“I Am a Half-Marathon Runner”

Okay, fine, I’m not. But I read somewhere that if I told myself that enough times, it would come true.

So for everyone who noticed my new Milestone Widget on the homepage, you’ve probably been twittering in anticipation of what I could possibly be scheming for next year. Or maybe you haven’t.

Well, the last time I said I was going to do something that I said I’d never do, I jumped out of a plane to ring in my 30th birthday. And after having done that, as well as a number of other things I once never dreamed of doing, I decided to quash one of the biggest I’ll-never-do-that’s in Janice history.

Run a half marathon.

Now, one of my favourite, yet most embarassing posts is buried deep within Your Daily Dose’s archives. It has a total of one like (this must change immediately). This post tells the painful story of how I, against all odds, became a 10k runner and how I would never become a half-marathon one.

But one day, a few weeks ago, I thought about that blasted half-marathon and I thought about how I said I’d never do it. And that just made me upset at myself. Why couldn’t I be a half-marathon runner like the KABILLION other half-marathon runners in the world? Did I also not have the drive? The physical capacity? The will of steel?

I sure as hell did … do.

And so, with new found excitement and direction, I declared last night that I would go for a run this morning. The training would begin PRONTO. Yes, the half-marathon was nine months away. Yes, I would need that long to prepare. Not a morning person? Pssht. Half-marathon runners shook the sleepiness from their eyes and braved the early morn alone, while everyone else was nestled in their blankets like cowards.

Well, the morning rolled around and … um … well, you know, I slept in a little later than expected. I had to get ready for work. I just didn’t have time. I’ll go running tomorrow …

I need help.

Questions! Questions!
To the kabillion half-marathon runners around the world: I would be most grateful for your advice, stories, and motivation on how to train well for my first half-marathon!

To those who have avoided the HM or FM like the plague: What would it take for you to gear up and just do it?

And to everyone!: If you were to raise money for a cause through your (hypothetical) run, what would be your cause?

– Cafe <3

Photo Credit: Runner at the finish line
This post was written on August 13, 2012
Um, and full disclosure: I did not run the half-marathon *hangs head in deep, deep shame*


40 thoughts on ““I Am a Half-Marathon Runner”

  1. For me it was owning a black Labrador Retriever. On the way to pick up my new puppy, I got a book about Labs. “Working dogs,” it said! “Must be walked three times a day,” it insisted! “Holy, crap, what have I gotten myself into,” I gulped! I committed to two, rain, shine or snow, and hour in the AM, 90 minutes in the PM. Great result! Calm healthy dog, never chewed my stuff (indicates a bored dog). Calm healthy me, too! After a year we were running 5Ks together daily.

    And that’s one of the best keys to it. Get an exercise partner. The other time I was running 5Ks and working out regularly, it was because I had a partner with the same goals. When I wasn’t really in the mood, she’d drag my ass out there. And vice versa. Let to my own devices, it’s a lot (lot) harder.

  2. Well, Cafe, I’m not a runner, but I still walk half-marathon distances. (I walked 20.36 miles last Wednesday!) I’m training now for a trail run/walk, something I hadn’t tried before and is infinitely more difficult than a simple long walk around paved roads. But if I, an obese (carrying an extra 95 lbs that I’m working on getting rid of), middle-aged woman can traipse 14 miles around steep forested park trails, I’ve no doubt that you can handle 9 months of training for a half-marathon. It just takes time and practice. Increase your miles a bit at a time. I follow the blog http://projectwhitespace.com/. Bethany Jo Lee is training for a full marathon, and she has some great tips and motivational posts to help inspire those to get out there and do what they need to do. I totally recommend you check her out, if you haven’t read her blog before. She’s the reason I’m signed up for my first official half marathon! I blog about my progress, too, but I don’t have any special wisdom to dispense. Just stories about where I’ve been and what I’ve seen. I like to take pictures along the way. One day, when I’ve lost enough weight that my hips don’t scream at me if I attempt to jog/run, maybe I’ll actually run a half marathon, too! I already know I can handle the distance…

    • Wow, you’re amazing! And I see that you’ve updated your blog — I remember trying to visit you a few times early on and I didn’t see anything posted(?). Or have my memory cells died on me again? In any case, it looks great and inspirational as well!

      Thanks for the suggestions and motivation, Holly, much appreciated :)

  3. Just getting out of bed is half the battle! I never, ever, wanted to be a “runner” and now I’m at the point in my running life that I feel guilty if I don’t go. But yeah, we’re morning runners, and just this morning we almost skipped our run to sleep in. No bueno! Gotta go! Ugh….

