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Fitness Goals! Reflections of a 10X Half Marathoner

In November, 2016 I completed my 10th half marathon! Honestly, the number just kind of snuck on me, but I'm very grateful of the achievement. I'm sharing my reflections in an interview, me vs. runner me 🐸🐸. . .Enjoy!

What IS a half marathon?

A half marathon is a race of 13.1 miles. Most often it is run on the streets, but it could also be a trail race through a dirt path. You don't have to be a runner to participate. You can walk, or do a combination of walk/running to complete the race. Other race distances are: ultra marathon is any race more than 26.2 miles, often 30- 50 miles, marathon is 26.2 miles, 10K is 6.2 miles, and a 5K is 3.1 miles.

How many races have you run? How long does it take you to train for your favorite distance?

Since my first race - a marathon - in 2012, I've competed in 32 races: 1 sprint triathlon, 2 marathons, 10 half marathons, 2 10K's, and 14 5K's, and 3 obstacle race 5K fun runs! I can honestly say that my favorite race distance is the half marathon. As a distance runner, the half marathon gives me a chance to run a steady race without feeling the strain of a marathon. When I am consistently running, I can train for a half marathon in about a month. If I'm rusty, it can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks.

10 half marathons, that's pretty cool! What are some of your highlights?

  1. Won't you be my neighbor? I've run half marathons in MD (3 times), and some of the neighboring states, namely DC, VA, PA, NJ, and GA (3 times).

  2. A little bump doesn't stop the show. I've run during pregnancy and shortly thereafter. During one I was 5 months pregnant and one 4 months postpartum, both were completed jog/walk style.

  3. Cold or hot, giving it all I've got! I've run in FREEZING cold -- I'm looking at you DC! I've run in sweltering humidity when pools of sweat were in my shoes by the end of the race -- thanks for the hospitality VA!

  4. Sometimes I go fast, sometimes I go slow. My fastest time was 1:52, also my very first half marathon. Conversely, my slowest time was 3:01, 5 months pregnant. My average time is right at 2 hours.

  5. Run buddies! Most races are solo adventures for me, but I love it when I have my friends and family along. My mom and I have participated in 4 together. Even if we don't stick together during the race, the solidarity of completing the goal together is rewarding and fun!

What goes through your mind during the race?

I don't usually race with headphones, I've come to appreciate the solitude that the 2-ish hours of my feet hitting the pavement brings. There are definitely phases and varying levels of excitement during the race.

  • Miles 1-3.1: Enthusiasm! Ok, we're moving, we're grooving, not too fast, not too slow. This is going to be a GREAT run! Every race starts of good, I'm in a pack with people who run about my pace, my adrenaline is pumping, the crowd is exhilarating.

  • Miles 3.2-6.2: Acceptance. Ok we are almost halfway there, hitting the 10K mark. Get water at the water stations, keep on going. In these miles, I'm settling into my pace, I've probably found a group of people that I'm sticking with, and slowly picking off/passing.

  • Miles 6.3- 10: Anger. OH GOD WHYYY?? Why did I do this? I'm getting tired, the pain, go faster. . .nope can't go faster. . .eat some gummies, drink some water. This is where mental toughness really kicks in for me. I think about different things to keep me motivated, seeing my family at the finish line is the main motivator!

  • Miles 10.1- 13.1: Excitement! Oh yeah, home stretch! The excitement of nearing the end helps me fight through whatever slight aches and pains may have sprung up at this point. No matter how "bad" I feel, I typically sprint at the 13 mile mark until the finish line.

​What's next?

Initially, I had a goal is to run all 50 states by the time I'm 40 (2020), but that was a little too ambitious and may take the joy out of actually accomplishing the goal. Now, my goal is to complete all 50 states, while enjoying the travel time with my family. This year I plan to run half marathons in 6-8 of my neighboring states including DE, NY, CT, WV, NC, SC, AL, and/or FL.

What are your race goals? Are there any 50 state achievers out here in blogland?

Run happy, run healthy, run -walk, run fast, run slow. . .Just RUN!

~The Fitness Doc

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