Thirteen miles. It’s not a distance I ever thought I’d run. Yesterday, my training took me up to 12 miles and I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was hard. Ten miles the week before felt great–I had enough “kick,” as they call it, to run hard the last mile and I completed the run with an average of 10min30sec miles. But 12 miles–with my last 1.5 miles being slight, steady uphill, and I wanted to barf for the last 20 minutes. Why? I started too fast, then petered out, resulting in no kick at the end of my run, sorer muscles all around, and an icky feeling all over my body. I started out running my miles in under 10 minutes (not smart), but by the end I could barely keep my miles to 12 minutes. Lesson learned.
I knew I needed to pace myself to approximately 11-minute miles, but starting off downhill with a bundle of nerves didn’t do me any favors. I didn’t apply patience, even though I knew what I needed to do. Patience takes energy, and when you’re pushing yourself physically, sometimes even mental energy feels like it costs you too much. I guess that’s why they call it “training.”
And now it’s official. I’ve registered for my first Half Marathon, to take place March 28th in Cullowhee, NC at Western Carolina University. It’s called the Valley of the Lilies Half Marathon, a name I’m sure is well-intended, but knowing these mountains that time of year there’s a good chance it could be 38 degrees and icy. To be fair, perhaps there’s equal chance it will be in the upper forties and sunny. In either case, it won’t be hot, and that makes me happy.
I’ve know for a few months that this would probably be the race for me. Due to travel before and after, and cross-referencing those dates with my training schedule, the window of opportunity was fairly narrow. I’m grateful this race is only 2 hours from Celo (albeit it 3 1/2 hours, or so, from Mercy Me). I’ll likely spend the night before in a cheap hotel, to avoid having to wake up and drive extra early. Who needs to be folded in half in a car for two hours before trying to run 13 miles? Not me.
I now believe that I can run and finish a 13-mile race. What remains to be seen is if I can run it in a way that makes me feel proud–with an overall healthy pace and enough kick at the end to cross the finish line with dignity.