    There’s been some HM talk around here lately, too. I’ve never ran one, and the thought of running one makes me ill. But my wife has ran a FM and a handful of HMs. So I should probably step it up. Which one are you running?

    • Hey Eric! I didn’t know you were a runner. Well, I think there comes a point where we either take the HM plunge or don’t. But it’s always that stupid thing that looms in the horizon, taunting us :(
      I’m running one called the Mississauga Marathon. It’s supposed to be very scenic, which is why I chose it :)

  4. Howdy!

    I’ve never run…or wanted to run anywhere! But I have strapped a heavy pack on and carried it solo through the mountains on a few different occasions…and that sucked about as much as a marathon.

    For someone to say that they, want to, or like putting forth the effort, is imo, a safe, and sometimes misleading way to describe it. It’s something that ..want…has nothing to do with.

    Ask deep down inner Janice if this is something that she wants…or if it’s something that she needs, to help complete who she is.

    Her answer will come in the form of the action you take afterward.

    • Hey Joe! I really like your insight into this. You’re right, I don’t think it’s something I want per se. More about something I need to prove to myself that I can do what I say I can’t do. Just another rocket launcher to put into my bag of ammo. I hope that reason alone gets me through it.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  5. I would love to try running but I think running hates me. I tried before and failed miserably. :( Goodluck to you Janice! I know you can do it :)

    • I tried before and failed miserably too!!! I swore off running for 10 years until I forgot about the pain and tried again. Now look at me..signing up for a half-marathon. Crazy but true =P

      Thanks for the encouragement, hun!

  6. I salute your energy and willingness to jump into things you don’t want to do. I think it’s great. As for actually getting to the goal I would certainly do as Dominick S. suggested. Pick a run, an event, now and keep that in mind as a “carrot”, and although it might not seem like that since you are doing something you don’t really want to, it will boost your motivation. As for training, start slow, like three times a week, and slowly increase the amount of training. Try to vary the running, from half hours faster runs to one hour longer and slow runs (a little into the training program) as well as interval training. And it’s a good idea to get some longer runs in your legs when you are getting close to the D-day, like two hours or at least one and a half. Most people with a normal fitness can do a half-marathon without much training, but it’s not recommended. Keep at it (I am running a full marathon in November).

    And by the way, I made sure your post “Cafe, the Runner” doesn’t only have one like any more…

    • Haha, thanks! Two likes, we’re gettin somewhere now. I think I should go like it too so there’s three =P

      Thanks so much for the great advice and encouragement, you sound like you’ve had some experience with this! I will definitely defer to the wise words of those who know what they’re talking about :)

    • LOL. Well, thanks for noticing and twittering in anticipation hehe.

      Are you sure I shouldn’t do it? Everyone else seems to think it’s a good idea =P

        • Btw I wrote something nice about you on my blog. I didn’t want to tell anyone but I’m afraid you’re the only person who might miss it who is a girl (hence would actually care).

          Go to Long Overdue Awards and start from the bottom if you are short on time.

          • Aww, thanks!! I guess I’m the one who’s absent on your blog, huh? :( sorry, I can’t keep up with anyone daily anymore :( But thanks for letting me know, I appreciate it. Goin over there now!

            • What? No! I don’t even know who you’re referring to. You’re going to smack yourself in the face how obvious I made who each person was. Like I said, start from the bottom, as in you’re the last one on the list as in they’re in alphabetical order by blog name.

            • Oh I meant because I was the one you had to notify about seeing the post — it’s ’cause I’m not always around to read all your posts so I might miss it. So I said I was absent. That’s what I meant =P

              That was a very touching write-up of me. Sometimes I’m not always sure if what you write on your blog is what you mean, but I believe you meant that and that means a lot (there’s a lot of meaning in this comment) :) thank you, Tim :)

  7. Ahhh, this story sounds very familiar, I too never imagined running anything more than a 10k and here I am now training for a marathon. Running requires commitment, that’s it and that’s all. We all know how to run (maybe not efficiently but that comes with repetition), commitment is the hard part about half marathon training. Find an event, stick it on your calendar and focus on the goal. I agree with RunningHaiku, I like Hal Higdon’s app if you want a nice road map to reaching your goal, all you have to do is stick with it. Also, I always thought I wasn’t a morning person but with my 8-5, I was forced to get out and run early to help eliminate the excuses, there is something empowering about attacking your goals before the sun and most of the world rises.

    As far as fundraising for a charity, it is almost as challenging as the training. I am halfway through my program but am miles away from reaching my fundraising goal.

    Good luck with your running!

    • Hey Dominick! Thanks so much for taking the time to write me, I really appreciate all the encouragement I’m getting so far. Lord knows I’ll need it all.

