Training Week One: 12.5 miles Completed

Training Week One: 12.5 miles Completed

The Unite Half Marathon is on April 22nd 2012.  It’s a Sunday.  I’m following a training schedule put together for me by my friend at work, Marathon Brian.  Brian ran the NYC ING Marathon this past November, so he’s my go-to person for advice on newbie running!  Having become a “google” expert on research, I have been scouring the net for Half Marathon plans for 1st timers.  I especially wanted one that gave me at least 16 weeks to prepare.

I found one and Brian helped fine tune the plan by starting me two weeks earlier, so as to build in a taper at the end before the race.  The taper allows me some time to rest and recover from training, so I am strong and rested come race day, April 22!

SO if you take April 22nd and back it out 18 weeks, my 1st week of Official Half Marathon Training started on December 19th, 2011.  That was week one.  Since the HM is on Sunday, my Training Weeks will run from Monday to Sunday.  The week breaks down like this:

~~ Monday – since it follows my Sunday long run, Monday is my short recovery run, usually between 1.5 and 2.5 miles

~~ Tues and Saturday are typically my off days– no running these days, but walking and cross training is good if I can fit it in.

~~ Wed, Thrs and Friday are runs between 2 and 3.5 miles each.

~~ and Sunday is my long run.  This week it was 5 miles.

So Week One totals up to 12.5 miles completed.  Ok, cool, impressive for Week One, but how did ya feel Diane?  How did it feel?

Well, in summary it felt — COLD.  LOL, yeah.  This was one of the single most important thing I feared taking on this HM challenge.  I knew that preparing for a Spring HM meant I would have to commit to running through the winter.  This is no small thing, I tell ya.  I’m the kind of person who doesn’t even want to walk my dogs once it gets cold.  They’re just gonna have to hold it until spring!   Committing to the HM meant I had to prepare myself with cold weather running gear that would help me GET ‘ER DONE!  I ordered a number of items from Under Armour — tights, mock necks, fleece, hoodie, headband, hat, gloves, socks, and then my husband bought me a North Face vest to put over it all for when it gets really cold.  I’ve been learning how to judge how much I need to wear at each temperature, because the only thing worse than being cold when you are running is being hot.  Layers, layers, and learning to peel them off while you are moving — it’s a skill!

Otherwise, I felt great with all my short runs.  I was kind of nervous about my long run.  But why Diane, you’ve run 6 miles — why worry about 5 miles?  Well, the first component of the long run is how far you have to go.  The other dynamic about the longs runs is where to go?  Up until now, I have been running multiple loops around the streets of my immediate neighborhood, and well….it’s kind of getting boring.  So, I’ve decided to continue running my short runs in the local streets, because it’s easy to do, and easy to get home, and get ready for work.  But on Sunday — I’m going to start branching out.  So Peter and I scoped out other options that were between 2.5 and 3 miles away from home.  Marathon Brian once told me that he liked running somewhere and then turning around and coming back — rather than planning a run that circled around from start to the finish, ie a straight path home.  He suggested there was something psychologically satisfying about reaching the mid-point of your run, and then turning around and going back over the path you KNOW, because you just ran it.

So, Peter and I mapped a path for my Sunday run that has me going through residential areas, so I feel safe, and I’m basically running to our local ShopRite — about 2.5 miles from home.  The good news is, as my Sunday long-runs extend from 5 miles to 6, 7, gulp 9, 10 and {sweating} 11 miles — I can extend this route and it keeps me in safe, enjoyable places that are not unfamiliar to me.  All this made me feel better about where I was going.

