Early last year, I decided to try out running after never really having done any athletic activities before in my life. I downloaded a neat Couch to 5K app for my phone and was initially quite successful in going from barely being able to run at all to running several minutes at a time. I lost interest after a bit, and would try to pick it up by going for a single run every couple of months.
In May of this year, I decided to try out Bay to Breakers, just to see what would happen. If tens of thousands of drunk people can finish a 12K, why can’t I? Wait, how far is a 12K? Things went well the first 5 miles, but the second half was really rough. I injured my knees and ended up walking most of the last few miles and sitting in excruciating pain for days afterward. I hadn’t trained at all even though it was certainly the farthest I’d ever run.
But despite the physical pain, it felt great that I’d set out to cross the finish line and did. I decided I wanted to train for something real that would challenge me both physically and mentally, to see if I could do it: running a half marathon. Too often in the last few years I’ve started projects or goals and haven’t finished them, and having the experience of training for and finishing a half marathon would give me confidence in my ability to follow through, as well as help me get in better shape.
Within a few days, I knew what my target half marathon would be: the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. As a huge fan of Disney parks, it’s the perfect race: an excuse to go to Disney World, lots of Disney entertainment along the course, and lenient pacing requirements. And of course getting to run through the parks, including some backstage areas. Held every January, I’d have plenty of time to get ready.
I knew I’d be doing a run/walk program in order to build up the endurance necessary to go 13.1 miles. For this first half, my goal is just to finish, regardless of time. I looked at Jeff Galloway’s training plans on runDisney, but ended up going with the Marathoning for Mortals plans after someone suggested reading the book. I’ll talk more about run/walk training in a separate post.
It’s now 2 weeks away from the race and I’m as ready as I’m going to be, and getting really excited about the trip. I feel pretty confident I’ll be able to finish even though the farthest I’ve gone in training is 10 miles. But I’m still starting to get nervous and thinking about what to pack/wear, making sure I don’t get injured before the race, and other miscellaneous preparations.
If all goes well, I have several other half marathons lined up next year that I’m excited about, and will give me an opportunity to start working on my speed once I know I can finish.