Thursday, December 9, 2010

13.1 things I've learned through running.

In March of 2009, I wrote THIS about running my first mile. 

In short, it was painful. One year and 205.75 miles later, I've run two 5k's, a 7 mile relay half marathon, and a half marathon.  

That's a total of 26 miles of race running and 179 miles of training so I could actually make it across those finish lines.

One year ago I entered in my first timed race, the City to the Sea Half Marathon and 5k race in San Luis Obispo. I was in the 5k group, but cheered (and watched in awe) as many of my friends ran across the finish line after braving their 13.1 miles of rolling hills and ocean views. Last year it took me nearly 45 minutes just to putter 3.1 miles across the finish line. Since I barely survived the 5k, the idea of running a half marathon was not even a possibility in my mind.

...until October 10, 2010 (or 10-10-10!), when I crossed that finish line after running my own 13.1 miles of my rolling hills and ocean views. Since then, this list has been brewing. I actually began it the night of the race, but I'll just blame muscle fatigue and lethargy for why it never got posted.

At the starting line: Can you see my confidence?!

Here are the 13.1 things I've learned during these 205 miles of running: 

13. Everyone need some heroes. I know I would have never tried running had I not seen Rob re-emerge as a runner during his sabbatical with his dramatic transformation. And watching other friends like Teri, Tina, and Marissa (to name a few) train and run their half marathons was so encouraging too. They gave me much encouragement and hope that with some training, I could do it too!

12. I like seeing progress. Ever since I paired the Nike Plus running chip with, I've been just short of obsessed with tracking my progress. But with an appropriate amount of discipline, it was really helpful for analyzing my efforts and improving as a runner. 

Here's a snapshot of most of my half marathon training.

(There are a few short runs, a 7 & 8 mile long runs missing from this)
11. During a race, I like lots of cheerers! Even when they are strangers, even when they are paid volunteers, even when they aren't cheering for me- I get pumped just seeing and hearing the cheers... I found that during the race, whenever there was a great group of cheerers I straightened up, gained some speed and mentally amped up again. I LOVED seeing my friends at the finish line cheering me across, so much so I nearly tripped 10 feet in front of the finish line. That's. so. me. 

10. I don't like failing. I had created a goal of finishing the race in under 3 hours. I knew that my pace was between 10:30 and 12 min miles...and I had never trained on hills. In all honesty, I thought I'd finish well under 3 hours and was really disappointed when I noticed that I crossed the line at 3 hours, 55 seconds! Tears welled up and I knew I just needed a few minutes to cry it out. I did, and then I got over it because I had just run my first half marathon for goodness sake! 

9. Hills stink. That's all. 

8. You can make friends anywhere! Even at the 12 mile marker... where I met Monica, who's in the photo with me. We were struggling approaching that last mile, several feet apart. She had stopped, complaining of her knees. I hadn't seen her before. I don't know what compelled me, but I said "come on, let's do this together". Maybe because that's what I needed to hear, but it was a great last mile of getting to know each other, getting our mind off the pain and crossing the finish line with a new friend.

7. 12 weeks leading to the race, it was all about physical training for me. I kept to the training schedule as best as I could. When I got to the race, it felt more like a mental battle. Next time I need a 'mental training' plan too.

6. Running is messy, deal. I've lost two toenails. Blisters galore. I always run with a handkerchief now. I'm a sweaty mess after any run over 5 miles. And body glide is a new friend.

5. Nike Dri Fit is amazing. For my birthday, a couple weeks before the big race, I got birthday money for a new running shirt. I invested in this Nike Dri Fit tank, and it was great blend of comfort, moisture wicking, and feeling stylish.

4. Having a training plan helps. Rob and Tina, veteran racers, sent us the 'Surf and Turf foolproof Training Schedule' and it was SO helpful (and realistic). Also, I like physically checking off my runs as I do them. 

3. FYI. A knee brace is only for the run (to help secure your knee). I've learned it's not helpful to keep it on much longer than that. And definitely do not keep it on overnight and the next day because it feels good because it will cause your ankle to swell up to the size of a grapefruit. So I hear. 

2. Your age isn't a number, it's the number of pains you get during a run. (I wrote this the night of my half-marathon, when I had ice packs everywhere! Reading it now just makes me laugh, so I kept it in! Maybe running makes you wiser and speak in proverbs?)

1. I need a race to train for if I expect myself to be disciplined and continue running. In the two months since the race I have run twice! Tomorrow I plan to run 3 miles. It's time. I've also begun hunting for the next half-marathon to aim for. It will most likely be this but I'd love it if it was this too! I can't wait to kick those 55 seconds in the butt, and then some! 

.1 While, at times, I only feel like a runner 10% of the time, I am. And I am getting there. Once, early into one of the long training runs, it began to rain. I looked at my running buddy and said 'Noemi, today, we are the hardcore runners.' Indeed.


Teri said...

Love that you included the .1 - and all the other 13 make me want to go run 5 miles right now.

If you do come across a mental training plan, will you send it my way?

Seriously? TWO toenails??? Sheesh.

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