Feeling real

Holy cow, guys. I have 5 days until race morning. It seems so very close now. Part of me worries that I’m totally ready while the other part wants to get it over.

Last week was week 11 of the 12 week program. It was another week where getting all the time I needed for training seemed like a crunch. Sunday, I really took it slow and easy for 3 miles. My watch wasn’t cooperating with the GPS and gave me 1/4 mile out of nowhere. I made it up walking toward the end of the run. I wasn’t feeling terrible, but I wasn’t feeling great either. I didn’t feel good enough Monday to run the fun run like I normally would. Tuesday, I got the beginning of a migraine in the late afternoon that didn’t go away in time for me to make the group session. That was the first one I’ve missed. I felt guilty for missing out on the group run.

Wednesday night, my husband and I made up for my missed group run together. I must have still been a little tired from the weekend. The run was 4 miles with the middle 2 miles being speed work. I was sprinting between fire hydrants along the road and jogging every other sprint. The next mile, my bursts of speed were much shorter until I was running slowly trying to make it to 4 miles. It wasn’t exactly what I’d set out to do, but my husband said he was sore from it the next day.

Thursday was a special event social run that I attended. I ran with one of the mentors from my training program and she was really going at a faster pace than I normally run. Not long into the first 2 miles, I felt extremely worn out and did the rest of my running in irregular walking/running intervals just to make it 5 miles. The recommended run was 6, but getting 5 miles in was difficult enough. In my defense, it was a rather humid evening and I’m never at my best when it’s really hot out.

Friday was my day off and I had a pretty lazy day. I even planned takeout dinner so I didn’t have to cook. I picked up my race packet for a Glow Run 5k race Saturday night and then dinner. I took a nice, hot bath before bed for long run Saturday. I’m thinking this might be a great ritual to practice the night before I have a long run or race.

Saturday was 8 miles. Thankfully, the weather cooled and there wasn’t as much humidity. There weren’t very many people from the group at the run because of an event in another town that many people attended. I felt good for the long run. It was surprising because the two runs I’d had during the week were unpleasant. We went out for coffee afterwards and there was a sense of finality to it. Like, our morning ritual was coming to an end and it was kind of sad.

Saturday night, I had a 5k race in the dark on a golf course cart path. It was dark, wet, and there were plenty of hills. I was doing great the first mile. It was less than 10 minutes. As the course went on, I slowed down considerably. My legs realized what I was trying to do to them. By the time I crossed the finish line, I was sore and stiff. There was beer after the race, which was a great way to reward myself for all the hard work of the day. It was more refreshing because I felt like I deserved it and I earned it.

Sunday, I was sore and stiff and I barely moved around. I took a very long nap in the middle of the day. I counted the 5k race as my Sunday recovery run and I didn’t leave the house except to watch the kids play outside in the front of the house.

Last week, things made the race feel so much more real to me. Our group received a map of the course with bathroom, water, electrolyte, and nutrition stops marked on it. I held my breath as I looked  at the map of the course. The same course I ran last Sunday for 13.1 miles seemed new and different. I started feeling the ambivalence that I had in the beginning. I questioned whether I was ready to run this race and if I could meet up with expectations I’m not even aware of yet. At the group run, we discussed some race day preparations. It was like we were talking about things for someone else. I couldn’t have possibly been discussing myself coming out to race a half marathon. Except that was exactly what was happening. Everything we were talking about involved something that I’d be participating in and was preparing for. It seemed surreal.

I’m so happy that I set this goal. I’m not quite proud of myself because while I have run the 13.1 miles for practice, I haven’t run the race yet. I haven’t conquered my goal. With that on the calendar for less than a week from today, it is exciting and terrifying.

So, the next time I write about my journey to fitness, I’ll hopefully have completed my first half marathon race with hardly any stopping except for nutrition and hydration. That isn’t where my journey ends. This is ongoing and I’m already signed up for more races so that I keep up with my running. I will keep setting short-term goals to keep myself motivated for the long term.

I hope you find some type of inspiration from my posts. I’ve felt more confident in myself each time I complete a longer run on the weekends. I’ve made new friends for the first time in the 3 years since I moved here. I have something to look forward to with each long run and now with each race.

Have you found motivation? Have you grown confidence in yourself? I hope that you are challenging yourself.

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