My resolution for 2013 is simply: Wellness. In anticipation of following through and creating some accountability in advance, I signed up for the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in Pasadena last November. That gave me 14 weeks to train.
Having fallen out of the habit of working out, the first few weeks were definitely difficult, especially given the cold winter mornings. A few weeks into the training, I mentioned to my older brother that I was running the race. He offered to train with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was just the accountability I needed. Twice a week, he come to my apartment at 5:45 in the morning. We can run until about 7 AM.
At first, I was adamant about running my intervals. I brought my phone and set timers of four minutes running, one minute walking. But over time, my brother challenged me to run through those one minute intervals — or even run slow and steady during the four minutes and sprint for the one minute. He coached me on form, pace, and breathing, on how to run with the earth, how to swing my arms when running uphill, and encouraged me to push myself faster right after the hill and going down slopes. Over the course of a few weeks, I was able to run three and half miles, 4 miles, 4.5 half miles, and up to 5+ miles without stopping!
Our training took a two week hiatus when the flu went around. Then the weather became really nice again, and we decided to run on a warm weekend afternoon. We got 5 miles in, but I started to feel some pain in my knee. It went away and a couple days after some rolling out, stretching, and a massage. I felt some pain in my knee during the next run but eased my pace and walked when I needed to. After stretching and showering, however, the pain returned intensely, so much so that I couldn’t even walk to the Metro station to get to work! It was the week of the race itself, and I worried whether I would be able to run. I did a shorter test run a couple of days later and actually recorded my fastest mile ever (under 10 minutes!). Then I walked it out, stretched, rolled out, and felt better immediately. I spent the next three days resting and continuing with stretches, and by race day, I felt ready.
My “strategy” was to run as much as I had during training, about 5.5 miles, then do intervals or walk as necessary thereafter. I kept going past the 6-mile marker. Then the 7-mile. Then 8. And 9. My brother and I ran the entire first 10 miles and more all the way through! I don’t think I’ve ever done that in my entire life. What a great accomplishment!
Unfortunately, into the 11th mile, my knee started acting up. I slowed down my pace, and even walked a little bit. But the pain kept increasing. By the last two miles of the race, I was simply walking. I couldn’t even run across the finish line. So sad.
The most frustrating part was that I had the energy and the inclination to keep running. But my body simply said, “No.” However reluctantly, I chose to listen to my body in order to preserve it for future runs.
Still, we finished in under three hours. My brother, who I had previously thought would run at his 7-minute mile pace, ended up by my side the entire way.”We train together, we run together, “he said. He even treated me to a post-race massage! I have an awesome brother.
I’m still experiencing some minor pain in my knee, but resting, healing, and looking forward to running again — which is something I never thought I’d say. My BFF and I have agreed to run one 10K race together each quarter. We just signed up for the Hollywood 10K. And who knows? I may just run another half marathon before the year’s out!