13.1 miles around my favorite city

February 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

I ran the half with my good friend and co-worker last Sunday and it was an incredible experience. We finished in about two hours and ran the whole time, which was my goal. I’ve never been much of a runner, only doing it to stay in shape and as a supplement to dance classes. It was always a tedious half hour that involved schlepping out to the treadmill and burning off a few hundred calories. THEN one of my best girlfriends and I were convinced by another friend that we should do the Cap 10K. We started running together about four times a week outside and the whole sport became a lot more enjoyable.

Running was no longer this awful way to burn off dinner, it was an hour that I got to spend with my best friend gossiping and enjoying each other’s company. We ran the 10K and were proud of ourselves for finishing 6 miles. Looking back, 6 miles doesn’t seem that hard, but at the time it was a major milestone. If running one mile seems challenging right now, just push yourself to make it that far and keep building off of that momentum. Each week you’ll feel stronger and have more energy.

 Training for the half was a whole other beast in itself because I trained by myself and it required a larger time commitment. When I signed up, I was about to graduate and the idea of not having any extracurriculars terrified me. Free time?!! I thought the half could serve as an outlet for my spare energy. When December hit and I graduated, I did start enjoying a bit more free time. Most of my life was (still is) filled with work and other obligations, but my weekends are fairly open. However, forcing myself to get out in the cold and run for what seemed like forever was not incredibly enjoyable. Sometimes it was raining on top of being cold and all I wanted was my bed and a book. Or my fabulously fun co-workers would talk me into happy hour and putting on my tennis shoes and running 5 miles after drinking a couple of margaritas almost made me die. I did it, but I was hating myself the whole time.

Basically I wasn’t exactly as dedicated as I should have been to the whole training thing. One of my friends stops drinking completely when she’s training………………………….this is fine, except I only turned 21 in July and I’m having fun exploring the whole new world of cocktails. I’m not willing to give up that part of my social life to run and I don’t think you have to.

About two weeks before the half, Scorcese and I went on a long run. We only did 10, because I was told that the extra 3.1 would come when it was time. I’m glad that I waited to run the whole thing because those last 3 miles were the best. They sucked big time for obvious reasons, but the high I got from completing them put me over the top.

The actual race was more fun than I had anticipated. I was looking forward to it, but I was more like, “Okay here we go. Let’s get this two hours over with. It will be 9 a.m. before I know it and I can eat whatever I want.” BUT, it was really a good time. The path went throughout my favorite parts of the city, hitting South Congress, the lake, Enfield and of course, the capital. Cheering crowds covered the sides of the course, helping with adrenaline and encouragement. Signs like, “You’re almost there!…That’s what she said!” made me laugh and forget about any physical pain for a minute. I also bonded with my co-worker on a level that we can’t just get from working together. We had to encourage each other throughout and I was so thankful to have her with me.

With the finish line in sight, all pain disappeared because I knew my parents, boyfriend and best friend were all waiting for me and cheering me on. A surprise extra surge of energy pushed me forward and in a second it was over. Depleted and disoriented, I got my medal and found everyone.

Scorcese told me that the best part of running that much was that I could eat whatever I wanted after. We went to Austin Diner and while the food was great, I mostly enjoyed seeing my family. I think I’ll definitely keep running these things if my parents come up!

If you have any inkling of a desire to run a half marathon, I highly recommend it. Training helps you stay in shape and running the actual marathon makes you feel powerful and strong. I wish any future runners the best of luck! You can do it!

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