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January is here and with it a new tradition for me–training for the Indianapolis Mini Marathon. I call it a “tradition” but really it’s only the third time that I have done it. The funny thing is that I have another “tradition” that starts around April 1 and goes something like this “This-was-the-stupidest-thing-I’ve-ever-done-remind-me-never-to-sign-up-again-I-hate-running-this-is-no-fun.” Only with a few more bad words thrown in. So why do I keep signing up over and over again?
First, I view the half marathon training as a “positive” weight loss/exercise goal rather than a negative one. By that I mean that even if the scale doesn’t budge a pound, I can tell myself that I am doing great and making myself stronger and healthier if I can continue to increase my runs each week. For a Pollyanna like me, that feels a lot better than fearing a scale every week.
Second, the Mini Marathon is one of the only things I have done in my adult life that has truly given me a sense of achievement. Sure, I birthed two kids. But a passed out teenager can do that. I started a business, but I’m not exactly Steve Jobs. Completing a half marathon is just one of those things that you have to feel good about and no one can ever take away from you.
Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be winning any prizes. My kids asked me the first year if I would be “sad” if I didn’t win my “race.” I tried to explain to them that to me, just finishing the race was “winning.” They didn’t get it at the time, but I have been able to use my race as an example with my kids many times since when they have tried hard at something but didn’t “win” or come in first. We can share together how good it feels to try and do our best.
This year I have a new incentive–my husband is running with me! He has never been a runner but has been working up to the training for the last 6 months. I bugged him and bugged him to do it with me and he already runs faster than me. That’s a little depressing but it’s nice to have someone to pump me up when I need it.
Back to the training part. I follow the Half Marathon Training: Novice program by Hal Higdon. It’s 12 weeks but I give myself 16 in case I need a “do over” week or if I am traveling and don’t get in a full week of training. You have to be able to run 3 miles to start the program. For the 2 days a week that he lists cross training or strength training, I used to walk but now I do an hour of Zumba. So it’s basically 5 days a week of exercise for me–2 Zumba and 3 running, with my Saturday always being my “long run” day.
I’m excited to get started but nervous as usual. Not enough exercise and too many cookies the last couple of months. But it’s good to have a goal and a plan!