This morning I am running my third-ever half marathon. This one is the Ghost Town Half Marathon, which starts in Dilltown, PA and ends at Saylor Park in Homer City. Don’t you totally want to pack up everything and move to Dilltown right now?
Me either. Haha.
It’s not quite time to leave – I get really nervous about being late to the starting line, so even though the race doesn’t start till 8:30, I’m leaving before 7 so I know I have time to grab my race packet, pee a couple times, and warm up without feeling rushed. I’ve been late to one race before, and it was NOT fun! I ended up getting lost while driving there and when I arrived, all of the other runners had already started… They started taking down the cones while I was still running!!
That sucked, and from that day onward, I leave super ridiculously absurdly early for races so that I have plenty of time to get there and get acclimated.
I probably trained more diligently for this race than I’ve ever trained for any sort of race (Besides maybe Savage, and that is a hell of a lot of strength training), but I still only made it to 9 miles for my longest run leading up to this race. I tried to make 10 miles happen, but each time my legs just felt like lead/I ran out of time/it started storming/etc.
A lot of people would probably call those excuses, which they probably are. Haha. My biggest obstacle has been the legs-feeling-like-lead thing. I think that honestly might be more of a mental block than anything else, but it could also be because I am not the best when it comes to stretching and foam rolling (I always think of stretching/foam rolling as a pain in the ass, until I actually get a pain in my ass).
Also, excuse the language…. cussing gets me pumped up. Hehe.
I keep reminding myself that I’ve been really good with distance training (although not great with strength training) and pretty good with nutrition), and although I am really quite slow, I can conquer this race with enough mental strength. I know my legs can do it – they’ve done it before – and all of this hill work has really made my legs strong. This race actually has a net downhill grade, so it should actually feel easier than most of my long runs!
I mentioned that I am slow – right now I run between a 10 and 12 minute mile, depending on the distance and elevation. Long runs tend to veer more toward the 12 minute end, because I still haven’t quite figured out my perfect half marathon pace yet. 5Ks are no problem, and even 10Ks are no longer a big deal… but 13.1 is still a long ass way for me and pacing out that mofo is really difficult. I’m hoping I’ll come out of this with a solid time that I can improve on during training for my next race!!
It’s funny. I read something the other day in Runner’s Word that made me think about how myself and other runners perceive ourselves. We think that if we’re under a certain pace (say, a 9 minute mile) that we don’t deserve to use the word “runner” as a self-descriptor. The same article also mentioned that it doesn’t matter how fast or slow runners actually are – when they are training with a coach, a lot of runners will say, “I’m probably the slowest person you’ve ever trained”. Or when we’re running with friends, we apologize and assume we’re slowing them down.
Why do we do that?! It’s something that nearly all runners do (even the ones who run sub-7 miles or some other crazy time) – we doubt ourselves, minimize our ability, and constantly apologize for existing on the road/track/trail and assume we’re not worthy of the title. I am one of the worst offenders here!
So I propose that we do something radical and stop all the negative self-talk! It doesn’t matter if you are running a 7-minute mile or a 15-minute one, if you’re running 5Ks or half marathons or can only run a mile… if you’re out there sweating your tits off, getting stronger, pushing yourself, overcoming mental and physical obstacles… you are a RUNNER! 🙂
With all that said, I think it’s time to lace up and hit the trail… wish me luck!
I’ll probably post some pictures from before and after the race so you all can stare at my red, sweaty face and jelly legs for a while. You know you want to. 😉