I’m breaking from song titles this week. But many will know the significance of this number. Two weeks ago, I completed my first half-marathon (13.1 miles). My goal was to complete the race in 2:30, which translates to about 11:30-minute miles. I crushed my goal with a time of 2:17:21! That’s one mile per minute faster. There’s a video clip of me crossing the finish line. I’m the one in the fluorescent yellow top and magenta skirt.
I learned a lot through the experience of training for a half-marathon.
1. We have a saying at work “Plan the work and work the plan”. I received a half-marathon training guide and I can count on one hand the times I either missed a run or modified it. I used an advanced plan and each run had a purpose. Speed, tempo, and endurance. I went from running about 11:30-11:00-minute miles to averaging about 10:30-minute miles.
2. As old as Aesop’s “The Tortoise and the Hare”, slow and steady wins the race proved true for me. OK I didn’t “win” in the gold medal, crown of laurels way. However, I ran a consistent pace of 5.8 MPH. And I ran the entire way. The closest I came to walking was taking a few walking steps to connect with someone at a water stop.
3. I love running. That is not a phrase that would have EVER come out of my mouth a year ago. But about mile 10 I was running toward South Mountain. The weather was perfect – overcast, mid-sixties, and a slight breeze. We couldn’t have had better weather. I was at my steady 5.8 pace enjoying passing the buildings of mid-town Phoenix thinking, I am really having a good time. It was about the point when I stopped being passed and started passing others.
4. The race was a trip down memory lane. My husband and I lived in the Phoenix metro area for eleven years. There was the hair salon where I traded off seeing two awesome stylist cousins. One if not two projects my husband worked on at his last job. The fair trade coffee house I snarkily dubbed “The Communist Coffee Company” (because that’s how I roll). I could all but picture being pregnant with a toddler and meeting my husband for a no-fat latte. And a later visit where I held hands with a now preschooler while pushing an infant in a stroller. A few favorite restaurants. The Old Spaghetti Factory where we celebrated my husband’s grandfather’s 90th birthday. The restaurant we ate at the day our daughter came home from the hospital. The Mexican and Thai restaurants where we’ve eaten with visiting friends and family.
5. Half-marathons are addictive. I’m already thinking about running one scheduled for February. Originally, I planned to run the Rock ‘N’ Roll half-marathon but there’s a scheduling conflict. As I mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago, my favorite thing to do is downhill ski. The race is MLK weekend so there’s no way I’m leaving the mountain because holiday weekend means night skiing. So I’ll be hitting the slopes on either a date night or evening of family fun.