Hi friend! I hope you are doing amazing and enjoying your summer! I mentioned yesterday that my son is doing a camp for 3 weeks, so that’s put us back into a routine, which I’m not complaining about. It helps with my sanity!
And I’m still getting in those workouts, although sometimes they’re the ‘at home’ kind with my daughter running around in the background. She’s good company:)
In early April, I started walking, then jogging for exercise and was enjoying it so much that, within a few weeks, I challenged myself to run a half marathon.
I’m very proud to say that I accomplished my goal and today, I’m going to share how I trained, what I learned, and what my next fitness adventure will be!
I’m excited to partner with Walmart today. They have a new, super fun activewear line called Love & Sports, which fits perfectly with this theme of this post!
The clothes are bright and energetic, I mean look at those vibrant colors!
They’re meant to be worn with confidence for whatever sport you’re participating in.
I normally opt for black in my workout shorts and leggings for the simple reason that they go with every color top. But the bold pink, yellow, and blue hues in the Love & Sports collection has me rethinking my strategy.
This loungey sweatshirt is so cute with the rainbow logo letters. I sized up to a small so that I could wear it off the shoulder.
HOW I GOT STARTED RUNNING
It all started when my boyfriend Brian and I set out for a walk on a Saturday morning in early April. We didn’t have a plan, just wanted to get some fresh air and move our bodies. As we got going and went pretty far from my house, I suggested we push ourselves to go 5 miles. He was game, so we kept going.
Turns out, 5 miles is a LONG walk! It drizzled on us but we just kept pace (he can’t run due to 4 previous back surgeries) so we just kept strolling.
Then, we had to walk the 5 miles home.
About 2 hours and 40 minutes later, we finally made it back to my house. I don’t think I’ve ever walked 10 miles straight in my life. But, it felt great!
And it made me wonder what else I could do.
The next day, this time by myself, I walked out the door again. I wanted to see if I could walk and jog a little for 10 miles. And I did! And then I ran the next day and the next.
In the beginning, my feet got several blisters and eventually those blistered areas turned into calluses. Not pretty! But what’s interesting is that I came to appreciate that hardened skin as protection and something I ‘earned’ – I worked hard for that!
After about 3 weeks of running a few times a week and getting up to 7 miles, I decided I wanted to go for a half marathon – 13.1 miles.
The crazy thing is that I’m no runner. In fact, I’m pretty bad at it. I’m terribly slow, get winded really easily and don’t know about proper form.
When I get interested in something, I try to learn as much as I can about it.
I started researching, watching YouTube videos and heard about Zone 2 training. Think of that as going long and slow in an effort to increase your aerobic capacity. It can get kind of complicated to figure out your Zone 2 heart rate mathematically, but I did my best and realized I needed to keep my heart rate below 142 beats per minute.
That is so slow for me, basically a 12 minute mile. If I push harder than that, I find my heart rate starts to soar. Keep in mind, it’s also super hot in Houston and all my runs were done outside.
MY HALF MARATHON TRAINING
Several people recommended Hal Higdon’s half marathon training plan, so I bought the book and also printed a schedule. I jumped in about midway through and by the time I got the training schedule, I realized I was supposed to run a 10K (6.2 miles) in two weeks!
I hopped online and found a race about an hour from me. I’ve only done one 5K race in my life and that was in my 20s, so over 20 years ago!
The morning of the race was crazy. When I left the house around 6 am, it was pitch black outside and thunder storming. I drove almost an hour in the pouring rain, only to realize I had driven to the WRONG PLACE!
OMG! I couldn’t believe it. Now, I was worried I wouldn’t’ be able to get the correct location in time for the race to start. I was panicking so bad and also wondering if they would even still have the race because of the weather.
But, when I got there, I saw the race was definitely on. There were hundreds of people all lined up, ready to start. I had just enough time to use the bathroom, get my bib, and join the others waiting at the starting line.
The energy was amazing and when the horn sounded signaling for us to take off, I actually started crying happy tears. I had driven there by myself and was running in my very first race among all these wonderful people. I couldn’t believe I was doing it!
It was awesome! I kept a steady pace and after a couple miles, the rain stopped. My goal was to run the entire race without stopping to walk. With all the adrenaline of the race, I was running faster that I’m used to and by mile 5, I was really ready to see that finish line.
I kept running the whole way and right as I was about to finish, the kids race was starting and I got an extra burst of energy watching all those young people taking off on their race. It was such a cool thing to witness.
When I finished, I checked my time and I ran the 10k in 1 hour and 5 minutes – a 10:38 mile pace.
7 WEEKS TO HALF MARATHON
After about three weeks of consistent running, I decided to go for the half marathon. That’s when I found the training plan and I loosely followed it. They say the total amount of miles per week is more important than just running the long runs.
I was aiming for about 3 runs a week and did a 7, 8, and 9 mile run before going for the 13.1.
