Tag Archives: Half marathon

Back on the training treadmill

I don’t normally compete in July and August. For one thing, it’s stupid insane hot here.

And I have time to get caught up on other things, like doctor appointments, writing and maybe some real rest time.

But as that famous blonde singer once warbled, “Oops, I did it again.”

I signed up for another half-marathon. It’s not until next March, but ten months goes by faster than you want it to. One month you’re a lane lizard in the pool or strolling on beach sand like a tourist without a timetable, and the next thing you know, it’s time to pick up the race packet and goodie bag.

I have other events before March: a few swim meets, road races and three triathlons. Those need care, feeding and training, too. But the half-marathon was an event I swore I’d never do again after I did the Daytona Speedway-to-The-Beach-And-Back half a few years ago. It was a nice race (if you ignore the 3:30 a.m. wake up time to be parked by 4:30 a.m. for a 6 a.m. start thing, along with the 38-degree temperatures), but I figured by then, my distance days ought to be over. I was hurting so much at the end of that race, The Husband’s hope for a photo of me at the top of the track’s 31-degree banked Turrunsn 1 was just that – a hope.

Why do another half? A small desire for redemption mixed with a decent dose of insanity plus a need to defy the onslaught of age. I want to do a better job on the finishing time. And all of us who run are at least a little left or right of the center line of normal anyway. It’s not that age is showing or catching up. But little things are noticeable – injuries take longer to heal than they used to, and while I don’t require more rest, I seem to benefit from more of it.

I look at some of my friends, a few my age and some a little older, who are becoming burdened with the ailments of oncoming years. I don’t want life to get like that. I’m all for taking advantage of medical specialists, both Western and non-traditional practitioners, but I want to make the decision to do so because I am maintaining good health, not because I am fundamentally hurting.

Training has started, or in my case, just kicked up to a slightly higher level. I bow to all those who improbably and insanely choose to go back on their word and try something again, just one more time. I am one of you now. The Never Say Never Brigade.

 

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Filed under athletic competition, Exercise, Running, Swimming, thought, Triathlons

It’s Not Easy Racing Jimmie Johnson

Six a.m. and a cold, cold start to my personal Speedweeks.

Six a.m. and a cold, cold start to my personal Speedweeks.

I did my half-marathon yesterday in Daytona Beach. Thirteen-point-one miles in the (relative) cold, on a hilly course, with a ginormous bridge in the middle of it. A bridge on steroids. A bridge so big, I will hate it forever.

And I finished in the allotted time. And I got a finisher’s medal, and there was food at the end, which I could not eat, like pizza and doughnuts and fried chicken bits (The Husband loved the doughnuts, though. What’s not to love about Krispy Kremes?)

Today is not much of a celebration, though. Yesterday, adrenaline outshouted agony. Today, not so much. I am walking like Frankenstein on stilts, trying not to fall over when I have to sit down in the bathroom (I wish I’d listened to Mom and mastered the art of the stand-and-pee in those public restrooms), and trying to paste a neutral expression on my face while out in public, so I avoid those pitiful stares and well-meaning offers of help from strangers. Driving isn’t bad; it’s getting in and out of the car that makes me wish I had a pit crew.

Speaking of pit crews, six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson did the same event, and finished third in his age group. I should add he raced the Sprint Unlimited the night before, and had to go out and qualify for the Daytona 500 the same day as the half. He finished the half in under 90 minutes, chatted with fans, signed autographs, posed for photos and was a very nice guy. Oh, and he used the half to raise money for charity. And while I admire his athletic skill, I hate the guy for being that good. At the finish, The Husband wanted me to walk a few steps up the track’s banking, so he could get a photo of me with the Daytona 500 logo in the background. I’d tell you what my response was, but it’s unprintable.

Jimmie, you don’t make it easy for the rest of us to look bad. But thanks for being one of the good guys, on and off the race track.

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Break A Race Record, Get A Trophy…I’ll Drink To That

Half marathon

Half marathon (Photo credit: bostjan_rudolf)

 

I’m consuming a (non-alcoholic) libation, number thus far unknown. All I know is, it was hot out there today.

 

Not the best day to run a 5K. And certainly not the best day to set a personal best. But I did it, and beat the old mark by 21 seconds.

 

Oh, and no mere medal at the end, either. I took third place in the Grand Masters (50 and over) category. So this time, it was a trophy.

