My Half Marathon Journey
My running journey started 3 years ago, when I met this older black woman who I saw killing it on this trail. I stopped her and asked how far she ran that morning and she replied with some ridiculous distance. I was so impressed by her and was immediately inspired by her endurance and wanted a new challenge. I joined the black girls run FB group and got to it. Fairly slow at first, completing a couple 5K's (3.1 miles) and trained for 2 10K's (6.2 miles).
By the time the panny hit, I had been running pretty regularly for 2 years. But I wanted a new challenge that might be a little crazy. I told myself I would complete a half marathon this year. This was a whole new experience, going distances that I had never attempted and training on another level.
I decided to go with a 12-week training. I used the Hal Higdon Novice schedule. And planned my half marathon for October.
When training for such a long distance, as cliche as it may seem, consistency is absolutely necessary. The training increased your total miles each week, and increased your long distance run typically by a mile weekly. I altered the schedule slightly to have my cross training, which was cycling to Mondays and Wednesdays (I couldn't miss Kae's classes) and completed my long runs on Saturday and always rested on Sunday. Week 1-6 I trained by myself, which had its challenges. At the time 5 miles and under was pretty easy for me but motivating myself to do the longer distances was a chore. My goal whenever running is to never stop and keep a consistent pace, no walking whatsoever. The longer distances in week 7 and greater truly scared me. So, I needed to change my solo approach. One of my cycle fam members, Cynthia had completed multiple half marathons and a full and she introduced me to a running group, the North Oak Cliff Runners. I still completed my weekday runs solo, but every Saturday completed my long-distance run for the week at 6:00AM with the group. Running with a group truly makes a difference. The motivation and competition of running with others kept me consistent.
I faced a few injuries but learned a lot during this 12-week training. The strain of running so often really wore me out. I think the whole city knew my left hip was taking me down. I also had a left ankle injury and lower back injury. The best tips I garnered were:
1. Find a good pair of running shoes. I ran in Nike Air Huarache. I would not recommend this shoe however I had them broken in already and had my stride down in this brand. Every long-distance runner I met raves about Brooks. I definitely plan of trying them out.
2. Using a hand-held running bottle. With my previous trainings I've never needed water during the run but with these distances its necessary. 5 and below is the plug. It's great to carry and doesn't affect your posture or pace.
3. Carbohydrates are your friend. After an hour of running, your body has used a substantial amount of energy and needs more if you want to push to the end. Carbohydrate or energy gels are convenient and easy to carry. I also carried fruit in my bra (judge ya mama) which also got the job done. Mile 6-7 was usually my re-up mile.
Stretching and an electric massager were my best friend, though it did little to help. But it honestly didn't matter I was so motivated to complete this goal. I had to finish my training and complete this race.
I was pretty confident because my Saturday group really pushed. I was running farther than the training suggested. By the time October 23rd came around I was READY. I finished my half marathon, 13.1 miles in 2 hours 17 minutes. I was the 3rd female finisher and the only black female competitor. I encourage everyone to find new challenges and fitness goals. I won't ever be the person that would admit that running long distances is fun, absolutely not. Thrilling? Without a doubt. A full marathon is next! The thought scares the hell out of me but I want a new thrill. Black girls run!
-Tasha's Taste of Travel