Perhaps the six of you who check in regularly to this here little blog have noticed there have been fewer Tasty Places posts; or that my Burger Quest list is stacking up more slowly than you may have anticipated. While part of the reason is that the holidays have gobbled up my wallet/time/sanity, the BIG excuse is something in which I’ve started to take a little pride.
It’s my feet! My feet and legs and heart and lungs. They’ve been busy getting me ready to run my first half marathon in February (I blame my loca head). It was about five weeks ago, after bumping into one of my girlfriends with whom the conversation consistently falls to the three Ws – weight loss, working out, or wine. On this particular run-in, we got on the topic of runnin’ (that was a cheap one, I know) – how we “should” run; me: how I’m so NOT a runner but wanted to become one since a critical mass of work peeps were going to start training in January for next Fall’s Long Beach marathon (both full and half). “I can’t even run a mile straight,” I said, anti-bragging, reminded of the last time I’d gotten on a treadmill (and nonchalantly stepped off after an excruciatingly tiresome 5.5 minutes).
A day later, via Pinterest, my friend sent me a link to a 12-week half marathon training guide. That’s when I had a moment: a perceptible climb in confidence. “Only 13.5 miles?” a voice in my head said. “I’m a healthy 41 year old. How hard could it be? I’ll start … now!” And with that, I put on my New Balance sneaks and hit the pavement. I managed to do 1.5 miles before my feet refused to run any further. I stopped, disappointed in myself for not doing the three miles I had mentally set to do (though once the run began, I negotiated with myself to move the goal down to 2.5, and then to 2 … since I was a newbie runner).
While not proud of myself, I didn’t want this to be another one of those “things” where I try something and it sounds exciting and neat and cool, but I find a reason to give it up, moving on to the next “thing”. So the next day, I signed myself up for the Surf City Half Marathon in the city of Manhattan Beach in February (something a different friend of mine had urged me to do after I stupidly complained about the bike tour portion of the Long Beach Marathon being cut from 26.2 to 20 miles).
And I haven’t slowed down since. In fact, I’ve sped up, going from a pace of 11:30 minutes per mile on average to about 9:30. Following the training plan (I had to start on Week 2 to be ready for “D” day in February), I’ve steadily increased my pace and run length (I’m due to run 8 miles this Saturday, my “long” run day). Each week has been great because I’m able to say: “I just ran the longest distance I’ve ever run before!” And while I still don’t quite consider myself a “runner”[the so-called short 3 and 4 mile “easy” runs are still not so easy for me], I believe I will get there one day. With other stressful events going on in my life, running has become a calming constant that I’ve come to love (more so AFTER the run rather than DURING).
As for the Long Beach Marathon, I haven’t decided if I will do another half, or try for a full (we’ll see how February goes), but I know I’ll be there – not on a bike this year, but body glided up and firmly in my running shoes.
Surf City Marathon – February 2, 2014 (Full & Half)
Orange County Marathon – May 5, 2014 (Full, Half, and 5K)
Long Beach International City Marathon – October 12, 2014 (Full, Half, 5K, Bike Tour, Kids Fun Run)
Run all three races (half or full marathon) consecutively and receive the Beach Cities Challenge Medal.
Shout out to my awesome co-workers who are brave enough to join me in February for their first half marathons as well: Kristina, Nora, Sarady, and William.