Months of training on the track, surprising myself by actually feeling the urge to run, and staying consistent with my pace finally led to completing last week’s San Jose Rock and Roll Half Marathon.
13.1 miles in 2 hours and 42 minutes! This coming from a person who was NOT A RUNNER until 2009, who struggled through her first 5k just seven months ago, and who never thought she could push herself this far physically & mentally. I was proud of myself – not just for the race, but for the months it took to get me prepared to even do it.
And here’s what I learned from my newfound “runner’s status” – it really is all in the mind. Though it does take some level of physical endurance and fitness to run, I believe 90% of it came from sheer determination and discipline. Unlike most of my other challenges, I wasn’t trying to deal with another person or circumstance.
With running, I was battling myself. Do I stop at mile 10 because I’m truly tired or because my brain is telling me I’m tired? Do my feet really hurt, or am I imagining it so I can stop? And am I going to give into any excuse my mind can wrack up? Deep down, do I want to stop because I can’t handle it or do I want to keep going because I HAVE to? Those were the questions that I faced EVERY TIME I ran. Even on the marathon day itself.
It’s scary, but enlightening, to realize how much influence your mind has over your body. I’m starting to believe that this sort of thinking – positive thinking according to The Secret – may be the next crucial area to train myself in. Who knows what more I’d be able to accomplish if I can overcome my internal critic and skeptic?
“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”
– George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian
For the record, going to Hawai’i this week does not mean I get to go on hiatus from my marathon training.
J and I packed up our running shoes (crammed, for me) into our carry-on suitcases. I’m ready for the hikes to Diamond Head and the Manoa Falls Trail. Week 1, Week 1 (revisited, because I didn’t feel I gave it a worthy attempt), and Week 2 of training have really elevated my running endurance. I’d hate to have all of that energy come to a crashing halt when I return; most definitely heavier from all of the shaved ice, spam musubi, kalua pork, baked goodies, and poke sloshing around in my stomach.
I know folks think I’m crazy for wanting to run and be active on our “vacation.” I think I’m a little crazy that I’m looking forward to it! After all, if you’re going to be running, what better place in the world to do so than on Waikiki Beach during sunrise? My thoughts exactly.
Aloha! I will return with fitness, food, and photography stories!
My Training Wheels
Week 1 of my “training” for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon is complete. Sort of.
It was sometime last month when it dawned on me that I was set to run 13.1 miles in about four months. More like hit me in a the form of a mini-anxiety attack. I was not working out consistently ever since my Napa Valley 5k run in March. When work settled down and the weather grew sunny, I started to picked up running again in May. It dismayed me to realize that it’s not the same as riding a bike. If you don’t use it, you lose it. The collapsing of my lungs and legs by Mile 2 proved it.
So when June rolled around, I was determined to get back in the game. I had about 15 weeks until October 4th (HM- half marathon day). I read Runner’s World articles, asked runner friends for advice, and even swallowed my pride to ask J for his guidance. I was ready to TRAIN. Sort of.
This past week, I decided to use this marathon training schedule as a guide (shared by a good friend, who btw, is also running this HM with me). Let’s just say… even Week 1 was a bit too ambitious for my weak and pathetically-out-of-shape self. Schedule dictates that the weekly total mileage: 13 miles. My total weekly mileage: a pittance 7.5 miles. Gah.
J tells me, as he scarfs down Jack in the Box fries and tacos, “Try not to get so discouraged. Most people think that it should be easy running a certain number just because they did it before. You have to get used to the fact that you’re going to have to retrain just as hard as before.”
I exhale in agreement and nab a few curly fries. After eating three, I resist the urge to indulge in more greasy fried foods (whose idea was it anyway to get fast food? I think J is trying to test me).
Of course, he’s right. Nothing that’s worth achieving comes easy, especially when it comes to staying physically fit. I was just hoping it would be less tiring.
Stay tuned for Week 2.