Bucket List Item #29: Run 13.1 Miles (Half-Marathon)
Who would have thought, one month ago today when I still had TEN items on my list, that we would be here at the penultimate post on my birthday eve-eve?!? I didn’t know how much of a procrastinator I was until I gave myself 365 days to complete 30 things…..and I saved 33% of them for the last 30 days. It has been a VERY busy month. The cleanliness of my house has taken the toll. I have a deep-cleaning day scheduled for myself next week 😅
Running the distance of a half-marathon (13.1 miles) would have been just a normal Sunday for me, back in the day. I spent the better part of a decade in running shoes. I truly LOVE running (long distance. No sprinting here haha). After all, this blog began when I was a NCAA Division 1 athlete for Northern Arizona University’s Cross Country, Indoor Track and Outdoor Track team. (Anyone been here since race recaps…? ☺️) That was the time in my life that I look back and am most proud of. I’m so thankful to have had that experience!
Though I never saw myself continuing to run competitively after college, I do see myself as a lifelong recreational runner. And I know that it’s totally natural to have peaks and valleys in everything so I will openly admit that I’ve been in quite the valley when it comes to running lately. Particularly since becoming pregnant and now having a baby for the past 11 months. I run here and there but not as consistently or structured as my past, which is a goal of mine going into spring.
This was another item I prolonged til the deadline, and Idaho isn’t particularly known for its “ideal outdoor running weather” in February. Looking at the forecast, I decided this afternoon was my best shot this week. It would be sunny and upper 40’s, though windy. At this point, I have to take what I can get!
I was able to start my run around 2:30pm. Zeb was home until 4:00pm and could watch Brynnley while I ran outside for the first chunk. At 4:00pm, he had to get to work and I would have to come inside and use the treadmill while Brynnley snoozed for her afternoon nap. There was a good chance she would wake up during this portion and we could log the remainder of my miles outside again with her in the stroller. I had a plan!
After attending my MOPs meeting in the morning, I came home and meal-prepped for Zeb to take something healthy on his work trip. I made a Greek salad with tomato, cucumber, lettuce, green onion, feta, a creamy dressing and delicious pan-fried pork patties on top with a little cup of hummus for each container. I fed Brynnley her lunch, wrote a blog post for my regular job and then changed into a weather-appropriate running outfit.
The key to getting into the long-distance zone for me is MUSIC! I could not imagine running to a podcast or an audiobook. I HAVE to be listening to really good music with a beat that fires me up. I have my go-to playlists on Spotify, which include 1990s punk, 2000s hip-hop, current country, lots of Daughtry, some Avril Lavigne, a random Linkin Park song. 😅
I ran 5.5 miles straight without stopping at an 8-minute mile average. To be perfectly honest, that’s the longest I’ve run since fourth of July! I took a short walking break to blow my nose because the wind was really getting to me. I took this picture of a random house just to show the wind in the flag:
When I started again at the 6-mile mark, I thought “uh oh. I should not have stopped.” My legs immediately felt SO HEAVY after stopping. From mile 6-12, I ran as much as I could but stopped to walk when I needed to. I never went more than a mile without running. My butt, thighs, shins and calves let me know that I would regret not training more for this haha. Here is another random snap from my run of a dead frog that really freaked me out…
At the 9-mile mark, Zeb needed to leave for work. So I returned home. Brynnley was still asleep, so I grabbed the baby monitor and hopped on the treadmill. It is so much better to run outside than on a treadmill!
She woke up 20 minutes later. I’d gotten in 2 miles, so my grand total was 11 miles.
I needed 2 more, so I got her cozy in her stroller and went back out into the neighborhood.
We made it through the remaining distance, but I did end up walking the last mile because my legs were practically THROBBING. I just know that I will not be able to walk tomorrow. I’m really surprised that my lungs weren’t more of an issue though because I expected my breathing to be more out of shape than my leg muscles. I also didn’t sweat very much at all even though I hydrated quite a bit for this, and I’m assuming the wind just helped to dry it all off pretty efficiently.
The main takeaway from this task is: I don’t know why I don’t run more. I truly enjoy it. I have proved to myself that I can fit it in with Brynnley. Especially now that the weather will start getting nicer soon, I no longer have any excuse to stay in this “valley” of my running performance. I am here to publicly commit to making long-distance running a more regular part of my lifestyle again. It makes me happy :)