This past Sunday was the one-year anniversary of my first half-marathon! To be honest, I didn’t even realize it until I saw some photos from this year’s half come up on my Facebook newsfeed. But once I remembered, I became pretty nostalgic.
I was able to pinpoint my exact sentiments pretty quickly, for which I am grateful: I remembered how empowered, confident, and elated I felt when I finished the half. Really, those feelings are ones that training cultivated in me over time, so each week as I could see and feel the progress I was making, I began to feel more and more empowered, confident, and elated. But the culmination of it all, of course, came when I crossed the finish line with my friend Ciara, had my time chip cut off of my Vibrams, and received my medal.
As I mentioned in my original post about the half, I’d always wanted to be a runner. So when I finally put my nose to the ground (or, rather, my feet to the ground – aha!) and committed to running the Bass Pro half, I was all in. I didn’t have any time goals, so I didn’t incorporate any speed workouts into my training. My only goal was to successfully build my mileage during training (my longest long run before the half was ten miles), enough to carry me through the entire race without walking. And I succeeded! Feeling empowered, confident, and elated.
One of the best parts of running a half-marathon, for me, was my training. I’m a planner by nature, so I pretty much feel compelled on a daily basis to write to-do list after to-do list and then, if I’m having a good, on-top-of-things day, to complete all the items. What this tells me is that I love to see and feel progress. Training for the half, then, naturally gave me that feeling of accomplishment because I had to push myself week after week to increase my mileage, to commit to cross-training and lifting at the gym even when I had so many other things to do, to practice Pilates or yoga a few days a week to avoid injury, and to eat well. I had to think ahead and plan my workouts and meals – which was not too hard for a planner like myself. Especially when I started physically feeling better: lighter (as in, not sluggish), stronger, and more energized. Progress!
After the half, I took a few days off to recuperate. My legs ached! But I continued to exercise regularly. When I moved to Thailand in June, I was shocked to find that the small town where I’d moved made exercise basically impossible. The sidewalks are always crowded with street vendors and people, and the neighborhoods are always crowded with cars and dogs. The nearest gym is about an hour away. I tried a few times to eek out a run, but I was almost always unsuccessful given my location. So when I moved to the main city last month, one of the things I was most looking forward to was being able to run again! I now live near several gyms and an exercise park, I own a set of weights, and I have a stable Internet connection with which I can connect to online workout videos. I understand that it’s unhealthy for human beings to live in a constant state of physical training – our bodies require seasons of rest (AKA regular exercise, just not the intensity of training for a race)! – but I’m looking forward to feeling empowered, confident, and elated again as I get back into a regular routine of day-in-and-day-out exercise.
All that to say, I do want to race again soon. I did some research the other day about races in Thailand, and I found one that’s six weeks away in one of my favorite cities just a few hours from here. There are several options for this particular race; I’ve chosen the 10K. I realize that six weeks might not be enough time for my body to successfully build mileage without injury, so in my mind I’m holding Race Day pretty flexibly. If I can’t run six miles by then, no big deal. I’ll just skip this race and continue with a light training plan until the next one.
Now, here’s to discipline, commitment, and the good feels that exercise brings! 🙂