Putting on my training heels

April 7, 2015

 Tune in today to see if she can … hatch a half marathon training plan.

There is something so romantic about being a runner. Rising with the sun. Worn sneakers with soles that trap and hold stories of triumph and trial. Lean arms that swing and pump and plead for one more mile. The pain. The glory. The reward of making it farther than ever before. It’s the most awe-inspiring example of the power of will. Of course I’ve never experienced these things personally (I know, I really sold it in those first few sentences), but when I watch people pounding the pavement on my drive in to work, I momentarily crush on their endurance. The fact that they’re out there. That they are runners. And then I think, damn it, I want to be a runner.The natural retort here would be, “Then go run, fool!” but the truth is, it isn’t that easy. To put it nicely, I am stride challenged. I have all the ambition, but none of the athleticism. I learned several years ago that I am great at moving up and down, and terrible at moving forward; a problem, some would say, when it comes to covering distance.
In high school, we had something called Summer Gym. The program was a requirement for athletes and basically a form of torture for hormonal adolescents in which we were turned out in 98-degree conditions and told to  run, dash through tires and look disgusting in front of every boy we ever liked. The climax of Summer Gym was the infamous run to Lion’s Park. Let’s call it 3 miles round trip. My girlfriends pulled the period card and bailed, leaving me and my yet-to-be-diagnosed stationary stride. About 1 mile in, it became clear my only hope was a stamp transfer. Please, god of teenagers, let me get a stamp transfer. When a runner reached the park, they received a Sharpie stamp on the back of their hand before looping back to finish the course at the school. Runner after runner came back at me, Sharpie mark flashing, until I finally spotted a cheerleader comrade. We locked eyes, desperation in mine, pity in hers. She pressed her Sharpie against the back of my sweaty hand. We held them there for maybe a full minute. Nothing. There was no hope now. I was going to have to run the rest of the route. Worse yet, the group couldn’t stretch and leave for the day until every single runner returned. I finished dead last. They sent a football player to get me. I believe his words of encouragement were, “Move your ass!” if memory serves.

Since that fateful day, I have been chasing down redemption. I want to run a half marathon more than anything. I’ve walked it three times, with a little jogging peppered in. But this is the year. I have developed a very detailed 5-part action plan for how I am going to come at it.

1. Pick a race and sign up.
Done. It’s at the end of September in my hometown.

2. Get some new kicks.
I always end up with Brooks Adrenalines, but I’ll still go to our local running
store for my biannual analysis because I like watching my feet on camera and imposing my self-deprecating commentary on the sales guy.

 3. Train to train.
There is this wonderful gal at work who runs the real deal races. She has helped several other people come up with a kickass training program, so I picked one I liked and sent it to her. She asked how far, frequently and fast I am currently running. I sent my stats. Her response was sweet and thoughtful and she (summarized) basically suggested I use the program I had found to get me ready to start a real training program in July. So, I need to train to train. I get it. That’s where I’m at. Truth is a liquor best served straight up. So, I’m starting my pretraining training program today.

4. Train.
In July, I will begin one of Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Novice training programs. I’ll have to give this more thought when I get there.

5. Find some sucker
I have solicited a few friends to join me, with some interest returned. I had a great walking partner, who very politely passed on trying to run the thing. I worry about someone with a quick or long stride because, as we’ve established, this is not my jam. I need someone who is determined to finish, but not super speedy.
So, here we go … 26 weeks and counting!

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1 Comment

  • Reply Libby April 10, 2015 at 12:56 am

    a stamp transfer … omg! hilarious!!
    so excited for this! might have to venture up to the fort in september …

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