My First Half

I’ll be running the Get In Gear Half Marathon this weekend. This will be my first half marathon. My feelings on it are positive in general but still somewhat mixed. Let me explain.

See, I have done very little in the way of training. The reasons are several. The weather here has still been winter like. Temps in the low thirties and snow as recently as two nights ago. I usually have no issue with running in winter weather when it’s winter. But I’m so sick of it by this point that I absolutely refuse to run in it in the spring. Furthermore, I hate running on the treadmill. I find them disorienting and unrealistic. I can only do a couple of miles before I start feeling like a hamster.

In addition to this, I did not expect my overall recovery after the GORUCK Challenge to take as long as it has. It was not until about the end of last week that my knees finally felt well enough to get out there for any real distance at all. I’ve run a couple of times since, no more than 5k, and that was a challenge and much slower than my pre-GORUCK training pace.

Now, as an aside, I want to explain that I purposely put this half-marathon on the schedule for a month after the Challenge. In fact, I plan to put some big thing to train for about every month or so (next I’m heavily pondering is the Minneapolis Half Marathon in early June). The fact is that if I have nothing big to train for I fear I will lose the motivation to keep it up at all.

But, like I said, my feelings on this weekend’s half marathon are actually positive and optimistic.

First of all, I not only underestimated the recovery time I would need following the Challenge but I also underestimated how much it would change me mentally. A couple of days ago, I decided to break the “no running a week before the race” rule than many subscribe to and decided to go out and run a 10k. Not only did I keep near my regular 10k pace but I also found myself able to mentally push myself past points I would have slowed down or, even, walked it out for a bit in the past. It is often said that the GORUCK Challenge is all mental but you can’t really understand that until you do one. Then you get the idea of what it takes, mentally, to push past fatigue and discomfort. To “embrace the suck” as they say. Also, what it takes, mentally, to just keep going with no know end in sight. Eventually, you just forget about it ever ending, enter a state that is quite similar to meditation, and just let your mental auto-pilot take over. I experienced this once again on this 10k run. I got finished and felt like I still had plenty of fuel left to burn.

And, here is another thing I know. The Challenge took me 15 miles with a 45 pound ruck on my back and carrying parking barriers and logs for most of that in a thunderstorm. Therefore, I know I can run 13.1 miles with nothing but shorts and a shirt on. Even if I had to walk it I know I can complete it.

Lastly, it is forecast to be a beautiful day. The first we have had in a long time. Temps near 70 and sunny. What better way to enjoy it than with a great scenic morning run and 1500 fellow runners doing the same? I even have a few friends running the half as well and hope to meet up with them before or after.

So, I know this is a lot of “Inside Baseball” but, really, it is all just a note-to-self that says, “You got this. You’ll be fine.”

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