June 24, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, I ran my first half marathon.

I don't really define myself as a runner. A few years ago I was running weekly with a women's group, and I raced a few 5 km's. I had no desire to go farther distances and that was it. Then last fall I decided to get back into running on the paths, as a weekly part of my exercise routine. One weekend I just kept running and ran about 12kms. I wasn't training for anything, or following any program. I was just running in 10-1 intervals, 10 minutes of running with 1 minute of walking. And that 12 km didn't seem that hard to me. And it occurred to me that a half marathon was about double that distance, and that didn't seem too bad either.

So I signed up for the Scotiabank Half Marathon for the end of May. It was a goal to keep me motivated to keep running. Initially I wanted to run it in about 2 1/2 hours. I'm not into speed, I just wanted to finish, and have a good time doing it.

Lots of people have asked me how I did it. How can you run for over 2 hours? How can you not get bored? And here's the thing. You have to run for yourself. And running offers a few things for me. It offers me solitude and therapy. Getting away and just pounding the pavement for a bit. Being alone with your thoughts and figuring stuff out. Working out frustration. The other thing that's really important to me with running is music. I love music. When I was commuting to work for an hour or so each day, I loved just sitting in the car and blasting my music. But now I don't have that time. Running allows me time to get reconnected with that. It's not dancing in my living room, but it's constantly moving to the beat. Reacting to the sounds. Speeding up and slowing down. It is what keeps me going.

I trained using this program that I found online. There are lots online, and many local clinics you can sign up for to, but this one seemed right to me. And it worked great. My time was 2:17:38, which I am thrilled about.

Race day was amazing. Slightly cool and overcast, which are the perfect conditions for me. The route was decent, although there was a stretch at about 15 kms that was pretty tough. By the end, I just wanted it to be over, but when I finally did finish, I felt great. I was tired for sure, but I was really proud too, not to mention the surge of adrenaline.

The jury is still out on when or if I will run another.


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