In February my training for my next half marathon, the Oklahoma City Memorial Run, begins. For the past couple of months I’ve been trying to develop a better training program than the one I sort of followed before my last half marathon. To say that my training for my last half marathon was lacking would be a supreme understatement. That last month of that training session I only ran a couple of times a week, usually one long run and one shorter run. And that is about all I did. It was pretty pathetic.
For this next half marathon I’m hoping to do better, and I’ve spent December and January trying to build my base. My plan includes running 3 times a week, a day of alternative cardio, and I’m also trying to get in a couple of days of strength training in as well…mostly because strength training is my absolute favorite. If I could only do strength training and run a half marathon I would be completely in my happy place. Unfortunately I cannot, and I have to get my runs completed.
Last week, however, I had one of my weeks like before…only getting in two runs. It’s weird what my brain does when I have one of those lazy weeks. I can come up with all sorts of excuses why I shouldn’t run. My daughter wanted me to stay and watch her swim practice. My running buddies were all unavailable. I should really take a rest day to rest my poor knee. But really I only had one legitimate excuse last week regarding all of the runs I didn’t show up for. The rest of them? I had allowed my old way of thinking, my old 40-year-old habit of self sabotage, to get in the way. I allowed myself to go back to the part of me that doesn’t like to run.
So why do I keep signing up for these half marathons if there’s a part of me that doesn’t like to run?
Well…to put it simply, I want to be able to run half marathons.
For me wanting to be able to finish a half marathon is the same as saying I want to be able to live a certain lifestyle. I want to have a certain type of marriage. I want to raise children that turn into certain types of adults. All of these things take work, sacrifice, and yes sometimes you have to do things that you do not want to do in order to get them. Sometimes you have to wade through the minutiae of every day living with only that goal in front of you to keep you going. And that is how I see my training for my half marathon.
For me my training is about the final race.
It’s about the medal.
It’s about the fact that I’m running my 3rd half marathon, and I will be 43 years old when I’m doing it.
It’s about when you look at me, you don’t necessarily see what you imagine a runner looks like, and being a runner despite of it.
It’s about the beer after the race with friends.
It’s about the laughs you have during the race with the same friends.
It’s about feeding my body and being confident in the power that it contains.
It’s about the celebration of life.
It’s about seeing the morning sun and feeling the crisp morning air blow past you.
It’s about the smell of the salty sweat drying on my skin.
It’s about the exhausted joy of tired muscles.
It’s about getting lost in your running music.
It’s about those few times when you get that rare runners high, hitting you like a bang and sending chills throughout your body.
It’s about the quiet you feel when you see a memorial sign on a runners back as they run for those who no longer can choose to run.
It’s about the joy you get for the rest of the day after the early morning run.
And sometimes it is about losing the joy of running for a while, forcing yourself early one morning before you have time to talk yourself out of it to run to exhaustion.
Back on track is where I am today after having forced myself to run hard this morning. Sure I still feel the failure of that lazy week nagging at me as I wallow in being my own worst critic. But for now I have this morning’s run. And tomorrow I’m meeting friends for strength training and a walk. And that’s my favorite. I’m really looking forward to that time.
Kelly Kinkaid enjoys writing about such topics as stretching a dollar, personal finance, diet and fitness, and living a life well lived. She spends all of her spare time in her many roles including but not limited to soccer, basketball, swimmer, band, and piano mom, runner and wife. You may contact her via e-mail kellyology(at)gmail(dot)com.