As I sit down to write this, I have officially run my last long run, the Team In Training group runs are over and my legs are itching to get to the start line at the Nike Women’s Marathon, well the half marathon for me.
I am sitting here thinking about how these days 3 miles feels short and 6 miles felt like a good run, and I am excited about 13.1. How did I even get here?
It was a hard road, but one a I would go down again and again. When I signed up for Team In Training, I had raced nothing more than few 5k’s and I had never ran any farther than 5 miles. I showed up the first day and was immediately shocked at how fast all these “slow” runners were. I knew the route and was okay, I finished the 3 miles in my normal pace and was looking forward to the next run.
The next run was miserable, it was freezing cold and I felt alone, no one else was at my pace, what was I even doing trying to run a half-marathon? I thought I was being an idiot, I would never be able to run 13.1 miles, I was struggling with 4 miles. I eventually talked to my coach and she really helped bring everything in perspective, at the end of the day each race would be my own and each run would help get me there. I needed to stop comparing myself to other runners because we are all having our own struggles and we would never have the same experience.
The weeks ticked by and all the sudden it was almost August and my pace was picking up, not just because of the long runs but because I was really following the plan laid out for me, I was doing cross training 3 times a week, I was running at home and I was doing speed work with some of my teammates. I was starting to get confident in my running and confident in myself. In September I ran my first 10k and it was not a great experience, I was frustrated and back to feeling defeated. I knew that I needed to get over it, and I talked to my teammates, and they were very supportive, and they helped me find ways to use the run as a learning experience. I used that mentality to go into my first ever half-marathon, I was using 11 miles as a training run and walking the rest. It was a great run, the course was beautiful, and just the right amount of difficult. I had my coach and other Team In Training support waiting for me at the finish. I couldn’t believe I finished my first half-marathon, and that I felt great.
I am so excited to run the half-marathon in San Francisco, and while my coach won’t be there, there will be thousands of other Team In Training members to lean on for support. This hasn’t always been easy, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. I have a wonderful running support system that I never had before. As cheesy as it sounds, I knew I would meet great people by going through this experience, but now I have a little runner family, that I can’t imagine not connecting and running with.