First Half Marathon

half_marathon_551On the eve of my first half marathon, an event I never pictured myself participating in. It’s been nearly 15 weeks since I started my training program back in late April (read Run Forest! Run!) with the goal of finishing a 13.1 mile run at the Summer Breeze Half Marathon. It’s been a wonderful adventure to this point, while most all of my training and been limited to concrete and paved roads, I still have a desire to get into trail running soon.

As mileage started to increase in my training program, I had to decrease the amount of weight training I was doing using the Stronglifts method. I feel there is a balance in both forms of exercise, but I have not quite found the proper levels of each to maximize the level of activity and be able to get enough rest and food in for muscle and cardiovascular development. Through all the training, I am ready to run my first half marathon.

As I told a co-worker and Tough Mudder teammate earlier this week, I am not all that excited to run my first half marathon. He said that will change when I cross the starting line. I have no doubts I will finish. I have trained well, including long runs on the weekend and continued to push myself, increasing my speed and endurance. I even put in a 13.1 mile training run to finish up week 14 of my training program.

I have been training in 90+ degree heat most days I run. Those long, hot runs should work to my advantage on Saturday as the gun goes off at 8AM and temperatures will be in the high 50s with light winds out of the northwest. Hydration was a concern in my 13.1 training run as I ran out of water approach 11 miles and felt completely defeated. Craps were beginning to make their presence known in my calves, I lost my appetite for the snacks I bought and split time running for 3-4 minutes while walking 1 minute. The last few miles were the worst. I pulled in at 2:29 but believe I can knock a substantial amount of time off that.

Tomorrow I won’t bring any water, relying only on the aid stations, the longest stretch being 3.5 miles. However I am going to bring dates and sunflower seeds, which should provide me the needed nourishment while running. Probably going to dip into the snacks before mile 3 in order to keep the energy up. Unlike my longest training run I don’t want to bonk, so might as well start early.

Overall I am looking forward to the experience, which will dictate my interest in a second half marathon (R&R San Jose) and the possibility of adding another 18 weeks of training to run in my first marathon, the California International Marathon in December. See you after I cross the finish line.

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