Two Half Marathons Don’t Make a Whole (and Other Running Truths)

By May 19, 2010 culture No Comments

If you’re looking for expert advice about running, I’m sorry to say you won’t find it here. For expert advice, you’ll have to see Hal Higdon or Jack Daniels or McMillian. But if you just want some humorous insights and reflective witticisms about running (or an attempt at it), you’re in the right place! Glad to have you here for a bit.

So what can I tell you about running? Well, running and I go way back to my junior high days, back before I had contacts and I had to run with large-lens, clunky glasses. Yes, way chic, 80s style. High school running was better—I shed some of my junior high awkwardness by replacing the glasses with contacts, and I also met my future husband. After high school, running became something I did for a few weeks every year when I got really motivated to get in shape.

By November 2008, I was 36 years old, completely out of shape, and suffering from an all-around lack of discipline. I had morphed into a real-life Goldilocks, always wanting things to be just right—not too hot, not too cold; not too big, not too small; not too hard, not too soft. This mentality left me a very small range in which I could roam without being a big wimpy whiner.

After owning my current state, I leaned hard upon God for help in developing some discipline and some internal grit against the desire to always be comfy-cozy.

I consider 2009 my base year: I ran consistently, week-in, week-out. Back in January of this year, I ran my first half marathon, and May 1, I ran my second. Many more are in my future, if God so enables me.

Here are some observations, truths, and tips for any of you potential runners out there. Really, if I can do this, anyone can. Although I did have a lot of help from God.

  • The running skort is the best running-gear revolution since anti-chaffing balm.
  • Running in costume is only bizarre to those who don’t run. (OK, it is a little odd, but less so if you do so with friends.) I’ve not given it a whirl, but I appreciate those who do because it’s good comic relief when my lungs are burning.
  • If you can stay disciplined long enough to build up from zero to three miles, the rest of the training gets easier—don’t give up!
  • Reciting Bible verses, poetry, mantras, and song lyrics while running is a great way to distract yourself during uncomfortable stretches.
  • MapMyRun offers a free training log to map your routes, calculate your pace, and record your progress.
  • You don’t have to run every day just to finish a half marathon, but if you want to run it without walking or to hit a goal time, you should run more days than not (I shoot for four days; some weeks I run five, but I never run fewer than three).
  • My lacking competitive nature is revealed in this race incident: To get away from a clod-hoppy heavy breather who settled in next to me during a race, I simply slowed down. (Afterward, my hubby asked why I didn’t speed up, seeing as it was a race. Makes sense now, but it really didn’t cross my mind at the time.)
  • A typical race goal: Try to beat the nearest costumed runner. Well, that and try not to lose bodily functions.
  • My favorite postrun treat is a fresh mango.
  • There are many differences between serious runners and not-so-serious runners. On race day, serious runners have a whole prerace routine (eating, running, stretching, etc.); not-so-serious runners conserve energy and simply toe the line. (Can you guess which group I fall into?)

What has running taught you? What costume do you wear (or would you wear)? Do share your insights and observations—I’d love to hear all about it.

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