Now that it’s been nearly two weeks since I ran my half and my blisters are mostly healed and I’ve finally warmed up from the chilly run, I can take some time to reflect on the whole experience. I think any time we accomplish something that seems outside our ability, we need to sit back and really soak in what’s been achieved.
In all honesty, I should not have run as well as I did. Granted, the cold temperatures and generally miserable condition helped move me along a bit faster in anticipation of a hot breakfast and heated car awaiting me at the end. But still, looking back, I did not train well for this race. My longest run was 11.4km leading up and I’m baffled at how I managed to remain upright crossing the finish line. Now I realize that I did a lot of walking, particularly in the final 6km, and I wasn’t falling over exhausted at the end. I actually felt pretty darn fantastic.
So that begs me to ask: did I just fake my way through a half marathon or was I more prepared than I realized?
From a running perspective, I was running fairly consistently for the weeks leading up to the race. I fought a couple of sinus infections that sidelined me for a bit as well as a recurrent nagging issue with my foot. I really could have and maybe should have done more.
I was also swimming one day per week and strength training 2-3 days per week. This is where I think the difference was made. What I lacked in running, I made up for in cross-training and this is what I truly believe got me through my run.
Finally, I was mentally prepared. I knew it was going to be tough, and I knew there was a chance I might not get through it but in my mind, I had a game-plan none-the-less. I went in with the plan to run the first half and walk the second half. If I felt that I could, I would run as much of the second half as I could but I would be ok with walking. I set a goal time of 2:45 to account for the walking, a dream time of 2:30 in case I ran more than I anticipated and didn’t deviate from that mind-set.
All in all, I did good. I wouldn’t change anything about my day but what I will do is take this experience and apply it to my next half marathon, 10k, 5k or whatever I decide to do.