By: Brittani Sahm
Sports Information Assistant
As part of my transition from college to real-life, I decided to set aside my sprinting spikes from years of running nothing above 200 meters and sign up for a half-marathon. At first I thought I must be crazy to actually want to run 13.1 miles, but it has been an interesting three-month transition.
I still don’t know what appeals to me about running because sometimes I really just want to sit on the couch all day and eat cookies. That was probably the hardest part for me to get used to, motivating myself to get up every morning and do the workouts. I still struggle with getting up an hour earlier than needed to run a few miles. Just this morning I contemplated not getting out of bed, but then I remembered the months of hard work I have already put into this. I can’t stop now.
I began training at the beginning of January for my race on April 7. I gave myself plenty of time because I knew this would not come easy to me. The first time I had to run over two miles, I thought that would be the end of me. I really had no reason to run longer distances before so it was a bit of a shock to my body.
Eventually the longer I ran, the more my body became used to the distance. Unfortunately the time I was running was not my only issue… I have heard from many people that the Charlottesville Half-Marathon is very hilly. Lexington is filled with hills, but some are just too much for me to handle. I got too ambitious at some points, trying to train through the mountains, but that only left me tired instead of turning in a good workout.
My biggest obstacle was probably around the six and a half mile mark. My times were improving and I was able to make it through all of my runs without keeling over, but the halfway mark was tough. This was around mid-February and the temperatures were not really the warmest. Saturday mornings are always my long run days and once I ran over six miles I realized this was happening. That meant I would have to keep going after this point. That scared me, especially because I had already paid the $80 to run the race and I could not let that go to waste.
Luckily I got through the slump and trudged on with the increasing mileage. I’m proud to say that this past weekend I ran 12 miles! Because I have kept up with the training, I know how my body reacts to the different distances now. For instance, the month of March has included a 10 mile, 11 mile and 12 mile run and it has been absolutely brutal. The first six to seven miles are pretty rough, but after that my body pretty goes numb. It’s really not as bad as it sounds. I make it through every run so that is always a success to me.
There have been times when I think I have gone a bit delusional while on a longer run though. One time I thought I saw assistant field hockey coach Jane Beall running through town (I was on mile 10 if that helps you picture how exhausted I was). Turns out my frantic waving and yelling her name was not getting her attention because it was not Jane. Whoops. The worst part is I just saw the same girl running this morning.
Even with all of the downfalls I have had while training for this half-marathon, I have gotten so many more great things from it. For one, I can eat all of the cookies I want. All joking aside, I also have learned to stick to things even when it can be tough. There is not a better lesson in life than learning to always stay strong.
Less than three weeks to go and I will be off racing. Wish me luck!