Monday, September 2, 2013

Pre Half Panic


Dear readers, my first half marathon is in two weeks.  I have been running regularly all summer and I feel good about what I've accomplished, but I'm not nearly where I should be in terms of milage.  When I made my training schedule, I pencilled in a 12 mile run for this past weekend.  You know what I did yesterday?  3 miles - half of which was walking.  (Actually, I'm not going to feel guilty about that because I took a very sweet young Lab Rescue foster out with me; he needed to release some serious energy but isn't with a running family, so I borrowed him for an hour to help out!  But I wasn't sure where his limits were so we took it easy.)  I'm determined to knock out 7 miles today - it's definitely better than nothing, but I'm a bit disappointed in myself.

In hindsight, I think I overestimated my ability to stick with my training schedule in the weeks leading up to the wedding, which was when I had planned to start going beyond 7 miles for my long runs, and I underestimated the disgustingness of DC's summer.  It's been miserably hot and humid for most of the summer, as I should have expected, but I assumed I'd be able to power through it with the sheer force of my enthusiasm.

I was wrong.

My hopes for the half haven't changed, though, and I am confident* that I'll finish.  I never wanted to run the whole thing; I always planned to do intervals all the way through with Megan, my guru, so that's fine.  And my goal time is still to come in under three hours, which means that I need to keep my pace below a 13:43 mile.  (I'm slow by any definition, but I'm generally at least a minute/mile faster than that.)  As long as I finish the race propelled by my own two feet, I'll feel that it's been a success.

So here's my revised plan for the next two weeks.  I don't tweet and/or Instagram all of my runs because that seems a little smug, but I will through next Saturday.  I need to be held accountable for this!  (For the record, today's 7 miler will be done after dark - it's going to be in the low 90s and humid all day so I want to wait until the rain's come and the grossness has broken.  Don't check up on me until after 9am EST!)  Assuming nothing unfortunate happens between now and then, on September 14 I'll be running 5.1 miles more than the maximum distance I've ever completed.  But hey, that's what the adrenaline is for, right?  Say yes, please.

I know some of you are runners, so do share any pre-race tips you have!  I've already learned from horrible experience that eating leftover Chinese food for dinner the night before is a bad idea...

*You might have noticed that my September editorial calendar includes a post, scheduled for September 16, titled "Half Marathon Success."  I am nothing if not optimistic!

41 comments:

  1. Good luck, this summer I did a 5K which is obviously way way less than a half marathon but I barely did any training and still finished great with the boost of adrenaline being at the race gave me and I am sure with all you are doing you will be fine!

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  2. Good luck! My exercise capacity is still bordering on the very awful. My sister is running a half next Sunday and my mother is doing one in October - I need to get my self in gear!

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  3. I give you lots of credit just for entering this race. I'm not at ALL a runner and think that people who run voluntarily are so impressive!! Go you!!

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  4. I have no advice because as much as I have tried I hate running - but I know you can do it!

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  5. I can't offer any advice, but I actually need some advice from you! I've started the C25K app and it's just SO hot here in Texas that I gave up halfway through because I couldn't breathe. Mind you, this was at 8:30 p.m. Any suggestions on training in heat?

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  6. Generally early morning is better than after (or during) sunset because the ground and air aren't still holding the heat from the day - can you try running before work? I don't like treadmills, but another option IS taking the program inside, which would help with the temperature.


    And I'm definitely not a doctor, but next time you run pay attention to when you start having trouble breathing and what it feels like. Is it possible that it's not because of (or entirely because of) the heat? It could be a health thing that's exacerbated by the heat - I had asthma as a child and I almost never feel it anymore except when it's super humid, so it's really a safety thing to avoid running then


    but WOO this is exciting! good luck :)


    (I started my C25K program during an English Christmas, so I had the opposite problem! It was cold and wet ALL THE TIME.)

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  7. haha I'll take your confidence! thank you :)

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  8. my grandfather, the morbid "you're going to get diabetes" cardiologist, would say that it isn't voluntary, but I like the way you see it :) thank you!

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  9. you can do it - everyone starts somewhere!

