I wanted to start writing training posts when I originally signed up for the Sarasota half marathon in early December (especially a post about signing up because we all know that’s the hardest part and deserves its own post!), but I just haven’t dedicated the time to actually sit down and plan it all out.
And even though I signed up for this race over a month ago, and I’m already into week 4 of the training plan, this whole idea of completing my first half marathon became very real to me once I put it in writing in last week’s 2015 goals post.
Maybe it’s because writing that post made it real to EVERYONE, not just Brian and my close friends. Now the world knew that I was planning on completing my first 13.1 miles and would keep me in check if I tried to bail!
At least I hope you guys will…. 😉
Either way I’m here to share my experience with you and fill you in on the details <all of them> because I just know some of you might be thinking about signing up for YOUR first race too (whether it be a 5k or longer). And I know that many of you are also curvy athletes overwhelmed with the thought of being able to complete a race. After all, being plus sized comes with additional barriers that other distance runners/joggers/walkers may not understand. So I will do my best to put things in perspective during these posts, share any tips I’ve come across or tried, and maybe, just maybe inspire you to register for an event!
Since I started participating in races back in 2010 (I started with walking 5ks, then completed a slow 15k, a couple of sprint triathlons, then “Galloway-ed” my way through a couple of mud/obstacle runs), I’ve loved every second of it.
I love the thrill of signing up for a race (not all race entry fees will break your bank).
I love the excitement of getting up early on race day and standing at the start line with all the other participants.
I love the adventure that every race brings: spectators, words of encouragement, scenery, funny signs.
I love love love the feeling of crossing a finish line; and if there’s a medal, even better!
I love eating breakfast after races (hello Cracker Barrel bacon!)
And I love taking those sweaty post-race photos that become social media profile pictures for weeks to come (what can I say, I’m a product of the “new-age”) 😉
But I can say with the utmost certainty that it’s not all shiny medals and pancakes. Sure training for a race is a challenge for anyone. It takes dedication, time, and <temporary> sacrifice. But add in extra pounds and you’ve got a whole ‘nother box of challenges.
Things like extra chafing, lack of confidence, fear of being laughed at, embarrassment from the fact that you think you’re “breathing too loudly and someone might think that you’re going to have a heart attack at any moment”, difficulty finding plus-sized workout clothing that doesn’t ride up or roll down, taking extra care of your knees, feet, and any other body part working extra hard to carry you across those miles. And let us not forget the naysayers who love to tell you the 492,571,823 reasons they have for why “people your size” shouldn’t be doing races in the first place.
I promise you I have heard them all- and then some. But 27 races later, I’m still JUST as excited to complete each race I sign up for. And I STILL love all of those things I mentioned above. Because completing races is about ME. It’s something I do for myself. I don’t do it to prove the naysayers wrong (although that IS an added bonus lol!), I do it because it makes me happy. Even through all the chafing, the sore muscles, the fear, the annoying clothing malfunctions, I truly enjoy every second. Crossing finish lines makes me feel like my body just accomplished something important. I feel like I was able to do something that many people aren’t able to do. Whether it’s 3.1 miles or a half marathon, any distance is an accomplishment. It’s a goal. It’s minutes of my life I spent pushing my body to do something out of the norm. And it’s awesome.
I’m sure you’ve heard the quote “life starts at the edge of your comfort zone.” Well, 5ks are my comfort zone. So signing up for my first half was definitely out of the norm.
And I know what I’ve gotten myself into. I know that it’s going to be a hard 14 10 weeks of training. I know problems will arise, profane words will be muttered, challenges will need to be tackled and temporary regret may set in, but I’m not giving up that feeling of crossing that finish line for anything in the world.
The best part? I’ve got an amazing support group of people who believe in me. That don’t have a naysaying bone in their bodies. That are willing to ride their bikes alongside me for long runs, sprinkle my mind with words of encouragement, and push me when I’m feeling doubtful. That is the key to success, my friends. If there’s any 1 solution to the challenges I listed above it’s postivity. A positive mindset and support from your loved ones can help you climb mountains.
So what did my first four weeks of training bring me?
Total miles: 29
Longest distance: 6 miles
Fastest mile: 14:22
Injuries: none, just soreness
Attitude: Positive, accomplished (especially after those 6 miles!)
Pre-run fuel: Kind bars, sweet potatoes, or eggs
Fuel during run: None at the moment, just water.
Post-run fuel: Eggs, avocado toast, lots of iced coffees, grapes, or smoothies
Favorite run location: Al Lopez Park (mostly because it’s predictable!)
Favorite run jams: Every Teardrop is a Waterfall- Coldplay, Moment 4 Life- Nicki Minaj, Your English is Good- Tokyo Police Club, Livin’ on a Prayer- Bon Jovi, Trippin’ Billies- Dave Matthews Band, Sweet Child O’ Mine- Guns and Roses
Stay tuned for additional half marathon posts sharing what I wear for long runs, some products I’ve just discovered to help with those “challenges”, and other tips along the way! And if you use any running apps, I’d love to add you as a friend!
MapMyRun user name: orangespoken or search the email firstname.lastname@example.org
DailyMile user name: orangespoken or search the email email@example.com
I’m also on MyFitnessPal with the same user name if you’d like to be friends there! 🙂
Looking forward to connecting!
Are you curvy athlete? What challenges do you face? What would you like to see addressed in these posts? Do share!