Sunday, April 28, 2013

It's never "just" a half

One week from Sunday, I'll kick off my second half marathon of 2013. On a whim sometime long about January, I mentioned that I'd like to do four half marathons this year. As of some time around noon on May 5, I will be half way to my goal.

Four half marathons. The equivalent - mileage-wise - of two full marathons. 52.4 miles total. Some day, I will run a marathon. When I have the time to devote to that kind of training, and when I'm not carrying around quite this much excess weight, I will run 26.2. But the thing is, a half marathon - 13.1 miles - is nothing to sneeze at. Mathematically, it's half of a marathon ... but it's not half of anything, really.

It's a full-blown, kick-your-own-ass experience. It's a risk and an adventure. It's a challenge and a joy. It's a reason to eat a great breakfast.

And for me, it's a reason to celebrate.

There are people who tell me they fear I've become "obsessed" with running (which just cracks me up because I think they're probably obsessed with avoiding running, but that's another blog). There are those who say I give too much of myself to the practice. I assure you, there's a reason behind all of it ... and the reason is simple. It's important to me.

Running is a hobby that gives so much back to me. (Yes, even the bad runs.) Anyone who says there's no such thing as runner's high has never hung out with me after a particularly fulfilling run. Like last Wednesday, when I went out for a six mile run and it was windy and full of hills. I ran at an average pace of a 14-minute mile, which is pretty slow. (Most run trackers only allow you to track runs at a 12-mm or faster pace.) But for me, it was awesome. I felt amazing afterward, because I had pushed, but not too hard; I listened to my body and got the training done.

Running gives me confidence. When I think I can't do it, I can. It makes me feel strong and capable; no, scratch that. It proves to me that I am strong and capable. I'll be honest: I don't always enjoy the process, but I have never once regretted going for a run. I always feel great for having finished.

If this is an obsession, I'll gladly be obsessed.

I don't have a flexible schedule most of the time, because I spend a lot of time working out. Most days after work, you'll find me in the gym or on the trail. Doesn't mean I'm a bad friend; it means I've gotten really good at prioritizing. I can't miss a workout for a decadent dinner. (Those times often find me squeezing the workout in at a different time.) I can miss a workout if I feel like I need rest, or if I have something fabulous on the schedule, or if it's a loved one's birthday. But I do need to plan for those things. It doesn't mean I spend too much time workout out; it means I am spending my time in accordance with what I value.

It's not for everyone. But for me, it's just ... right.

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