I was an unlikely runner, just as many of you out there are thinking you are unlikely runners. “I only run if I’m being chased” has to be the most used line non-runners say to runners. I was probably one of those people.
So why did I start running? I got pissed.
I’d done my fair share of 5k’s in my 20’s and 30’s, but mostly I’d jog a little, and be so winded after the first mile that I’d start walking. I remember one 5k in Seattle where I ran the whole time and nearly wanted to die. It was a miserable experience. Looking back now it kind of makes me smile because I see how far I’ve come.
The real reason I started running, was back about four years ago, I did a plyometric (jump training) program for beach volleyball (which got me in the best shape of my life), but I could NOT keep up with the rest of the athletes in the program any time we ran. It didn’t help that one girl was actually a professional runner. It pissed me off because although I knew I was in pretty good shape, I just could not run very well.
So I started doing interval runs on the beach, and after the program ended, I just kept running. Eventually I signed up for another 5k, and ran it in my sleep. Oh how times had changed. See that’s the funny thing about running, once it’s in your DNA, it’s hard to stop.
But as many of you know I’m a beach runner (who runs barefoot), so the idea of doing anything more than a 5 or 10k seemed out of the question. It’s not the cardio that gets me, it’s the pounding of the pavement that fries my legs quickly. What is this shoe thing you speak of?
But over the last couple of years I’ve had many-a-friend complete half marathons, marathons, and triathlons, and that need to have a fitness goal started to get the best of me. And since I’m not doing any beach volleyball tournaments anymore, there is nothing really stopping me from training for my first half marathon.
The two biggest things that concerned me was budgeting time and money to reach this goal.
Although I don’t put all the hours in at the beach that I used to to train for beach volleyball, I still wanted to find the best months to train for a half without disrupting my first love as much as possible. I chose Nov-Feb because oddly enough while most people are harried with the holidays, things actually slow way down for me.
I don’t have Christmas shopping, family obligations, office parties, etc. I often tend to “nest” that time of year. I usually either get jealous remarks or really sad looks whenever I tell people I don’t really have anything to do during the holidays. 🙂
The weather is also pretty decent. We sometimes have our most fantastic weather December and January.
It also gives me the perfect three months to train for the Surf City half marathon in Huntington Beach, which is both flat and scenic…perfect for a first time runner. Coincidentally Kathleen from Frugal Portland is also running a half that day in New Orleans, and Michelle from The Shop My Closet Project is running in Miami, so I have people to share accountability with. Right Kathleen and Michelle? 🙂
It also gives me a chance to be done with my training and race before my trip to Iceland in March.
And lastly our “spring” tends to be rainy and very windy…two conditions I hate when they are put together.
The one downside is finding friends to train or run it with me. There is a very popular run here called the SuperBowl 10k, which a good majority of my friends participate in.
Money is a bit tricker because in theory the only real major cost is the entry fee. I already have good shoes and almost all the clothing I’d need, but I think little things have a tendency to creep up, like needing a new iPhone arm band, or headphones which let me remotely change songs when I get sick of my playlist, or some kind of running belt to hold stuff.
Then there is all the proper nutrition that comes with a solid training plan.
The funny part is that with all the hoopla I keep reading online about training, I actually once ran 10 miles ON THE SAND with no water, no food, no friends cheering me on, and no support. Another three-ish miles and I would have done my own version of a half marathon. I say this as a reminder to myself not to go overboard with thinking I need flashy running gear.
So my actual training begins tomorrow, which gives me a solid fourteen weeks to train. After a thoroughly confusing online search for ideal training plans, I settled on a hybrid of this plan and this plan. If anyone knows of something better please chime in.
Have you ever run a road race? If not have you ever thought about it? Any tips for a 1/2 marathon newbie?
Follow my training diaries at my new site, Healthy, Fit, and Frugal.