Training for a half-marathon

Growing up, I always enjoyed movement. I rode my bike, I played organized sports, I danced, and I was extremely active with friends. Something that was fun for me was racing the nay-saying boys in 5th grade. I definitely wasn't the cutest girl, nor did I portray the image that I was athletic, simply because I didn't follow suit in attire and attitude of surrounding athletes. These boys, which by the way I had a crush on one of them, always challenged me to a running race, a short distance. They did this because I talked the smack that would encourage them to do so.


When time came to race, I was ready to crush those boys, although logic told me I probably wouldn't win. Logic also taught me that if I did win, then that boy I was interested in would show me attention back. So I was ready.


The day came and I was all decked out in attire. I had on tennis shoes, sweatpants and my hair pulled in a pony-tail, something I rarely sported to this point. I had to run from the wall ball wall around the playground and back.


The other boys in the group backed out because 'they didn't want to hurt my feelings' aka they were AFRAID! I was up against the 'boy of my 5th grade dreams'. The other kids shouted go and I was off.


And guess what happened.........


I kicked his trash!!! It was such an exhilarating feeling! Naturally he wasn't pleased that I beat him, so he challenged me again. This time the course was a straight shot sprint style race. Same day, only a few minutes apart and I gave all that I had in the first race. I honestly thought for sure he would crush me this time and prove his point that I was the underdog and that my trash talk was all in vain, but the score would have been 1-1 if I did lose; he wasn't that bright of a kid, not sure why I liked him so much.


Anyways, yet again it wasn't the best of challenges for me. I kicked his trash yet again and earned the respect of all his friends, yet not him. He was furious that an ugly, somewhat quiet, yet cocky girl beat him twice. He never challenged me again, but he also didn't show me the attention I was seeking by accepting the challenge. Winning was fun, but it didn't give me what I was looking for, the attention and credit from the 'boy of my 5th grade dreams'.


oh well....life goes on.


Fast forward a bajillion years later and I absolutely despised running. Maybe it was from the initial experience in 5h grade. Maybe it was my lack of belief in myself that I could do it. Maybe it was the fierce competition that I was somehow born with that made me feel like I couldn't win anymore because I was old. I honestly don't know what it was. I could play sports, I could increase my heart rate, but I didn't have any interest in running whatsoever.....until I entered Eagle Mountain, or at least until Eagle Mountain entered me.


My daughter set out to run a marathon, a series of keeping track of her miles for 25 miles and then race day she would complete 1.2 miles to finish the marathon. Mind you, she was doing it 'with' a boy too, don't think it was 'for' the boy, but it was an added bonus to train a little bit with him and run the race together.


When we attended her final race in Provo in 2016, I was blown away at all these children that showed up to complete this race. My heart was happy to see so many hopeful future runners and starting off at a young age. Little did I know that while this 1.2 mile race was going on, the Provo half marathon racers were finishing. A 10 year old girl and her dad finished, then a 75 year old man wearing clunky tennis shoes and jean shorts finished. (the only reason I know their ages is because I was so interested that I went up and asked them). I was AMAZED! I was ready to run my FIRST half marathon simply because I was comparing myself to them. If they could do it, then I could do it. And all along I was telling myself that I could if I wanted to, but I didn't like running, HA!


Disclaimer: up to this point, I had lived in Eagle Mountain for over a year and multiple friends were trying to get me to run with them with little desire on my part. I was a Zumba teacher, weight trainer and I wasn't super interested in this kind of exercise; I was set doing my own thing.


I am super crazy about doing the research for optimal results in anything I purchase, do or experience, so running my first race posed no different preparation. I looked into shoes, clothing, routes, schedules and even eating habits. I was pumped. I even convinced my husband to run it with me. I kept saying, "if the 75 year old man in jeans and clunky shoes can do it, then so can we!"


We signed up before we started training, we had to finish now!


I learned....don't judge a book by it's cover.


Our first few weeks of training were nothing less than miserable, frustrating and hard! We experienced fatigue, irritability, terrible weather, and LOTS of sore muscles. Yet we were determined! We paid for the race and we weren't backing out!


Fast forward the 3 months that we trained an we completed our first race.


And I definitely did a lot more walking than I thought a 'runner' should be doing.


Some things I learned:

  1. Training together doesn't mean you'll race together (my husband knew this but I was left in his dust to angrily figure it out)

  2. Keeping your head up will help you enjoy the journey much more, regardless of how many miles you have left

  3. Focus on the finish line. Think about all the people that will be there cheering your efforts on, even if they haven't seen the journey to get there.

  4. Nothing can prepare you for your first race! Nothing! You must prove that you've learned something by doing it over again, even if it's not the same route.

  5. You don't know what you're capable of until you put yourself out there.

  6. There are a lot of kind people in this world ready to help you along the way. (ie aid stations with gatorade and oranges for the sugar crash)

As I've been reflecting upon why I became interested in running this first race to start with, I realized that it was my desire to connect with like minded people. I wanted to be around people who set goals, worked hard to achieved them and didn't give up when it was hard.

Like those early days in 5th grade when I was seeking the attention of my 'crush', I still find myself seeking the attention of others, but it a much different light.


I seek the kind of attention that influences others to push past their limited beliefs and inadequacies. I believe anything in this life can be trained for. You must do the work, have the determination and never, ever give up!


Now I enjoy running races for "fun", yeah never thought I would say that. I enjoy helping others get past their mental blocks that they can't do something physically challenging. I enjoy being at the finish line rooting on friends, family and complete strangers who all need the encouragement to finish. I enjoy helping people become Stronger TODAY!

"I'd give up carbs but I'm not a quitter!" Nebo 2019

DIANA SMITHSON

STRONGER TODAY HEALTH

©2019 by StrongerTodayHealth