I tracked all my workouts and running from the time Brian and I did that long walk on April 16 to the date of my half marathon, June 3.
MY HALF MARATHON
I was looking for a half marathon race in Houston, but since it was getting into summer, there wasn’t one to join until July 30.
I knew I’d be ready before then and I was also a little afraid of running in the July heat. If you know anything about Houston, it’s about 100 degrees and 100% humidity that time of year.
So, I decided I would just run a half marathon distance by myself. My own private half marathon race if you will.
I planned to run that distance on June 12, two weeks after our trip to Minnesota. Because we were out of town over the weekend, I missed my 9 mile run, but I made it up on the following Monday.
I was supposed to run 5 miles the next Wednesday and Friday and then do a long 10 mile run on Sunday. That next week was supposed to be the half marathon.
But, when I went for my 5 mile run on Friday, June 3, about 2 miles in I decided to just go for it!
Today was the day I’d run a half marathon.
Although my legs were pretty sore from my previous day’s weight training, the morning weather felt cooler and there seemed to be more shade where I was running.
So I committed! I knew I had run 9 miles before, so I just had to go 4.1 miles further. That’s only one more loop around the 3-mile trail where I was running, plus one more mile.
Well, it wasn’t so easy.
By the time I got to mile 7, I knew it was going to be a challenge to finish. Over 5 miles to go. Dang.
I ended up stopping to walk and share on my Instagram Stories what I was doing. I knew that by stating my intention to someone, it would hold me accountable.
At mile 8.8, I’d been going for 1 hour and 53 minutes and I was thinking, “Can I finish??”
Mile 11 – OMG, I STILL HAVE 2 MILES TO GO! Plus that pesky .1 :/ (2 hours and 22 minutes)
Well, I have to finish now, I have to get back to my car!
Just Keep Moving.
I was sooooo ready to be done, so I tried running faster to get it over with quicker, but that just got me winded, so I’d have to walk again.
I realized I just needed to stay slow and steady to finish and that’s what I did.
I jogged slowly until I had gone a total of 13.1 miles!
It took FOREVER, especially those last 3 miles, but I did it.
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I was soooo proud of myself when I finished!
There was no one there to cheer me on, no crowd to welcome me across a finish line, but I proved to myself that I could go that distance, even if I had to walk a bit.
My legs were toast the next two days and I also had a chafed left leg where my shorts were rubbing my inner thigh. But, overall, I didn’t feel too bad!
WHAT I LEARNED
One thing I like about running is that it’s both physical and mental. It’s a physical challenge to your body, heart and lungs, but it also requires a mental toughness to keep going when you want to stop.
It’s never the actual run that I like, but the feeling I have after, knowing I’ve done something hard and good for my health.
In the months before I started running, I was starting to get discouraged about my age. I’m 47, which isn’t old, but it’s a good 20 years from 27! When I took James to the baseball games in Minneapolis, I’m thinking I could be most of the ball players’ mom!
I had my daughter at 41, so I’m very aware of the age difference and that when she’s my age, I’ll be 81. Gah!
But then I did this hard thing. Challenged myself beyond what I thought I was capable of.
And it wasn’t even the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
There’s a study that revealed that with each decade of our lives, we actually get happier. That’s contrary to popular belief, but most people said that they’re happier in their 40’s than in their 30’s, happier in their 50’s than in their 40’s and so on.
As long as they stay healthy and fit, their overall happiness increases every decade.
I want that to be me and when I look back at my life, so far it is.
For the next chapter of my life, I see more FUN! More laughter, play, and confidence in who I am.
MY NEXT FITNESS CHALLENGE
Now that I got to experience the excitement and energy of that 10k, I want to run a half marathon in a real race. One with other runners. I’m not interested in competing with anyone, I just want to get better myself.
My goal will be to run the entire time without stopping, or at least improve my aerobic conditioning and speed.
I have SO much room for improvement and still much to learn. I found a half marathon on October 30, and signed up for it! I’m super excited!
Aaannnndddd, the Houston Marathon is January 15, 2023.
Dare I say I’m interested in running a full marathon?
That distance – 26.2 miles- terrifies me so much that I barely want to say it out loud.
At my current slow 12 minute mile pace, it would take me over 5 HOURS to finish!
Although Houston is super hot and humid in the Summer, it’s actually really cold in January – so I’m also very nervous about that.
What do you think? Should I go for it?!
Here’s to the next decade friend!
And I told you that Love & Sports line at Walmart is super cute! Look at all of this happy goodness below! The sweatshirt I was wearing above coordinates with a pair of joggers!
They also have swimwear and coverups, along with quality performance activewear. And just like you expect from Walmart, everything is quite affordable and offered in sizes XS – XXXL.
Shop Love & Sports
If you’re reading via email, click here to see the shoppable images.
If you’ve done a full marathon, please consider sharing your experience in the comments! I’d love to get your take on it.
Have a fantastic day friend!