Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Accidental Half

On December 4, 2010, I accidentally ran in the OUC Half-Marathon in Orlando, FL. I stumbled upon a start line, and just said "Hmm. I'm not doing anything today; I certainly don't have any motherly responsibilities to take care of *cough cough* so I guess I'll run 13.1 miles! Here I go! Wheee!" Nah, it wasn't THAT kind of accident, but I didn't start out with OUC as my goal, for sure. I guess I'll start at the beginning.

I started running when I stopped dancing, around 2006. I ran with a friend, we ran a couple of 5K's, we felt super-accomplished, and then I stopped running with any sort of purpose or intention and ran every once in a while for fitness, on a treadmill, especially after training to teach Body Pump. Cardio is great in combination with strength training. Don't take my word for it, talk to my six-pack. ANYWAY, I started running seriously again about 2 weeks before we moved back to Florida from Missouri, as I had enrolled in a "Couch Potato to 5K" training program. I wasn't REALLY a couch potato, but I wanted to get back to the basics of running technique and work on improving my time.

When we moved back to Florida, I started running again for fitness, again on the treadmill or briefly outside. Throughout this whole process I never found running to be incredibly difficult, but I always wanted to do it better. So I entered some 5K races. My time at the first one, in the heat of the summer, was 28:00. The next one was 26:37, and the third? 26:00.

Ambitiously, I thought, "Now I'll go for a 10K," and was pretty nervous about SIX WHOLE MILES. I got a training program off the internet, and started on my way. Meanwhile, a group of soon-to-be friends was running three mornings a week, starting at our gym, and gradually adding mileage depending on their race goals. I thought, "I'm too slow for them, I'm sure they're going really fast and really far." Well one day I got lonely and decided to join them, tossing aside my formal training program, with the knowledge in the back of my brain that there was something more for me out there. They accepted me into their fold, and I set out on my first "long" run--FOUR WHOLE MILES. The next week we did FIVE. Then SIX. And then I realized that I'd done it. I'd completed just about 10K, without the training program. AND I had a scheduling conflict and couldn't even run in the 10K. I skipped a week due to illness, and when I found out that my crew had run 8 miles, I was upset. I wanted to accomplish that, too! I kindly asked if they would do 8 the next week with me, and they were more than happy to push me to my goal. The next week, we did TEN. TEN WHOLE MILES. At that point I realized that it was done. The decision was made for me (although I didn't actually register for the race until about 4 days prior), I had trained for a Half-Marathon, completely on accident.

Oops, my bad.

And how did the race go?

If you follow me on Twitter, you already know. But if you want to know the details, you'll have to come back tomorrow and find out.

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