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From couch to … half marathon?

January 2, 2017

I used to run, many moons ago. Like, in 2004 or 2005, and then I stopped. In January 2015, in an effort to start exercising to go along with my eating lifestyle changes, I picked up the couch-to-5k program and followed it through to the end. And then I kept running.

In fall 2015, my boyfriend joined a 10k running club, so I joined them for runs when I could (I was simultaneously taking night classes that oftimes conflicted). The coach was excellent – she’s been running for over a decade and has been through it all. During one Sunday morning run in the snow, towards the end of the clinic, she asked me what my running goals were. I didn’t have a clue. That’s when she suggested I would rock a half marathon. That she could see the determination and patience in me that half marathoners need to succeed. I laughed. And then probably coughed because the damn cold air makes my lungs hurt.

But I held on to that thought.

And I talked it over with her some more.

And with my boyfriend.

And then, before 2015 was out, I took the leap and signed up for the half marathon clinic.

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Our running crew before I run my first half marathon

 

The training went really well – nutrition was on point, I missed  very few runs, the running friends I’ve made were (and are) encouraging. And in May 2016 I completed my first half marathon in under 2:20. Upright. Smiling.

Let’s say that again… in less than 18 months, I went from running a minute at a time, walking two in between, with over 80 lb. extra on my tiny 5’3 frame, to running a half marathon 60 lb. lighter and kind of kicking its ass.

So, if I can do it, anyone can.

To be transparent, I ran a second half marathon in the fall of 2016 but everything that was great about the first half marathon fell apart for the second: training was sporadic as we were temporarily homeless and living with family in between house possession dates, my nutrition fell apart during that time of transition, I put on weight due to stress… So, my second half marathon was not as successful at my first. There were no smiles. But I still finished. Upright. And the scenery was gorgeous. You gotta find the positives, right?

So, what’s on deck for 2017?

Getting my nutrition in check

I’m already a week in on this one. Good nutrition is everything… not only does it fuel your body, but it helps regulate your hunger, helps with fat loss and muscle gain, aids with sleep, and generally just makes you feel better.

Cross-training like a mad woman

I mostly gave up on any sort of cross training during my fall training, which meant muscle loss and decline in overall strength. It may be hard to reconcile that gaining strength is important for running, but you need to strengthen all of your leg muscles, and especially your core, if you want to be a strong runner. Plus, who wants big muscular legs and a flabby upper body? No one!

Picking out my goal races

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How can you not love these goofy running friends?

I train better if there’s a goal in sight. Otherwise, I feel a little aimless. I’m already signed up for a few, including the 15k Eyeball the Wall (Apr), the Sporting Life 10k (June) and the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver (Aug). I’m also pondering a sprint triathlon at some point, probably late spring or early summer. Crazy? Yeah, probably.

 

What are your health and wellness goals for 2017?

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