Sunday, April 10, 2016

Lessons From The Road

We're 9 weeks into our training plan for the Go Girl! Half Marathon, which will be held at the end of May, and I'm enjoying every single bit of the work I'm putting into it.  The journey has so far been even better than I'd hoped/expected.  I've been challenged, and I've learned so much about myself along the way.

With only six weeks left on our training plan, I thought I would share some of what I've learned!

1.  I may not be particularly fast, but I am apparently built for distance.  I LOVE long run days! 

2.  And I must be doing something right, because at the end of every long run I feel like I could keep going for a while longer.  That's pretty darn amazing.

3.  For us, the magic formula on long runs is:  1/5 mile walk to warm up + long run + at least a 1 mile walk to cool down = a happy body. 

4.  I don't have much of an appetite the day of my long runs - but look out, because the day after I will. eat.  everything.  all the food.  all.  of.  it.  Maybe the day after that too.

5.  Epson salt baths immediately following the long run + proper training + foam rolling as needed = no muscle pains whatsoever.  Truth be told, I'm kind of surprised by that. 

6.  Hallelujah!  Unsweetened dried tart cherries work just fine for fuel during my runs!  My doctor gave me the go ahead to experiment with some dried fruit a couple of months ago...that and a few other whole foods that are on my approved list.  It was actually pretty nerve wracking.  You can't run for more than an hour without fueling the body SOMEHOW, but finding something that wouldn't make me sick was trickier than expected. 

7.  I have trouble eating immediately after a long run, but if I don't I get into trouble later in the day.

8.  I did find an electrolyte tab that actually works for me - but unfortunately the company changed the formula and it now includes something I'm highly allergic to.  I'm stocking up like crazy, and am not looking forward to starting the search for a new one when the old stuff is gone.

9.  Selfies when you finish a long run are an absolute must. A girl has to celebrate somehow!  My FB friends and family may be getting tired of seeing such pics, but tough!  (Actually, they all have been super awesome about showing support when I post them....and that support means the world.)

10.  I'm soooo glad I'm doing this first half with my running partner.  Much as I also enjoy solitary runs, long runs are easier and more fun when you aren't alone....especially when you have a partner as amazing as mine is.  Plus, we feel safe running together on all of the amazing trails that our city has to offer. (I would not run many of them alone.)  It's very true...that relationship is special!

11.  Likewise, I'm glad I let go of my original time goals for this particular race.  It is, after all, my first half as a runner.  The important thing is to cross the finish line safely - feeling strong, being injury free.

12.  Having said that, I'm now even more committed to becoming a better/faster runner for the future.

13.  I'm totally hooked.  If I could afford it, I'd be one of those people who races all of the time, traveling all over the country for different events. Realistically, I can justify doing this about twice a year, which is fortunately enough to keep me focused on training since I run better when I'm working for something. 

14.  It's true...physical achievement can also give you an emotional/mental boost.  I'm more confident now than I have ever been, and for the first time in years and years I'm feeling possibility open up in front of me.  If I can do this, I can do anything!

15.  I don't think I've ever liked or appreciated my body as much as I do right now.  That, my friends, is a gift. 

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