So I officially registered for the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon on October 20.

It’ll be my 6th half marathon and first since giving birth to the twins.

When I first started running in college I ran out the door until I could no longer catch my breath, which, if I recall correctly, didn’t take very long. Considering I had a decent base to start with at the time (I took exercise classes regularly or used the elliptical), it wasn’t an impressive start. Gradually I increased the amount of time running and decreased the amount of time walking until I was able to run a mile. Then two. Then three. You get the point. I distinctly remember how excited I was the day I made it to five – it felt like a huge accomplishment.

Since I literally did not run one step for almost 10 months (and couldn’t exercise at all for 5), when I started running again I took the mind set that it would be much like I was starting over again. Luckily, building up the mileage has been much easier than I feared. I was able to run a full mile and a half on my first official run at 6 weeks post partum (ok, 5 and a half) and have been increasing distance ever since (currently up to 11!). My relationship with running has changed somewhat. Perhaps because its been a bit easier than I expected or because I missed it so much, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that I am just as excited to meet distance and speed milestones as I was when I first ran them.

I still run for many of the same reasons: to maintain health, for the camaraderie (a post on this to come), to relieve stress, and because it gives me a sense of accomplishment and challenge. It’s difficult to really explain, but with it I feel like myself. The biggest difference I’ve seen since the twins is that I appreciate it more – namely I appreciate the training and steps to get to the race as much as running the race itself. Since having to “start over”, I can really see theΒ  benefit of things like speed/hill work. Building up mileage is now more than just a means to an end – its also a gradual increase in my own strength and abilities. I can watch my body slowly change back. And now all of this has become more important than ever because I want to not only do this for myself but for my kids – I want to have something to share with them that involves some of the most important things to me. I want to be a good role model.

I’ve never actually followed a training plan for a half but since I’m finding that I actually now enjoy things like speed word I’m going to follow a loose plan that looks something like this:

Sunday: Long (or long ish) run of at least 8 miles

Monday: crosstrain (bike, rollerblade, elliptical)

Tuesday: off

Wednesday: speed/hill work on treadmill

Thursday: 3-5 mile run

Friday: off

Saturday: speed/hill work on treadmill or 3-5 miles

I’m not sure what the result of this half marathon is going to be. My half PR is 1:45 and while I’d love to beat that one day I’m sure 6 weeks from now is not the day, so I’m shooting for under 2 hours (roughly 9 min/mile). Long runs so far have averaged about 10:30 min/mile, however it has also been unbelievably humid and does not account for race atmosphere. Maybe it’ll happen and maybe it won’t but if it doesn’t this race there is always the next one.

No matter what happens I’m re-training and improving all around, and that is what really matters.

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Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon (2011)

Strong is the New Skinny

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