“I Just Felt Like Running”

For almost three months now, I’ve been training for my first half marathon.  It all started with a good running buddy, a new year’s goal, and a LOT of Christmas cookies to burn off.

My friend Megan and I love a good travel adventure, and when we began tossing ideas around to do a race together (she’s done three halves; this will be my first), we immediately thought that making it a “destination” race would only make it *that much* better.  Work hard, play hard. Win-win.  Plus it’s added training accountability when there are plane tickets and babysitters involved.  No backing out now!

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Megan and me after a 10-mile run around the lake – my first time hitting a double digit run! 

So, in two short weeks Megan and I will be flying out to Charleston, then driving to Savannah, for the “Publix Savannah Women’s Half and 5k.”  You can check out a shot of the course scenery here, it’s just so pretty.

Prior to this January, I had never run more than 5.6 miles (two laps around Green Lake’s inner loop, for those who know Seattle) and rarely ran more than four miles at a time.

I absolutely hated running until my mid-twenties, when I somehow began to sort of enjoy it…or even if I loathed the process at times, loved how I felt when I completed a run.

In recent years I’ve ebbed and flowed with how often I run, casually and somewhat regularly at best, and not at all during either of my pregnancies.

The last couple of years I’ve thought more seriously about training for a half marathon.  I knew the length would be a true challenge for me, but doable.  Enter a fun and motivating friend and a perfect race opportunity in a city I’ve wanted to visit — sign me up.

So sign up I did and over the last 11 weeks we’ve gradually increased our “long” runs, from 2.8 miles around Green Lake, to 6.2 around Lake Union, 9+ along Alki and, finally, just this past Monday, about 11.5 miles from Gas Works Park to Golden Gardens and back.

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It was cloudy and only raining a little on this part of our run, passing under the Aurora Bridge.

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Pausing to admire this gorgeous mermaid I made in 4th grade, installed in a tile work path at Golden Gardens. ; ) 

One might question my judgment to choose the months of January, February and March to train for a race.  In SEATTLE.  Lately our running forecast has basically looked like this most of the time:

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I have run in absolute soaking rain (once for almost two hours), in falling snow and over crunching ice, in freezing sub-thirty-degree temperatures, and on exactly one gloriously odd occasion while in the San Diego area for my son’s birthday, in this:

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Cue angels singing.

But more often, when I’ve finished a run, I’ve peeled off a sweatshirt that feels like it weighs about 20 pounds in water weight, like this:

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You really can’t tell HOW SOAKED I am there.

I am confident I would not have made it this far, through this many miles, in the CRAZIEST weather, without the motivation of my faithful and fun friend and running partner.  So thank you, Megan!!

Keeping with the work hard/play hard mantra, we decided to do our post-11 mile stretching at a bar, in a booth, over beer and happy hour food.  Inspired by Big Little Lies.  🙂  I’m sure we smelled AMAZING.

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Oh, and we cross train with yoga, stroller walks, and our 1-year-old sons’ “Little Gym” classes.  Sorry people, those are all the tips I have.

Oh, and Girl Scout cookies. You deserve ALL the Girl Scout cookies.

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Here’s to many more stories shared on long runs, celebratory beers, setting goals and seeing them through.  Crossing that finish line in Savannah will feel oh so sweet.

And it’s only fitting that much of Forrest Gump was filmed in the South Carolina/Georgia area where we’ll be.  What better setting than that of a movie about a man who set off to see the country because he “just felt like running?”

YOLO.  That’s reason enough for me.

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