      If running can turn me into a morning person, that will honestly be the biggest miracle of all :S. What do you normally eat when running that early? Guess I can’t have my coffee beforehand :(

      Commitment came up before and I’m sure is the biggest thing. So what do you do when your commitment falters? How did you keep motivated?

      What charity are you running for? I’ll be by to visit your blog as soon as I get a chance and I’ll probably find out the answer there too :)

      • Trust me, I said the same thing about being a morning person. Don’t get me wrong, some days it really sucks but the less time you lay in bed and think the easier it is to get out the door and once you are out all is well.

        As far as pre run meals…I tend to neglect this because I wake up, brush my teeth and try to get out the door as quickly as possible. The longest runs I do before work are 8 miles, so if it is 5-8 miles I may take a GU Gel pack (w/ or w/o caffeine depending on you) and then try and drink around 12 ounces of water (also dependent on you). You can also be smarter than I am and try and eat an energy bar like Clif, Larabar, etc, or just pop a english muffiin in the toaster and put some peanut butter and honey on it. Coffee would probably be a bad idea since it dehydrates you, I don’t think the caffeine will kill you but it will accelerate your heart rate. I usually drink a little gatorade, some muscle milk and eat a banana after longer runs to get protein and potassium. I have a very tight schedule so you see a lot of short cut energy, if you have time before and after then use it! Hope that helps.

        I am running for a charity called Stoked Mentoring, here is a link to my fundraising page on Crowdrise

        I am doing poorly so far but am confident I will make it to the goal. Here is the link to a blog post I did that gave a little more detail,
        (just scroll down to the bottom)

        Anyway, sorry for the long answer but you asked!

        • Haha, fair enough! No worries, I always welcome posts within a post ;)

          Thanks for the great advice on the eating/coffee dilemma. I’ll keep that in mind for sure. Still not ready to cross over to the dark-morning-side though :S maybe… One day.. When I start panicking about my run lol.

          I’ll be sure to check out the links after I get back from camping this weekend! Have a good one :)

  8. Janice! Firstly let me say that I’m very glad you have decided to do this run. Make sure you enter officially as soon as possible.

    I do know a few things about fitness training so I hope I can be of some help to you. Some, well actually many, years ago I was a training partner for a professional boxer. This basically involved me shadowing my friend in every part of his pre fight training exept sparring. (some of this did involve me being fireman lifted up steep hills – quite scary but I survived!!) basically everything he did I did too. All the road work (running basically) all the ground work (push ups, sit ups, circuit training etc.) all the bag work, and just general encourager and shouter! By the time of his bouts I was pretty much in the best physical shape of my life.

    I was also very fortunate to be able to train a lot with an old school friend of mine who was an ex parachute regiment physical training instructor! Some of this training was vomit inducingly hard work. I learned a lot about getting fit and preparing for hard physical challenges and this has really helped me overcome obstacles in my life in all sorts of ways.

    I have run several half marathons in good times since then. You might be surprised to know that training for them didn’t involve much long distance running!! (one of two practice runs of nearly the full distance but not as much as you’d think!)

    I will be in touch by email and tell you some of the things that I learned and I really hope that you might be able to use some of them to help you in your HM!! If I had some spare cash I’d even fly over and run it with you!! ;)

    • OH MY GOSH, Pete! What interesting info about yourself! :) that is so awesome, you are now my get-fit inspiration .. person =)

      Seriously though, thank you for sharing your stories — I really do find them very motivating! I’d love to hear more about it whenever you have time to write me. Haha, I guess you’ll have to be there in spirit. You can be there in spirit for all of my training actually since you sound like such a dedicated training partner =P

  9. I’ve now done two half marathons and am training for my 3rd. Because I am addicted to my phone, I like the Hal Higdon training app. You won’t regret taking the HM plunge. Best of luck!

    • Heya, thanks for the lucky wishes! Third HM, eh? Well, who knows, one day I may have that many under my belt! Thanks for the app suggestion — any idea if this is available on the ol’ Blackberry?

  10. Hi Janice,
    I have tons of info about running on my blog (as you know). Find a good training program (there are lots online) and stick with it as best you can. It’s mostly about your commitment to doing something that will get you through any pain, rain, or frustration.
    An even easier way is to join a running group/club that has a 1/2 mara program and then you just show up and run.
    Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

    • Hey, glad you saw this! :)
      Yes, I could definitely use some expert info from bloggers such as yourself! Commitment definitely seems like the biggest thing. It seems so easy to give up along the way or not stick to the program when the big goal is so far away. Maybe setting up smaller goals along the way could be part of the plan.
      Thanks again for the tips and I’ll be by for some more advice soon! :)

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