Let’s Look at the Numbers

I thought it would be fun to post some info-graphic type data from my training, which began on October 31st — the day I decided I’d run a half marathon.

Number of days trained: 149

Coldest temperature I ran in:-5 (not including the windchill that day)

Number of times I was caught without a port-a-potty and became good friends with mother nature: 4 (including once on that -5 degree day)

Number of runs during training: 58

Times I felt like quitting: 3

Times I felt invincible: 55

I have run 279 miles, or just over the width of the state of Wisconsin.

WI

I have run 4010 minutes (67 hours), or just about 3 and a half Harry Potter movie marathons.

Harry

I have burned approximately 44,416 calories, or about the caloric value of 15 large cheese pizzas.

Pizza

I am still really nervous about the hills on this course. My average time with some hills is about 13:45. Max time for the course is 3 hours and 30 minutes (16 min mile pace), so I am going to really push to not burn out and keep an even 14 minute pace for my whole race. Walks and runs seem to be my best method, taking my mile time from 14 min a mile to 12:45 on flat terrain.

Deep breaths. Relax. You can do this. You’re a rockstar. You trained for this.

One Week Away

Well, it’s official. I am one week away from running the half marathon that inspired me to start this blog that I so rarely write in anymore. I am a mix of excited and nervous. I know I’ve trained. I know I can do the distance. I’ve just hit that point now where I am anxious to actually get on the course and just… go. I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed in my time, but I am also excited to see what I can do. Everyone keeps telling me the point is to go and have fun. Yes, it indeed is. But I also want to kick on serious booty on the course. Well, kick serious booty for me, that is.
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I watched this little peek at a part of the course and I immediately began dreading the hills – but instead of worrying about slogging the hills, I am getting excited for all the zooming down hills I will do.

I am nervous because it is in my nature
to worry about the unknown. I am also trying to be better about that. The unknown is a terrifying thing to me. As Nikki Limo says, I just want to do a good job. And as Grace Helbig says, in general, I just want to be a better human. This training and race have been big steps in my life. I’ll yammer on about that in my race recap in a week or so… But for now, I’m going to take deep breaths and walk forward into the unknown with JOY and EXCITEMENT and do my damned best to love the crap out of this race, no matter how much my anxiety is making me want to accidentally oversleep and casually just call is a vacation and not a destination race.

We’re gonna do this. And we’re gonna kick ass. Ok self? Ok.

I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

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Let’s get one thing out on the table…

I don’t know what I’m doing.

I started running after hearing about the Warrior Dash in 2011. Want to know how much running I had done before signing up? Pretty sure my last sprint was in high school… in 2000… for a fitness test. And I hated it. I hated every minute of it. I logged an 18 minute mile in high school, shuffling along as best I could but running a block was a nightmare.

My husband patiently taught me how to use a treadmill. I was terrified of it, and the first time he got me set up on it, I almost started to cry. I remember arguing with him about how I couldn’t do it. It was moving too fast… how was I ever going to stay coordinated enough to not fall on my face? I mean, I’m not the epitome of ‘accepts new things willingly’, so this was way harder in my head that it actually was in person. New things frighten me and send me into a flight response. I have a lot of anxiety when it comes to not knowing exactly how something will work and what to expect from in… so this treadmill was like that walking naked into a test I hadn’t prepared for dream everyone has.

Still, I kept at it.

Still, I hated it. But I wanted to run the Warrior Dash so bad!

I decided to try running outside. The app Zombies Run had just come out, and I gave it a go. It made the time pass quicker, and it made going for a run more exciting. I wanted to run, because I wanted to know what was happening in Abel Township. Still, I walked most of my miles, and my pace was only slightly better than high school, averaging to 16ish minutes.

I remember telling a friend I ran a 16 minute mile. Their response was “you must be doing something wrong, that’s not very fast”. I remember being proud of my 16 minute mile, knowing where I’d previously been, but this comment crushed me. They told me to come running with them and they’d help me get faster. Cue the anxiety girl again. I felt like I wasn’t good enough, suddenly, and running with friends became something I actively avoided. I didn’t want to be made fun of or criticized, and pushing myself made me feel faint and sweaty and awful… so I made excuses to keep running alone.

Going it alone is something I resort to, a lot. And in this case, it probably wasn’t my smartest choice. I’ve been fairly stagnant, thanks to trying to just run how I thought a runner should run – but what the hell did I know about running? Literally nothing other than right foot, left foot, don’t fall down.

It’s been quite some time, now, and I have just been running however I feel like running. Sometimes it’s intervals. Sometimes it’s slow and steady for distance. Sometimes I push myself as had and as fast as I can. Still… Not much has happened in the “Kat Getting Faster” camp. I now run about a 13:30 fast pace, but a 14 minute long run pace. And I want to be faster. This is where the struggle comes in.

I don’t know how to get faster.

People tell me “interval” or “do fartleks” (hehe, fartlek), or whatever have you, but I can’t seem to figure out how these things work for me. So I just… run. I have yet to find someone who tells me ‘this is a plan I have used to get faster, follow it’.

What I have learned I that I can’t be trusted to just do it myself. I have to have a plan. While training for the half marathon, I followed my plan and that was easy. It was less scary to me to know there was a path laid out, and all I had to do was follow it. It wasn’t advice coming from someone who doesn’t know what running with a heart murmur is like, or advice from one of those people who just naturally run fast… it was just a piece of paper telling me “go 8 miles today”.

I have learned that running is not an easy sport. Running is hard. It’s challenging. It’s mental AND physical, and it can break your spirit one day and raise you up the next. What I want to do is have a better relationship with running… with clear goals and a plan to get there. So here is my plan:

After the half marathon, we’re working on speed. Somehow. We’ll figure it out. We’ll develop a plan. And we will do our best to take advice and stop going it alone…

 

PS: I know I’ve been pretty awful at regularly posting – consistency in blogging hasn’t ever been my strong suit. I’m working on that!