I have spent much of the last 20 years protesting that I am not a runner. I’m athletic and like to work out, but running was just not for me. Sure I’d jog a mile and a half here and there as a warm up, but there just always seemed to be some activity available that was more enjoyable.
Flash forward to 2011. Except now, I hadn’t run at all (unless chased, or chasing down a mugger) in 10 years. I starting running a mile at a time, got stuck attempting to work up to 2 miles, and turned to Couch to 5k to get me over the hump. I did my first 5k on Thanksgiving and was hooked. I got up to 15 miles a week and started looking for other races. 5k! 10k! 10 milers! Half marathon?
For some reason, running 3.1 miles after training for 4 months made me think I could totally run 13.1 miles with only 3 more months of training. Right.
I started Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 Half Marathon program in December, with very few modifications. I didn’t do the suggested 10k “race”, and I did not run more than 9.4 miles at any time prior to the race. I pretty much always skipped Monday’s stretch & strengthen workout in favor of foam rolling in front of the TV. But I did otherwise stick with the program, steadily increasing my mileage and cross-training. I only missed workouts when I was legitimately sick (10 days in Jan and 3 days in March). Before the race, I ran a 10 minute mile for 2-4 miles, and a steady 11.5 minute mile for distances over 5 miles. My goal was to run that pace and finish in 2 hours 30 minutes, which I thought was ambitious considering first-mile congestion and the long hill in the middle of the race.
Look at this y’all:
These are my split times and average pace at the split markers. For the record, the split marker at 15k was at the top of the big hill. My partner and I maintained what we thought was a steady jog until we realized walking was faster. It did stretch out our legs and give our joints a break, but it would have been more welcome around mile 3 than mile 9.
My finish time of 2:17 was 13 min faster than my goal time of 2:30. I have to thank my running partner for that, as she pushed me harder and faster than I would have gone on my own. The last mile we were going hard at 7 minute mile pace (hitting a 7 minute mile at that point, going downhill, is likely why my hips hurt so bad today); I have never in my life run that fast.
Will I do it again? Maybe. Probably. Yesterday I said I definitely would, but I’m damn sore today, so we’ll see.