Wednesday, March 16, 2011

03/13/11 13.1 (Lots of 1's and 3's in this title!)

I have been asked to share a little bit about my half marathon experience, so I will.  I am generally not too eager to write about myself, but this was an experience that I will share so that maybe others may be encouraged to do something out of their comfort zone as well.  Here is the main reason I am sharing:  When people caught wind of this 'endeavor' 90% would say; "Oh my gosh, I could never do that".   Well, yes, you can.  As long as you want to give it a shot, anyone can do this.
Most of you have know me in person know I am NOT athletic (at least, I do not LOOK athletic even at this point).  I have had periods of working out during my life time, have even had periods of being in reasonable-to-good shape, but that was during my 20's.   When I WAS working out, I always thought about running (jogging, really).  I started running last summer, tentatively, a couple of miles here and there.  My relationship with my body has not been a good one throughout my life, I have always felt overweight, even when I was not, but have been too heavy since my mid-20's. 
Anyway, one of the Ds mama's threw out an idea on our forum: Let's get rid of some Holiday fat by training for the Shamrockin' Half Marathon.  This was in January, about 12 weeks from the event.  I looked up the event, and came across a Fleet Feet training class that was going to meet 2 times a week.  I thought:  If I can make it to 70% of the training sessions, I am going to sigh up.  I checked my schedule, and was able to make to all but 2 sessions.  It was "Meant To Be".  I signed up for the training and the event, and zestfully threw myself into it.  I started out running 25 minutes, built up to 30, then 35, 40.  2 weeks later, I was ready to start the Fleet Feet training.  The thought of going to this training intimidated me to no end.  For sure, people were going to look at me and think: "What the heck is she doing here?"  Oh how little faith do I have in humanity (and if there really ARE people out there who think that way, well, they are not really worth my time.)  I joined the run/walk group, because I was jogging a 15-16 minute mile (I TOLD you I am slow) at the time.   
The training was really neat, we built up to a 12 mile long run once a week by adding one to 2 miles each time.  The first training session, we ran 50 minutes.  The first 3 weeks we did 50, 65 then 80 minutes (the 80 minutes was about 6 1/2 miles).  Then we did 7, 8, 10, 12, 8 mile long runs on Saturday.  During the week, we did shorter workouts and cross training (I did some swimming).   I found out that training for a long distance event does not take up more time than 'just' working out.  It took my mind off working out to lose weight (my sole motivation to work out so far), making a workout actually a fun thing to do ("I am training for something..." rather than "Damn I am fat, I need to work out").  I even got to the point where I would plan on a 3-4 mile run, and end up adding a mile or 2, just becuase I felt like it! 
The event itself was wonderful.  I am glad I joined a training program, because I had done 12 miles, I knew I could do it.  Nevertheless...I was nervous as hell the week before the event.  The only times I did not feel nerves doing through my tummy was when I was in the gym (I did 2 long 1.5 workouts on the bike and elliptical machine to get mentally ready to move for a long period of time, while not having too much impact) or when I was sleeping.  The night before, I slept about 3 hours, I was absolutely wired!  The morning of, I woke up before my 2 alarms went off (it was daylight savings, too). 
The run itself was a peaceful experience.  I did not go out too fast, I kept at my slow pace and fgelt good throughout.  The only time I started to feel ready to get it over with was during mile 10 and 11.  After that, I felt good and knew I was close to the finish.  I was able to sprint the last .10 in the stadium, and was at the same time really emotional.  Could not believe I did it, and for the first time in my life felt proud of something I accomplished physically.  I actually felt a slight bit of respect for my body for the first time ever! That is a new feeling for me.
I am going to do another 1/2 on May 1, am ready to get a little faster!  I have my workout plan (and eating plan) all ready for this one, I am adding strenghth training and will watch my eating.  Now, I want to lose some more weight so that I can actually get faster at this!  
I could not have done this without support from some wonderful, inspiring people.  One of them, is my friend Jen V. who planted this whole idea in my head in the first place, and who is an inspiration in all aspects of life.  Then there is CM, my cubicle mate at work.  She is a super-runner, and has patiently listened to my tales of beginner's woe (actually, not much woe at all, it has been good!).  She has given me some very valuable advice!  The coaching team from Fleet feet was AWESOME and so, so supportive!  And then, of course, Aaron who has spent time watching the kiddo's on Saturday's while I did my long runs!   The bottomline for me is that one can DO a lot, when a support system is in place!  And if you ask for support, it is usually there! 


  1. I'm so incredibly proud of you Debbie and so excited you have the BUG! What is the next race? I want to do it with you :)

  2. Hi
    My name is Jenna and I came across your site. your kids are amazing, beautiful, handsome, cute and adoreble kids. They have shinning beautiful and handsome smiles. They are both inspirational hero's. I was born with a rare life threatening disease, and developmental delays. I love it when people sign my gustbook.