1/2 + 1/2 = ?

Yesterday, I completed my second half-marathon, this time in Boston. Megan also ran it—her first half-marathon—and did awesome!

Here we are at the finish.

This course was hilly and difficult, much harder than the Princess race—the hardest part of that one was getting up at 3 AM. But I’m really happy to say I finished with a respectable time, although it wasn’t as fast as I wanted it to be due to the heat. I really do not do well exercising in heat—that’s one reason I did swimming for so long, I think! But yesterday was unseasonably hot out—80 degrees in Boston in October! WTF? I want my nice fall weather! So while I made really good time for the first eight miles, I hit a wall when we had to run uphill over a bridge where there was no shade, and around Mile 11 I threw up. I think I may have had a bit of heat exhaustion—it wasn’t until after I finished and got some Gatorade that I started to feel better. As much of a pain as training in the winter for the Princess race was, it was MUCH easier than running in the heat. But I’m really happy that after that unfortunate detour I was still able to finish!

I have to say, though, it will be awhile before I attempt another half-marathon—I’m thinking next fall I might do one in Newton, but my next athletic attempt will probably be an open-water swim. While I was training for this race, I ended up neglecting other forms of exercise I love—swimming, yoga, Zumba, classes at the gym like Pilates and abs workouts. While I enjoy running, I don’t live and breathe it like a lot of serious runners do. I’ve heard people talk about getting a “runner’s high,” and I have no idea what that is. Actually, when I run I get more angry than anything else—my mind tends to wander and I imagine scenarios, and by the end of the run I’m mad at someone for something that never happened.

This is the thing, though: never in a million years did I think that I’d be someone who completed two half-marathons in less than eight months. If you check my bucket list, I talk about the open-water swim and eventually a triathlon (although I have some serious catching up to do with cycling before I can do one of those), but nothing about running. I did JV track for three years in high school, but I never thought of myself as A Runner. As a kid, I knew adults who were serious runners—so serious that they wouldn’t do a popular two-mile race in my hometown because “it’s only two miles,” and I used to roll my eyes at that. Now, I can actually relate to that mentality.

I wish someone would tell this to high school and college students. When it comes to sports, it’s so easy to feel like whatever you are as a teenager is what you’ll be for the rest of your life—in my case, mediocre swimmer and girl-who-only-does-JV-track-so-she’s-doing-something-during-the-offseason. But none of that really matters after you graduate—after that, you don’t do anything for scholarships or to get colleges’ attention, but just because you want to. Look at me—I always thought of myself as a terrible athlete as I was growing up, and I still don’t consider myself a good one, but here I am doing two half-marathons in a year, thinking about doing another one, and hoping to do at least a couple of shorter road races by the end of the year.

If you didn’t know me, you might think that perhaps I actually am A Runner. I certainly don’t think of myself that way, but the point is that if I wanted to be A Runner, I could be.

2 thoughts on “1/2 + 1/2 = ?

  1. Amy Lavender

    Great job on finishing even though it sounds like you encountered less than ideal conditions! I'm running my first half in a couple of weeks, and I'm pretty sure I'll throw up at some point.

    I've never experienced anything resembling a “runner's high” either. I'm still not completely convinced that it is real!

  2. Sweeney

    CONGRATS! Seriously, two half marathons in under a year? Impressive stuff. I'm just in the early phases of making some sort of runner out of myself, but never in that identity sort of way, like what you suggested. I come from family of people who either currently or at one point in time identified themselves as such, though, so I totally get the distinction that you're making there. And yes, the greatest thing about the so-called real world (which doesn't actually exist, but that's not the point) is that the parameters change entirely. Your reasons for doing anything are completely different when you no longer have all the pressure of “the next step.” That was the thing I was most excited about with graduation – for the first time in my life there was no next step.

    That was the rambliest reply ever and only kind of had anything to do with this post. Sorry – once I get going…

    but, this: by the end of the run I’m mad at someone for something that never happened.
    I laughed so hard because I have totally done this at the gym. THE SCENARIO SEEMS SO REAL IN YOUR HEAD… *sigh*


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