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  10. oh man, 5ks are fun! I hope you had a good time :) that rush that pushes you through is the BEST.

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  11. My best half marathon advice or to splurge on fancy cushy running socks! I love Thorlos. Once you get a blister, its all downhill from there!
    Also I totally feel you on the difficulties of training in the summer. I learned the hard way that I need to stick to spring and fall races after signing up for a half last year over labor day weekend. The summer heat just kills my motivation and running is much less fun for me when I'm so hot. I don't like feeling like I'm torturing myself when working out!
    I'm confident you'll have no problems finishing, and you can use this one to set your goals for your next one!

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  12. Woohoo!! You will have a great time - and the end will give you an accomplishment buzz like nothing else!! Okay, enthusiasm given, I'm going to give my fitness trainer nerd time to talk:


    So 1) give yourself time and resources to prep! Make sure your shoes fit right with no rubbing and that they're comfortable, and you have the cushy socks Kelsey suggests or some inserts inside. Stretch. Do take a little warmup time both day-of and day-before, because going into a race with cold muscles sucks. Make sure your clothes are comfortable, too, and don't rub.


    And 2) start hydrating, resting up, and eating right at least two days before. You can't drink a lot of water prior to a race and be okay. Proper hydration is a combination of eating good food {look at salt content, it helps you hold the right amount of water} and drinking a steady amount of water over a period of 48 hours. And SLEEP. It's essential for proper muscle and tendon regrowth. You just don't build your body back the same way awake as you do sleeping.


    That being said, I'm terrible at following this advice. My last half marathon was on St. Patrick's Day and I powered through it despite being out for all the NYC St. Patrick's Day festivities the day before. Blergh! Let that serve as a horrible, horrible warning. Don't do that.


    Excited to see you tackle this challenge, and I'll be cheering you on from the Twitter section!!

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  13. Run, Betsy, run! And hydrate and stretch and smile. And get yourself some BlisterShield, if you don't already have it.


    Look forward to reading that post on the 16th!

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  14. I'm so pumped for you! Crossing that finish line is the BEST feeling ever. I know you just got married, and that was pretty great, but for real. Trust me. You have never felt so hard core in your life. My best tip is the food thing, which you already mentioned: for the love of everything holy do NOT eat fiber starting like 3 days before the race. Also, plan for time for a pre-race bathroom stop. The lines get crazy long. Also.... don't get caught up in the excitement of the start and start out too fast. You have a long ways to go, so don't spend all your energy at the beginning. Can't wait to hear all about it!

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  15. You've got this! No advice, just have fun and push yourself as far as you're comfortable- you'll be surprised by what you can accomplish!

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  16. hey betsy! long time reader, first time commenter! Just wanted to say 1) LOVE your blog 2) COngrats on your marriage! 3) I was SO impressed by your organization with your editorial calendar. If you ever need a post idea, I would be interested to learn more about how you structure your blogging life; how far in advance you plan your posts, how far in advance you write your posts, how long each post takes you to write, how you come up with ideas for what to blog about etc. I'm also interested in learning more about how you merge your blog with your real life; you've mentioned Jon is a reluctantly willing blog participant, but how do the rest of your family/friends feel about being mentioned in your blog? Do you clear it with them each and every time you post a picture/story that contains them? Let them read it/photo approve first? Just things I am always curious about. I feel like of all the blogs I read, you in particular do an amazing job in diversifying your blogging genres and topics, thereby making your blog a consistently interesting and engaging read.

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  17. HELLO! welcome to the wonderful world of commenting here :) and thank you for the compliments and congratulations and especially for the ideas!


    So in terms of the organization of my blog life... I'll admit that there's the ideal and then there's what happens the other half of the time, but I'll definitely do a post about it!


    The other part of your question is trickier, obviously. How do you write about people not wanting to be written about? haha :) But I like the challenge! It might actually clarify things for everyone involved in real life, you know? I'll do this - thanks!

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  18. Good luck!! You can do it! I remember the first 1/2 I did - I just kept thinking to myself... it's only one foot in front of the other - something you've been doing you're whole life! You are going to feel like a million bucks when you're done!!

