Where I’ve Been – Crafting and Half-Marathoning

Hello my little blog.  Since I’m paying for a domain name, I might as well update this thing every once in awhile, eh?

So, if there is anyone who read this blog with any sort of regularity (anyone? ::crickets::), then you may have noticed my absence.

I just got tired of blogging. I needed a break.  I started blogging in a smaller space and I have been enjoying that.  Just purging my thoughts like I did in the old days, not caring about a “point.” But I don’t even update that blog with any kind of regularity. I am just focused on other things these days.

Like-

I’ve been doing a lot of crafts (mostly cross-stitching, with some crochet thrown in there).  Boyfriend and I have a group of friends we play Magic: the Gathering with, and I won’t even go down that rabbit hole because I’ll start talking about booster drafts and how I need to stop making decks with black and white because there are other color combinations out there that I really need to explore, and –

Sorry.

Boyfriend restored a drum kit for me as a Christmas gift, which really has been a game changer.  I haven’t given up my dreams of being a female Dave Grohl and while I know it will still never happen, at least I can pretend to be one with my real drum kit. 

Oh! And I ran another half marathon.

I blogged pretty extensively about my training for a full marathon back in 2011.  To this day, running that marathon has been one of the most profound experiences of my life. I have no doubt I will run another again.  However, training for and running one is absolutely brutal.  It put me in a different mindset and after the race was done, I wanted to continue running that extensively, for the wrong reasons. So I burned out, and hard.

I can’t put into words how much that burnout affected me mentally.  It lasted for about a year and a half. 

And then, at the end of last summer, I was pondering just how much my break from running had affected me and I thought – it’s time to get back into running again. I had really started missing it.   I went to bed that night thinking I was going to train for another marathon. I woke up realizing this was insane.  I couldn’t go from being burned out for a year and a half to running another fucking marathon.

So I decided to train for a half. This training experience was different.  Since I was out of town on various weekends, I couldn’t connect as closely to my group as I wanted. There were different coaches being floated around, and not as many people training for the half as they were for the full.  I felt disconnected and frustrated with my group.  At one point, I even considered quitting.

I was more of a quitter when I was younger, but as I’ve gotten older, I grew deeply embarrassed by it and now don’t quit something unless I have a very good reason to do so.  So I signed up for the half marathon and decided to go to the next training run, which just happened to be one of the coldest mornings we’ve had all year. It was like 23 degrees outside. I am not kidding.

But something changed that morning, as I ran a rather miserable seven miles in my three layers of clothing.  When I finished that run, I felt strong, and my desire to train for the half-marathon was renewed.  After that, I had a better attitude about my group. I made more of an effort to talk with my teammates, even if I wasn’t there every week.  I got to know the coach a little better. I really loved those runs.

Before I knew it, six months had already gone by, and it was race day.  On race day, I waited nervously in the starting corral with Boyfriend next to me.  It was 6:30.  “I need to pee,” I told him, even though I had already peed twenty minutes ago.  Naturally, there was a humongous line to the porta-potties.  I ran out of the porta-potty at 6:57 and Boyfriend and I ran back to the starting corral.

So that’s how my race started.

Race day was extremely humid.  After training in mostly cold temperatures all winter, running in the warm weather felt strange.  The weather was very similar to what I had experienced during my marathon, and I was very grateful I was not running one that morning.  It took about three miles to find my groove – adjusting to the humidity, getting around throngs of people.  I was monitoring my pace at this time. My dream was to beat 2 hours, but I didn’t know if it’d be possible.  I stopped looking at my watch after about 4 miles.

Around 6 miles, I assumed I wasn’t going to beat my goal and that I should just run the best I could.  Then two things happened – I passed up the coach who led the 9:00 min/mile pace group.  Running in that pace group would guarantee about a 2-hour finish.  Then I passed up the 4 hour marathon pacer. I thought, as long as I keep ahead of this pacer, maybe I can still do it.

I booked it for several miles and hit a small wall around ten miles.  I was tired.  My stomach was starting to get rebellious, so I shoved down some Pepto-Bismol to shut it up.  At eleven miles, we passed up the marathon/half-marathon split. I remember getting emotional when I had passed this split at my marathon.  But now, I thought, “You mean I have two miles to go instead of 15? HELL YES.”

At mile 12, I had a resurgence in energy, just in time for the hill. I believe the technical term for this hill is “ginormously steep.” It is ridiculous.  I put on some inspiring music to pump me up. I was going to beat this hill!

The hill totally made me its bitch.

Boyfriend had been planning on meeting me at the top, but he wasn’t there. And I’m so glad – I didn’t want him to see me huffing and puffing. He was about a half mile down the road.  He called out, “Jenny!” I shouted some mushy stuff back to him.  He said, “I’m going to run with you!” This was so motivating.  I continued running, feeling renewed.

600 meters from the finish line, I felt tired.  At the 400 meter mark, I felt almost nauseous, which almost never happens. I knew I was pushing myself.

I kicked it in and when I crossed the finish line, I looked up at the race clock, since my watch had stopped working.  The race clocked showed 2 hours and 3 minutes. Since I had crossed the starting line at least five minutes after the race clock started, then I knew I had beat my goal time.

I ran the half marathon in one hour and fifty-five minutes. I was ecstatic.

I have to admit – I’d had a chip on my shoulder about half marathons. I had already run a marathon – why would I do a half? But I felt so proud of myself when I crossed that finish line, almost as proud as when I crossed that marathon finish line.  Half-marathons ARE a big deal. They’re a different kind of race.  It was nice being focused more on my speed, and not just survival. 

So yeah.  And now it’s over, and I don’t know what I want to do next. Probably another half.  I want to run this next one even faster.

 

 

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