 

I have no Academy to thank, but I would like to thank The Husband for putting up with the sound of the alarm clock at #!*% -what-time-is-it o’clock. He’s retired, and not running, swimming or biking. Alarm clocks are now foreign to his world. And my dear friend Steve, who is training for a half-marathon. He’s the one who got me onto a stricter running program (not more running, just smarter running) and using a protein powder for recover. Six weeks of change made all the difference. It was smoother, less stressful event and the powder helps ease the muscle pain.

 

I’m happy with the way it went today.

 

 

I still had enough energy left to fix breakfast, weed the yard and do a load of laundry. I’ve got two more 5Ks for the season, then a racing break over the summer. I’ll drink to a good result, and look forward to getting the time down a tick more before the final event in May.

 

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Filed under Exercise, Running

Update On The Half-Marathon Half-wits

Half marathon

Half marathon (Photo credit: bostjan_rudolf)

A few weeks ago, I wrote about lunacy known as the half-marathon, and the fact that my friend and I decided to take on the distance. We’re still nuts, we know.

I’m reporting back. He’s doing well. His diet has improved, and his running is good. He’s up to almost seven miles, though it’s a mix of walking and running. That’s still a long way from where he was two months ago. I’ve been plugging along, adding steadily, still swimming along with the running. As I type this, I’m fighting fatigue brought on by a two-day swim meet, which included a one-mile swim. That’s sixty-seven laps in a 25-yard pool. Yes, it did seem endless, especially at the halfway point. And it was made worse by the fact that I could smell bacon from a nearby restaurant. Nothing worse when you’re in the middle of competition, getting towards the low fuel point, than smelling bacon. It’s enough to make even vegetarians go wobbly at the knees.

My friend’s enthusiasm and dedication remain steady and strong. I have vowed to support him and help in any way. In a month or so, he says he will try his first 5K race. I’ll do it with him, no matter where it is. This is what friends do for one another when friends believe in each other.

I gave myself a bit of an absurd boost last week by buying nice running clothes. Yes, I really did. The person who thinks clothes shopping is akin to root canal or sitting through a lecture on automotive gear ratios. I thought it was time to invest in good-looking apparel; it might even help my running.

So I buy, and of course, we hit a cold spell. As in too cold for cute T-shirts and sweet little shorts. Back to the fugly sweat shirts, gloves and tights for a while . As is the case with running and swimming, timing is everything when it comes to retail.

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Filed under Exercise, inspirations, mental health, Running

I’m Doing WHAT With You?

Fun runners taking part in the 2006 Bristol Ha...

Fun runners taking part in the 2006 Bristol Half Marathon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A dear friend has decided to run a half-marathon. That’s 13.1 miles for you non-running types. The race is eleven months away. And he’s asked for my help.

Awwwwww, you’re all thinking. How nice that he thinks well of you. And that’s true. It is nice, and he does think well of me, as I do of him. But he wants me do races with him: 5K, 10K events, on up to and including a half-marathon in preparation for next year’s event.

Here’s the deal: I’m fine with the 5K and 10K and even some longer “oddball” distances, like four and eight-milers. As far as anything longer goes: been there, done those and hung up the distance running shoes on them. The reasons are varied. Age (I am a healthy distance over fifty), other sports interests (I bike for fun and swim competitively), time considerations (I’ve blogged about those enough) and work (two jobs, and looking to replace the full-time one with something I actually like). Oh, there’s a few cats, a house and The Husband at home, who might occasionally like a scrap of attention.

But being a thoughtful friend, I provided links to local races, an entry form for a race we could do together, the website for his closest running club. I also sent along some helpful information from Hal Higdon and Jeff Galloway, two marathon runners and coaches who provide sound running advice for newbie runners. Of course, I had to read the information from Higdon and Galloway first before sending it. Just to make sure it would be suitable, of course. And on one of their websites, I found a 32-week schedule for painlessly prepping for a half-marathon. Of course I printed it. I mean, I was just curious.

OK, fine, you figured it out. It’s posted on my fridge. I’m not new to pounding the pavement, but my last race over a 10K was last March. So as far as distance running goes, I’d be back to scratch. Sheesh, do I want to do this again? Am I willing to make the commitment not just to someone else, but to myself? Are things like sleep and social activities really that overrated?

Yes, yes and apparently, yes. Time to lace up and head out.

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Filed under Exercise, mental health, Running