With all that under foot, I was ready, prepared, for my first Sunday long run — which just happened to be Christmas Day 2011.  I woke up super early, 4am, mainly because I was nervous about everything I had “to do” this day.  So I got out of bed, and got started on all the little things.  I turned on the tree lights, lit a fire in the fireplace, let the dogs out and fed them, made myself some coffee and ate a banana, turned on the Christmas music station on the cable TV and checked that all Santa’s chores were done.  The stockings were stuffed — check.  The presents were under the tree — check.   There were even bones in the dogs stockings – check.  Everything was set — and  I had a date with a Turkey in the fridge.  I set about making my Mother’s stuffing and preparing the Christmas Turkey.  The oven was on.  I was a bread toasting, onion and celery sauteing machine.  An hour later, I was done and Peter and the girls were stirring from their sleep because of all the delicious smells filling the house — who could blame them.  It smelled like Home.  

We had Christmas together, just the four of us.  The girls were all giggles and smiles.  Grateful and overwhelmed with their iPod Touch’s and other gifts.  In my mind’s eye, I could still see the little babies they once were, and yet marvel in the young ladies they are becoming.  While we all missed Grandma and Aunt Debbie, and Doug, Paloma and Baby Sylvia in Florida, it was a quiet, but enjoyable Christmas at Home.  And this year, we needed a solid dose of Home.  We were together, with our Douglas Fir, and our own stockings over our own fire — Peter even took the time to buy me some Weight Watchers 1 point-a piece Toffee candies for my stocking.  Now THAT’s love, I tell ya.

Once everyone was settled, playing with their new-found gadgets and gizmos, I slipped upstairs and got myself into my winter running gear and headed out on my 5 mile route.  I told Peter if I wasn’t back in a little over an hour — come looking for me.   After my 5 min warm up walk, I was off and running, literally.  It never fails. The first 500 steps create this immediate reaction in my mind and body.  “OMG, I can’t do this.  I should go home.  I’m cold and I hate this.”    This is when I have to dig deep and let my inner Coach come out.  It’s a skill I have had to develop for myself along the way in this journey.  The ability to step out of myself and my immediate feelings and rationally encourage myself to do something I don’t want to do.  Talk about HARD.  But there I am, Coaching myself.  Wild.  Weird.  Wonderful!!!      “Easy Diane.  Easy.  This is normal.  It always feels like this in the beginning.  Give yourself time to let your breathing settle down.  Let yourself find your stride.  You KNOW it’s there.”  And so, I continue with the huffing and puffing, until…..well, until it stops.  And there I am…In My Stride.  Running.  Feeling like I can do this.  It’s like Magic, I tell you.  And the Amazing part is — IF I had quit when the other feelings were screaming in my brain.  STOP. QUIT.  GO HOME.   If I had quit then….I would never have felt the Magic.  THIS — this is part of the wonderment of running that spurs people to run HM’s and Marathons.    I get it now.

So here is the rest of the story.  Of course I finished my run.  It was never in question, except in the depths of my own fear and self doubts.  It took me 1 hour, 1 minute and 33 seconds.  Later in the day on Christmas Day, I was stiff and sore, like I fell down the stairs.  LOL.  I felt a little better the next morning, but I felt even better after I ran my recovery run.  Yep — the cure for stiffness caused by a long run is (you guessed it) MORE RUNNING!  LOL.  It’s a conspiracy!!

But in total, it was a terrific week, Week One.  I have a schedule at home on our family cork board in the kitchen, where I mark off my run, day-by-day.   Week One Complete — 12.5 miles.  I feel so proud that I did it.  I feel so encouraged by how strong and capable I felt.  I try not to look too far ahead in the plan, so the longer and longer runs don’t overwhelm me.  I take it day by day, week by week — and I really feel like I’m going somewhere.  Because remember, it’s not only about getting out there and going for miles and miles — it’s also about where you are going!!  Enjoy the journey!!

Ciao for now….Diane

3 Responses »

  1. Hi Diane, what a beautifull story,i had tears in my eyes. It’s so great reading about your running “fights” ! I quit running but only for now, i was too busy with all the Christmas things i had to organise at work and at home. I know, its no excuses but still ……. I Will start all over again in the New year. You’re my inspiration, if you can do it with all you’re hard work , i can to ( i hope ) . I’m sooooo very proud of you Sis !!! Love you xxxx

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