For a long time, I’ve always thought that I’d never be able to run more than six or seven miles. My knees would ache, my lungs would hurt from overexertion, and I’d feel like collapsing by the end of five miles. But I’ve always considered myself a runner. A runner who thought he couldn’t run a half marathon.
Somehow, after about a month of training, I’ve been able to run my first one. And completed it in under two hours.
Earlier this year, I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. Why not, right? After all, it would be quite the accomplishment!
So I set a goal for myself: Finish a half marathon by the end of this year.
Then I saw that someone had run one in less than two hours. Then I read that a sub-two hour half is “the golden ticket” to many runners. So I set that as my goal as well.
First, I had to buy new shoes. The ones I had been running with had taken a toll on my knees. I bought the Adidas Energy Boost 3 — I used to run in New Balance, but I’ve found the cushion in the Adidas Boost series to be the best for my knees!
I started logging my runs with Runkeeper — the app has definitely helped me think about my runs a lot more.
For the first two weeks, I tried desperately to run a lap around Prospect Park. The pathway runs approximately 3.5-.7 miles around. So that meant I was racking up roughly 14 miles a week. Then I tried to run my first 7 miles (two laps) around the park, which I did with some difficulty! I found myself reverting back to just one lap around the park for a few days until I worked up the courage to do two laps again. I learned from the two laps to pace myself accordingly. The uphill runs really helped with breathing, as I’d run up and try to keep a steady pace until I hit the peak and slow down on the descent.
Fast forward to last week Monday, (5/1). I decided to try for the golden ticket, but only managed to hit 10 miles. I felt like death by the eighth mile and wanted to quit, but I felt like I had to keep going…
I could barely finish a lap two days later, and I felt very fatigued.
Less than two weeks later, rejuvenated after resting my legs and loading up on carbs, I started my runs again, hitting two laps with consummate ease!
When I went for a run last night, I had told my friends that finishing a sub two hour marathon was my goal and that I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I also started a training regiment (burpees and squats on alternating days, plus my runs) to help my body get into shape.
When I run, I take mental notes about things to add to my to-do list and sometimes I listen to Spanish podcasts (or songs) to help increase my vocabulary. Not thinking about running helps me run.
But running for almost two hours, you’re going to be thinking about stopping. I wanted to stop around mile 10. I felt my knees becoming stiff and I could feel a slight sharp pain in my left knee. By the 13th mile, I was almost limping from the pain. When I stopped to walk, the pain slowly dissipated away.
My friend suggested I stretch, drink water, and take some electrolytes to replenish what I had lost. And not to run the next day.
Well, I did all those, and I don’t plan on running for at least four to five days. I will, however, continue with the alternating squats and burpees to condition my body until I can run again.
I was able to hit both of my goals at once using a steady routine and preparation. I’ve come to realize that pacing yourself is really important. (This is completely opposite of my impetuous nature!) And that setting your goals and sticking to them to develop discipline is important, too.
I don’t have anything wise to say to end it here, so I’ll leave you with this: find something you want to accomplish and visualize it in the form of a chart, or an app, and set attainable goals for yourself within a certain time frame. You’ll get there, but not without preparation, and that’s just as important as the journey.
(Here’s what the sky looked like after my run!)