Sunday, January 1, 2017

Half a month

No, I don't mean 15 days.

Or two weeks.

I mean a half marathon, every month, in 2017. That's my goal, or more like project, for the year.

I haven't made a big deal about it, but I've been back at regular running for a few months. I've had several failed reboots, but this one seems to be sticking.

I don't know exactly what got me going, it may have just been a little extra time between projects at work. Being in a great, supportive relationship has certainly helped, too. Regardless, on September 1st, I started running regularly, with the motivational goal of running a 9min/mile 5K in October.

When I started, I could barely run a mile without stopping to walk.

And I was slow. Like 11 min/mile slow.*

So my goal of running 3.1 miles with an average of 9 minute miles was daunting.

It was also humbling. Me of not that long ago would have been ashamed of me now - slow, out of shape, carrying too much weight, and looking at 9min/mile as a goal?! "That's a cool down pace, not a race pace! What have you done to us?"

That embarrassment made it even harder to get out for a run, a run that I knew I wouldn't be proud of.

At some point, though, you have to decide to keep sliding down that slope, or turn around and make the slog back up and out.

I set a plan, 3 runs a week, and stuck to it. That's key kids... make your plan realistic for you, one you can stick to.

On October 29th, I destroyed my goal for the 5K (8:22 pace).

In less than 2 months, with consistency, and little else really, I was was able to get back to a level that I could be proud of.

That may be the lesson here... we don't have to be star athletes. We don't have to have super-human pace or endurance. If you can knock out 3 miles a few times a week, you're doing great, way better than the vast majority of Americans.

After the 5K, I thought about my next step. Now I was fit enough that I could enter a 5K, or a 5-miler, or even a 10K any weekend, and that was fantastic. I sure as hell didn't have the appetite for another marathon. But, I wanted to go up another notch or two. What I really wanted was to be in the kind of shape where could run a half-marathon whenever I wanted.

So, that's where the Half a Month came from. I'm still only running 3 times a week, for the most part. I started in November. I've been ramping up the length of my weekend run slowly... I did 12 on Christmas day. And I've been scouring race calendars for halfs - exciting ones, interesting ones, cheap ones.

The halfs I've registered for so far should be on the right side of the page. (I'm not sure what'll happen if your reading on a phone.) I decided I needed an exciting one in January just to make sure I stayed motivated. I picked the StarWars Half at Disneyland. Geeky, I know, but I'll be honest, I'm super excited for this one... and may even run in costume. (Bonus points to the reader who guesses the costume in the comments... no cheating if I've already told you.)

In February I travel to Tampa because I don't want to freeze my nards off, but after that I'm trying to keep the races local, though I have a fun one near Charleston scheduled for the last one, as a celebration I guess. I'm trying not to add any additional pressure of performance goals, though I'd love to keep them under 2 hrs... we'll see. It's not about pace, at least not for a while. And I'm assuming there will be many photo ops at the StarWars Half. (Chewy, say "Cheese").

So... that's the deal. A half a month. Should be fun.

Good running,

*I hate talking about pace. 11 min/mile is fast for some people, and that's awesome. I only put numbers in here to show the relative difference between where I was and what I was shooting for. So don't let anyone tell you you're slow, especially me.