I’m preparing for my first half marathon.
If we were close friends in high school, college or even just a few years ago, that fact would seem incredibly out of character. As much as I’d love to believe I’m that same person you hung out with, I know that I have changed.
The years add up. Life experience wears away at the superficial. You struggle, succeed and struggle again with things that aren’t always very important. At the end of the day you’re left with your body, mind and relationships.
Running helps me nurture all three of those essential elements. It strips away the mental clutter of project deadlines, home improvement tasks, worries for the sake of worrying and allows me to focus solely on feet hitting the pavement. Since I started running, the aches and pains of age have been greatly reduced, as has my waistline. I’ve formed deeper attachments with friends through sharing stories about our training regimens. We have a pretty great little clique.
But the half marathon thing. After years of logging the equivalent of three 5Ks a week, I’m not entirely sure what possessed me to go the extra mile (or ten). Maybe it was how much I admired my wife’s work ethic and her pride in tackling long runs. Maybe it was a half-joking bet with Andrew. Either way, my current training has me banking serious miles.
Next week’s run will almost have me up to my race distance. Thirteen miles.
Two weeks later, I’ll run fourteen, just to get a little extra endurance under my belt. Another two week span leads me to the Rock N’ Roll Savannah.
These prep runs have been really good for me. They’ve taught me about finding time for myself, even if that extra time on the road comes at the expense of sleep. I’ve worked hard on my pace, finding a comfortable spot where I can maintain a stable rate for an extended period of time.
Running for two hours straight is no joke. You have to plan out where you can get water or refuel, relying on the kindness of friends with front porches and spare water bottles. You arrive at work a little later. You really don’t want to sit at a desk after one of these outings. Taking a long soak in a warm tub seems like a much better idea.
Despite the fatigue, I’m starting to worry about what will be next after the half. Full marathons require too much time to train and plan. I run to relax, not to stress out. Maybe there will be another run streak. Or another half. Or maybe attempting the Tybee Run Fest 5-race weekend, where two days of races culminate in a total of 26.2 miles.
I’d better not mention that to Andrew.