New year New Race

Thursday, January 11, 2024

This Saturday I will run my first Georgia Half-Marathon. I signed up because the race is 15 minutes from my house. I also wanted to have a solid fitness goal to guide me through the holiday season.

Although I ran 13.1 miles at least 15 times in my life, I never take this distance for granted. I am grateful for each step I take toward a finish line. 

A friend from CrossFit joined me for training runs as well as a few friends. I was grateful for the joyful company. 

My goal for this race is to finish strong and to have fun. The strategy is to run intervals the entire time. I decided to fill my hydration pack so I don't have to stop a lot. I will have Gu with me and a lot of music to keep me occupied. 

I know quite a few folks running this race. A handful of friends from church and the community. I'm sure I will make some new friends as well. I hope to encourage someone while I'm out there. 

For the first time ever, I combined distance running with CrossFit. It took planning and perseverance but it worked out. The recovery plan is to focus on strength without losing too much of the endurance I built with distance running. 

I usually don't celebrate the end of a race but with this one, I think I will. I prefer not to celebrate with food.  do need a new food scale so I might buy one to celebrate. I used to have those 26.2 and 13.1 stickers. I might buy them to celebrate. Then I need to find a CrossFit one! We'll see. 

The lessons I learned this season are the following:

Schedule your runs ahead of time. I plugged my entire training mileage on my calendar. This way I was able to plan for holidays, travel, and bad weather days. 

Find running buddies if you need them. If you need someone's encouragement, even if for key training runs, put the word out so you can find running buddies.

Plan for changing weather. I think this was one of my coldest training seasons yet. Planning for the weather was important because it allowed me to run comfortably (or not). My rule is I run when it rains but not when it's lightning. I do it because 

You are your biggest cheerleader. Every time I run a major race, I notice how many doubters are out there. I notice the support. The thing that both of these lovely groups cannot do is the work. I'm the only person who can do the work therefore I need to be my biggest cheerleader. Getting out of bed to run alone in below-freezing temperatures is very difficult. Being my own cheerleader helps. If I don't believe in myself, I'm not sure who would fully get out there to do these impressive physical feats. 

Encourage others along the way. I've been encouraged by so many people over the years. I want to do the same for others. I see encouraging as inserting courage in someone's heart. Convincing them they can do something they are not sure they can. While I'm not responsible for the results, I am in charge of the input. 

I appreciate your prayers as I run on Saturday. I know God will be with me. Here is to running for fun and encouraging others along the way.