I’ll Take My Halfs

So ALL my mother runner friends (note: I’m a first born child and prone to extremes and exaggeration) seem to be keeping a blog about their training, so I decided to join in. Peer pressure, you know.

My friends Melanie and Kim (among the blogger gals) were discussing whether or not we intended to run half or full marathons after the Pittsburgh (half) marathon, which were training for and is a few weeks away. Kim thinks that she’s “done” with the distance after this, as her work and mommy schedules make it difficult to training during the school year – and it’s just too dang hot in the summer when she’s off. We also talked about whether or not any of us would ever consider training for a full marathon.

I think each of us could physically do it some day. But I’m not sure if I’d want to. I occasionally think, “Yeah, I’d like to be able to say that I ran a full marathon.” Most of the time, however, I’m confident my life with be perfectly complete without 26.2 on my bucket list.

Things may change in the future. My kids will be less hands-on. They’ll be older. As will I. I know that there are people who set out to run their first full marathon at 50. Or 60. Only time will tell if I have the desire and ability to attempt it a few years from now.

For the time being, I’m content to focus on some more half marathons and setting different goals for that distance. In other words, I’ll just take my halfs.  Which makes me the half-wit (because you have to be at least a little daft to do this) mother runner.

Quick rundown of my experience with the half so far.  I’ve run one and finished two of them. The first was last September on a nearly-flat trail, out and back. I finished in 2:23. Here are my friends and I just after we finished.


Montour Trail Half (Me, Letty, Kim, Melanie)

I was hoping to finish in under 2:20, but I told myself that I would be satisfied as long as it didn’t take me longer than 2:30 – primarily because I just didn’t want to do anything for more than two and a half hours. (I would have finished in under 2:20 had it not been for a weird bathroom stop where I didn’t even need to go – long story.)

About a month later, I registered for the 2013 Pittsburgh half marathon (May 5).  I think I have it in me to run a two-hour half at some point, but I didn’t want to get too ambitious and set myself up for failure.  I figured I’d be thrilled if I could take 10 minutes or so off my time and, therefore, finish closer to two hours than two and a half hours.

There’s a whole long story here about how I also got the cra-zy idea to run (not race) another half marathon on March 30th – as a long run in prep for the Pittsburgh half.  But then had foot issues and took a two-week break.  I decided to show up at the race (which also had 5K and 8.1 mile race options) and just run as far as I felt I could.

Melanie, Kim, & I at the Start

 I was hoping to hold up for 8.1 miles, but as I was approaching the finish/lap area, where I’d decide to stop at 8.1 or continue on another five-mile loop, two things happened:
  1. I thought, “That five-mile lap didn’t take me that long, even though I was going slow and walking a lot.  I think I can do that again.”
  2. I saw some young guy who’d already finished, carrying his medal.  Which was WAY bigger and shinier than any I already have.  And I thought, “THAT looks pretty [expletive!] cool!” (In fact, I may have said this aloud.)

I kept going.  This was a great plan until about mile 10 when everything started to hurt.  I had to walk most of the last three miles – reserving enough to run across the finish line, natch.  The whole time I was trudging along, I pretty much thought only two things:  A) Just keep going.  All I have to do is finish, and B) I am STILL lapping everyone on the couch!

It seems like a dubious accomplishment to finish your second half marathon 33 minutes slower than your first, but I’m pretty damn proud of myself for sticking it out.  Sure, I was crossing the finish line with the slower runners among the 30K racers, but I still felt like a total badass.

Remarkably, I also feel like I can’t wait to cover – anyway I can – 13.1 again.

Can you believe they gave me this?


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