother and best friend morning of with a link to the live tracker, but that was it.
- “Mile 1 is a liar” is a frequent running adage. For this race, it wasn’t. I think mile 3 below 11 was the actual liar, since I was running with an ~11:20 pace group, but that’s neither here nor there. Mile 1 felt good, mainly because it was a huge herd and we were all fresh. It felt so good to be outdoors after such a brutal weather start to the year. Miles 2.5, 7.5, 12 by the Met, Hamilton were lovely and gorgeous. Mile 4 and 9 with Harlem Hills? Ugh. Mile High Run Club has been good to me, and getting back out on the hills will be good, but oh do I hate those hills. I really don’t have any other mile specific thoughts.
- Gu. Gels. I still haven’t figured out this eating on the run thing, and if I didn’t for a Half, I probably never will. I didn’t fuel at all during the 15K because my fingers were frozen. When I was with the Pacers over the first five miles, Julia asked what my gel strategy was and I threw out 10K, while admitting I didn’t really have a plan, although I’d brought three gels with me. Good thing, Gu, Hammer, Power Shots are good if a little too thick. I may try the Beans if JackRabbit has them, although I’m not sure on eating and running as I still haven’t mastered drinking and running. We’ll see. I don’t know if my second half was stronger because I had a gel (nothing pre race), or if I just started being sensible with the walks. Food for thought-no pun intended.
“Ten. Miles. Toto, I don’t think we’re in the single digits anymore. From the beginning of this whole running “experiment” (an experiment that was clearly by now less of an exception and more the rule), I was constantly finding myself lacking in confidence when it came to new distances. Running that first 5K, running that first 10K…each new race brought a new set of challenges. Challenges that I continued to meet and overcome.”
- I’ve generally enjoyed reading about running. The Runners’ Bookshelf has been awesome for ideas and part of the reason Mt. TBR grows is because I keep finding new to me books. Not all have a personal connection though. Becky Wade’s Run the World was a fabulous combination of running and travel. Alexandra Heminsley’s Run Like a Girl was light and fun, but not especially poignant. I really thought John Bingham’s books would be the best for me, and most resonant (and they’re amazing), but then I “met” Jill Grunenwald. Her Running with a Police Escort was the perfect book to be reading on the eve of my first Half. She’s also a slow runner and she had some of the same anxieties I do about running.I know I am a runner. I run. But sometimes seeing myself as a runner? I’m not always there. I didn’t read her blog before finding her book, but I’ve added her to my sidebar now and look forward to reading her. It’s not the best written book, but she’s an amazing storyteller and I love seeing myself in her. One of the things she talks about is committing to a race a month for the year and since I have January, (maybe February), March, April sorted already, I think this might be a fun goal. More on that later.
- Jill’s blog is about going from 311 lbs to running 13.1 miles (x3!). While I was never that heavy, and this hasn’t been and won’t be about weight loss, running has definitely had a change in my body. The #IHaveARunnersBody is an interesting one to look at across the various social channels. Also, upside of a non-running day? I can wear the ghostie tee I love so much
- Although I’m still using running as a fundraiser for Joyful Revolution Athletic Club, I joined Team MHRC. I loved seeing the Clubs out there supporting their runners and I want that. There are some April runs that I can’t do, like the Shape Women’s Half (Cherry Blossom is the week prior) and I want to be cheering others on. I know you don’t have to be in a Club to do that, and I took cheers from anyone, but I like this element and I love Mile High Run Club, so I’m giving it a go for 2018. I also need the structure that the weekly coached runs might provide as I move into the next phase of training.
- Training. So my training went to shit, but that’s not going to happen for Cherry Blossom. I’m torn between the race‘s virtual training, Hal Higdon who I have come to know and love or RunKeeper. Going to think on that in the next week, because I’m 100% not running until Thursday. My legs are better, foam roller was great, but oh those hills did a number on my legs. Luckily the cherry blossom course is flat. And it’s training food for thought too in how to prepare my legs.
- I think I’ve run the longest distance I want to. I may do the 9+1 this year, but I’m not sure if I have any interest in running a marathon, never mind an ultra. The idea of a destination race is fun, but I don’t know about the training. Maybe if I get faster and it takes less time? I definitely enjoyed the 15K/Half distances more than I anticipated. I think 5mile might still be my favorite, but we’ll see if this year’s 10Ks suck less and influence that.
Here’s to another fun and healthy year of running