Friday, March 09, 2012


A couple of years ago, living in Virginia, the idea of a runner's second wind got stuck in my head. I have run pretty consistently since I was in High School, but always with 3 miles being the max. I really didn't think I could do much more. . . or really want to do any more than that. But then I began thinking about that runner's second wind, that long distance runners swore was real, and I wanted to find it.

So one day, last April, I ran my three miles and felt pretty good so I kept going. I ran four. I felt pretty proud of myself and it wasn't as hard as I had thought. I roped my running partner, Adrienne, into trying longer runs with me and we started going four and five miles at a time. Then in June, my friend came to visit and she put the bug of running a half marathon in my head. She insisted that it really wasn't that hard and that I could totally do it. She insisted. So, again, I roped my running buddy into the idea of training for a half marathon.

I remember the night before a five mile race I was running, I was dreading it. I knew I could do it but I worried that it was going to be a painful run. But it turned out feeling good. I loved the way I felt when I finished, surprised that it wasn't harder. Each weekend after that, Adrienne and I would dread our long runs, thinking how are we going to do this? When we had to run our first 7 mile run, we were dreading it. We stood outside saying to each other, are we crazy, why are we doing this? But then we did it and it wasn't that hard. So the next week when we ran nine miles, we were kind of looking forward to it. Once we finished that run, we knew we could do the half marathon, no problem.

We ran our first half marathon back in November in Huntsville. Our goal was to run the entire time, no walking, no stopping. We were doing really well until the last two miles, when we suddenly hit our wall and really had to push ourselves. So it slowed us a little but we kept going and finished in 2 hours 10 minutes.

About ten minutes after we finished, Adrienne's husband asked if we were going to run the Mercedes Half Marathon in Birmingham in February and I said, "Yes, Let's do it!" Adrienne, who was still remember the last two miles, said she wasn't quite sure. But it only took her a day or two to commit to the race three months later.

So we trained again and ran the Mercedes Marathon in February. We have had a very mild winter this year, especially January and February- lots of weather in the 50s and 60s. The two coldest days of the year happen to fall the same time as our race. It was 22 degrees as we started running. We had to slow down in all the water stops because the water from people's cups that had fallen on the street had frozen slick. But we had bundled ourselves appropriately and we felt good during the run. It was a fun course, through the city of Birmingham, through the downtown areas and through historical areas with beautiful, old mansions, up hills and down. I really enjoyed it. This time, Adrienne and I felt good and strong the whole way. We finished in the exact same time as our first, 2 hours and 10 minutes. I think we ran this race faster than the first, but we had to slow down every time we went through water areas where it was iced over.
I love training for half marathons. I love the weekly long run. I love the feeling of accomplishing 13 miles. But I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much or even have been able to accomplish it if it wasn't for Adrienne, my running buddy. It made the 11 mile weekend runs flash by, as she is an excellent talker. But she is moving and I am moving, so I don't know what I am going to do?? Running long distances by myself is boring. Boo.