Sunday, April 15, 2012

This just in....I might be a runner!
Greetings and salutations everyone! As you may have been able to figure out, I ran a second half marathon, the Palmetto Half Marathon in Columbia, South Carolina, this weekend. Unlike my previous attempt, I wasn't sick for the ten days prior to the run, which, I assure you, was to my advantage! That said, the two weeks leading up the half, my brain really wasn't in training mode. I was pretty ready for the half to be over the day before it began, but on race day, it was quite obvious that I was far more prepared than I thought I was.

I changed up my running schedule a bit after the Augusta Half in late February. I still only ran three days per week. My long run was always on Sunday (building to my longest run of 11.2 miles 3 weeks prior to the half), I did a short, but faster, 3 mile run on Tuesdays with another 2 miles of hill work afterwards where I simply would run up hills in the area that take between 30-60 seconds to climb, walk down, turn around, run up, turn around, run get the picture. I really believe that my Tuesday runs helped my training substantially. Friday runs were generally 4 miles at a leisurely pace. I'll admit, though, that my Tuesday and Friday runs (which I had to do after work) were a BEAR compared to Sunday's runs of 10+ miles. I'm not a huge fan of running at the end of the day. Another thing that I think REALLY helped my ability to chug up the hills in Columbia was that I started a fitness program called Les Mills Pump. It's a strength training program that is very similar to the Body Pump classes offered in gyms around the world. All of those squats, lunges and dead lifts with the barbell really did make a HUGE difference.

My sister (who graciously agreed to run another half with me although she says, "I'm too old for this crap!") and I had to drive to Columbia on Friday evening to pick up our packets and figure out where to go for the race. You wouldn't think it would be difficult to find an indoor sports complex that was next to a large shopping center, but after an hour of driving in circles, we finally found our way! Of course, that meant we didn't get home until after 8:30 p.m. and had to be back on the road at 5:00 a.m. the next day for a 7:00 a.m. start time.

The day was absolutely gorgeous with PERFECT running weather. It was chilly in the morning, but I figured that I'd be warm enough by mile 2...and I was right. I actually ran the first 7 miles non-stop, which is pretty rare for me. There's still something in my head when I run more than 3 miles that tells me I need a very short walk break (we're talking 20 steps of walking) every now and then. I didn't feel the need and had a really good pace for the first 7 miles, even running mile 6 in UNDER NINE MINUTES--Go me!!!

The course was hilly, but didn't involve any butt burners like the two that haunted me during the Augusta Half Marathon. The best part was that once I hit mile 11, I didn't crash and burn like I did 6 weeks ago in Augusta. Sure, I was tired, but I actually felt pretty good, even in the uphills. I finished the last 3 or 4 miles with a great group of people who were all about encouraging one another to keep going. I crossed the finish line strong, and if forced, could have run a few more miles. I'm glad I didn't have to, though!

In Augusta, I finished in 2:18:08 (and according to my GPS app, the course was actually 13.3 miles). In that race, the final 3 miles were pretty pathetic. It was serious agony and I had major battle waging inside of my head in order to force myself to shut up and keeping running. In Columbia, my chip time was 2:12:20 (and according to the same GPS app, the course was 13.39 miles). I had to have a couple chats with my legs during a few uphills, but it was a much better running experience for me. It's quite clear that even though many of my training runs felt as though I was in my own personal hell, the training I did prepared me for the challenge.

Now that the dust has cleared, I think I can say that I am a runner. Do I LOVE it? No, not really, but I do enjoy my runs once I get started and I appreciate the feeling of accomplishment I have after I finish a run. I'm never going to be one of those people where running is 'easy,' but I can definitely put one foot in front of the other and keep going for quite awhile.

What's next, you may be wondering? A month ago, when my running training was going REALLY well, I contemplated a full marathon in the fall. However, that moment of running euphoria vanished about 19 hours after it popped into my head. I just don't know that I want to take the time it would require to be able to run 20+ miles. I'll be signing up for 2 or 3 half marathons in the fall (I'm tentatively looking at a half marathon in Athens, GA in October, the City of Oaks half marathon in Raleigh, NC, in November and the Columbia (SC) half in December). I'll run through the summer just to keep my 'running legs' and start back up with a real training schedule in August.

For those of you who are saying, "I could never do that." Think again. Seven months ago, I couldn't run for 1/2 of a mile. Couch to 5K is a great program for getting a 3 mile base on anyone. From there, the running world is yours based on what you want to accomplish.


  1. ...and again, for those of you who say "I could never do that", get a buddy! Your training goes better when you are running with a friend...or sister!

  2. Congratulations! Yes, you are a runner. You were months ago, silly. And yes, you should train for a marathon.

    I hope your recovery is well. And don't worry about walking during a race. Heck, even the great Jeff Galloway promotes walking breaks. I am even testing a method of walking for one minute every mile.

    Again Congrats!!!!