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  19. The very first race I did EVER was the Disney Princess Half Marathon. And a few weeks before I got quite lazy with my training. If it makes you feel better, I still did the whole half and did better than I expected! I needed to walk a bit here and there, but that was more because I needed to walk off the urge to use the Porta-Potties (the lines for those were waaay to long). I never did more than 8 miles in my training for that one or my 2nd half marathon. (Maybe if I did stick to a plan I'd do even better...something to work on haha) I think you're going to totally kill it and be more amazing than you expect. Taylor from Running Across the Pond gave me the tip of putting ice in my water bottle because the cold really helps when running. If you're carrying a bottle that is! Can't wait to read all about it!!! Oh and if you're half is in the DC around around the 15th, let me know, I'll come cheer you on since I'll be in the area! Xx

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  20. You will do great! I like that completion is what you're focusing on giving how much you've had going on and what a SUMMER it has been. I'm training for my first 10k (just 6.2 miles) and it's been nothing short of hell most of these summer days to get outside and run - on a trail in the blazing sun no less.


    Sending you LOTS of good vibes. And also, I think it not showy at all to post things about your daily runs if it helps to keep you motivated and in tune with a running community. For me, it has helped greatly in accountability and motivation.


    xx,

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  21. I am not so sure you want to be sticking with me, as I'm not convinced I can keep that goal pace with you for the entire time, given my recent injuries and subsequent lack of training. That said, we should definitely start out together and see how it goes. Actually, running with Jen might be a better bet for you. She's fast and can totally get you to that sub-3 goal, even if she drags you kicking and screaming!

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  22. let's definitely start together! turns out I'm HORRIBLE at pacing myself for the first mile or two, so maybe that will be good :)

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  23. OH MAN I NEED THOSE. also a real water bottle. methinks a trip to the running store is in order... thank you for the push :P

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  24. I'm going out to dinner with Megan and Jen and a bunch of other very experienced runners, so I'm hoping they'll guide my last meal choice :) that race is only an hour away from where I live, but we're going down the afternoon before and will stay overnight (with some girls coming from farther away) so we can make sure to get a good night's sleep!


    and noted: no races on St. Paddy's Day :P

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  25. WHAT IS BLISTERSHIELD? sounds lifechanging.

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  26. haha I believe you - walking down the aisle was probably a piece of cake compared to this!


    and... no fiber at all? what about my PRP? ah!

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  27. Ha! Well, I mean you can eat fiber. I just wouldn't carry around a bowl of grapes the week before. Let's just say I've had some close calls on the bathroom, and waiting for a Port-o-Potty during the race is no fun.

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  28. Run and get this now! (No pun intended.) Made by 2Toms. Should be at your local running shop. Can also be found on amazon; look for either 'BlisterShield' or 'SportShield'. Has saved my tootsies many times. x

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  29. girl, you crazy :P

    and the race is in Leesburg, VA on the 14th! if you're in the area, it should be REALLY fun. look: http://www.runlikeadiva.com/Events/Divas_Half_Marathon____5K_-_DC_s_Wine_Country.htm awesome, right? even if you're not running!

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  30. there is no JUST about a 10k! you rock it :)

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  31. That looks like a FABULOUS first half marathon!! You get to pick up a boa and tiara on the run!! Also, I fully support any run that has champagne at the end. Win. I have a bday in the afternoon. I shall see who I can wrangle up and we'll come out with signs. I'll aim to be around 12 mile marker. Always need spectator's at that point! Good luck!!!

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  32. I love that quote!!! It's sooo true!

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  33. I have no running tips, soo....


    YOU ARE A SUPERSTAR!
    (that's on my sign. so consider this me, at mile 10, cheering for you.)

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  34. I agree 100% with your definition of success! As long as you finish on your own two feet, you are a winner in my book! Proud of you Betsy! x

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  35. Heck yes! I almost cried when I saw random strangers spectating the Disney Half when barely anyone else was around with silly signs that say stuff like "hey stranger, you're amazing" or funny things. It works as an amazing way to distract you when running. So I always wanted to spectate a half at some point!

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