July 6, 2011


As I continue to evaluate why I started slipping in June, I can't help but reflect on how much running has changed my life. It was so significant to me that the first 5k race that I ran was on January 1 - a new year, a new me. I was ringing in 2011 with something I'd never done before and celebrating all the new possibilities that the year would bring.

Within an hour of getting home from finishing the 5k in January, I registered for the Shamrock Shuffle 8k. I went right from Couch to 5k to an 8k training plan I created for myself based on the C25k distance increases. When race day showed up, I was ready to kick butt - and I did. And I continued to do so as I transitioned from 8k training to 10k training in preparation for my next race two months later.

My next race is on the 14th, but it's an 8k. I've done this distance before - I've even done longer than this distance - so I'm not feeling challenged right now. Since I started running, I've always had something to look forward to - the next race, the next improvement on my per-mile time, the next distance challenge. I've become the kind of lady who thrives on challenges - a truly wonderful feeling. So just like with my job situation, I fear I'm becoming frustrated because I don't know what the next big step is. I've been running consistently, but without a goal in mind. It's been nice to "just run," but I need something to focus on.

For a couple of months, I've mulled over the idea of a half marathon. I hate setting time limits on weight loss goals, but I'd be lying if I said I hadn't fantasized about weighing 173 pounds as I cross the finish line at my first half marathon ... because with a starting weight of 345 pounds, that would put me at exactly half. Half Mary at the half mary. Dreamy, no? The only problem right now is, again, the job situation. There's a half in Chicago in mid-September, which would be perfect, except that I'm not sure if I'll still be here or if I'll be forced to relocate back to Connecticut. The registration is $80, which is a lot when you're in between jobs and want to save every cent you can in case of emergencies.

Yesterday, I came to a decision.

I'm going to start training for the half marathon in September.

I figure, if I get good news about a job, I'm prepared and can register without fear that I won't be ready to run over thirteen miles. And if not, nothing has been lost - I will have logged some great workouts and I won't be out the $80.

I've been feeling so great lately since I've been back on-plan and having great workouts again, yet somehow I feel even better now. It's so good to have a schedule and something to look forward to!

What about you? Do you race often? What's the longest race you've done? What races and/or events are you looking forward to?


Jillian said...

Oh, Mary, I know ALL about trying to accomplish things while your life is in the middle of huge transitions. I've pretty much been living out of boxes since February--I've lived in three different countries in the last five months. I'm really sympathetic to your situation, and I think that you've found a great compromise on the marathon front--and even if you're forced to relocate, you can probably find one close to your new home that you can run once your transition phase is complete. I hope having a goal to strive for helps motivate you!

timothy said...

i've had to stop making goals that are difficult i just can't focus on them right now. i'm just trying to stay on plan and work out 3 times a week. but the half marathon saounds like a great idea for you. it is nice to have something to be excited about!

Kelliann said...

Woh - if you move back to CT, let me know - that's where I live! :-)
Goal making is tough for me. I find I tend to self-sabatage when I am restricted to a time limit. I have to "go with the flow" or I start flowing in the WRONG direction!

Katie Foster said...

I had the same fantasy about being half my size for the half marathon. And just a few months prior to the race, I was only ONE POUND away! But I put on some weight, and I still ran the half. And I'm SO GLAD that I did! I was feeling so much pressure to lose the weight by that deadline, that I couldn't focus on enjoying my training or anything.

Out of all the races I've done (5k, 8k, 10k, and half marathon), the half marathon was my FAVORITE. I love that you can focus on going slow and steady, where in a 5k you feel like you have to rush out fast and hard. The half was very enjoyable!

Anyway, I think it's great that you're going to train even if you're unsure whether you can register. Better safe than sorry!

Shannon said...

It's a great goal, Mary! A half marathon - wow! You'll kick butt - I know it! Good luck w/ everything.

Alexia said...

A half marathon is amazing to me! I can't believe you ONLY just started running in January!

Amy said...

Half Mary doing a half mary. LOVE IT.

I'm sure there is a half near your home too if god forbid you do have to relocate, I'm sure it won't come to that!

Have you heard anything back on the possibility of more courses at your old job?

Denise said...

At this time I have not done any races. I did the Step Out walk for 1 mile. I would like to start doing 5K. I just need to get over the hangup I have about being slow. Skinny Emmie talked about this Mudathon that I thought looked so cool! http://www.mudathlon.com/about.html
(wow they have one this month in Chicago area) Mine would have to be the Aug 13th one in Cincy.

I think it is great that you are deciding to train. Hopefully you can do the one in Chicago and if not others are right there are 1/2 marathons all over the place. So would a Marathon be next?

Kelty said...

That's an awesome solution! And I think being half your size at your first half marathon would be AWESOME.

Anonymous said...

I love half Mary doing half marathon. $80 bucks well spent and that is coming from someone who can squeeze a nickle until the buffalo shits.

Tim said...

I've been waiting for this post since your success at your last big race! Congratulations on deciding to do a half marathon!

Your journey has been fantastic so far and this is yet another chapter on an amazing story.

Good luck with your training!

Debbie said...

I have done several 5k's and I love it. I am looking for another one to do in Sept when it cools off some.

Good luck with your next race..

CarolineCalcote said...

The prospect of the half-mary (as a half-Mary) is so exciting! I have signed up for my first half-marathon in November and I'm pretty anxious about it. It's keeping me motivated to keep running over the summer, which is super hard here in Florida (I know it's hard in Chicago too!). I'm very nervous about basically having to train for it during the heat. It is still totally summer here in November, so all the training will be in the worst part of the year, really. But I really want to do it! Very excited for both of us :)

Ann said...

MARY!!!!!! THAT'S AMAZING!!!!! I hope you can get a lot of good info from my half-marathon recaps (today, tomorrow, and Friday), and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE use me as a resource!!!! I'm not an expert, NOT BY ANY MEANS, but I DID just finish my first one and I am SO SO SOOOOOO excited for you to do one, too!!!! LOVE TIMES A MILLION!!!!!!