I wanted to write my experience I had during this past year with running my first Half Marathon. Let me preface this by saying I have NEVER been a runner my entire life...always “hated running” and never in a million years would I have ever believed anyone if they had told me I would run two half marathons in 2013. I think the only time I had ever run one mile without stopping before this was in gym class in high school about 35 yrs ago.
Back in January, a friend of mine mentioned she had signed up to run a half marathon and that I should do it with her, “it will be fun”. “No way” I thought. But after my friend left, something inside pushed me to bundle up and head out into the 25 degree frigid New Jersey Winter and run 1 mile without stopping. I was miserable....coughing, sniffling, out of breath and spitting....I forced myself to run the mile without stopping. Wow did that ever suck...I’m not thinking I want to do even a mile ever again, never mind 13.1. Two days later I decide I will do the mile again and see if I can beat my time from the other day.....and so the story goes....the rest is history.... I kept going...pushed myself to do 2 miles, then 4 miles. At that point I decided I needed to sign up for the marathon and present myself with one of the biggest challenges of my life.
I only had 14 weeks total from that first mile to the day of the race...crazy...novice runner and taking on a half marathon. I enlisted the help of Charles Washington, from the ZIOH forum since he runs 7 or 8 half marathons a year. Through texting he helped coach me through training to be able to run the half marathon.
Funny how people who know my zc woe would comment upon hearing of my training to run the race, “Well you are finally going to have to eat some carbs” they would say with a smirk on their face. Even my husband eagerly made a comment about how I will have to “carbo load” now that I am running. “Ummmm, actually no....running just fine fueled on beef and bacon thank you...LOL”
I only ran 2 days a week to be sure to give my legs a chance to recover after each run. I was surprised how my running kept progressing even though I was not running more days per week.
I never drank water during any of my training runs and usually tried to run on an empty stomach. Charles said he never eats or drinks on the morning of the races and never takes water at the water stations along the race route. I ran a couple 12 mile training runs before the big day doing just that and felt great so that is what I did. I drank a bit more than usual the day before the race to make sure I was hydrated and I ate about 1.5 lb ribeye for dinner the night before the race.
All went splendidly. I had learned as I was training that “Going Sub 2” (running the 13.1 miles in under 2 hours) was a goal that many half marathoners shoot for as they attempt each half marathon. I had no realistic expectation of being able to run sub 2 but I had my sights set on trying even though I had never run any training run close to the pace I would have to keep up to hit that goal. I ran it in 1:59 and came in 65th out of 349 women in the 44-49 yr old age group. Not bad for a 48 yr old beginner fueled on zero carbs! Then 6 wks later I ran another in 1:58....pretty amazing. My Half Marathon days are over now, I decided I am not going to run another. A friend did ask me to sign up for a 10 mile race in October so I will start to run again soon to train for that and then I think that will be the end of the long distance running.
And as an interesting aside....during the 4 months of training and running the 2 half marathons, I ran a total of 340 miles....prior to this I was doing NO EXERCISE AT ALL. Want to guess how much weight I lost from all those miles??? 2 pounds....hard to believe, but yes I was hungrier and yes I ate more beef.
Who knows what the future holds with zc. I feel like I can do anything I set my mind to do. Going to start doing some cycling next....stay tuned.