Hi everyone! Ever since finishing the Her Tern Half AKA half #3, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the race and running in general. If you missed my recap, you can check it out here! The short recap of it is that I wasn’t fully prepared, ran the entire race, and totally bonked in the last mile yet still finished less than 4 minutes behind my PR time. Yesterday Andrew and I found ourselves back in Anchorage for the day so we hiked Flattop Mountain (the most-hiked mountain in Alaska because it’s so close to Anchorage!), and during that hike I was thinking about running a lot. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
- It makes no sense that I was able to finish that race so close to my PR with such crappy training and so much stress and sadness in the last few weeks. I was not feeling physically strong going into that race, so how the heck did I manage to run for 2 hours, 33 minutes and 59 seconds with only a few walk breaks?
- Andrew pointed out that my second half marathon was 3 months ago. Is it possible that I was able to maintain that level of fitness even after taking almost a month off of running for the move and then only running 2-3 times per week?
- And on that note, does hiking have something to do with it? I really do hike more than I run now, but was that enough to supplement running and get me through that half?
- And here’s the weirdest one of all: if half marathons are so difficult, why was I able to do one with as little discomfort as I did? I mean, I was dying at the end and I’ve never felt that bad. And it’s not like the other 12 miles were easy. But it was only in the last mile or two where I was extremely tired. It’s making me think about running a bit differently – is it actually easier than my brain makes it out to be?
Hiking up Flattop was hard – it took just as long as my half marathon, but it was only 3 miles total. It involved rock climbing at the top and the middle 1/3 of the hike was purely on steep steps. But yet tons of people were doing it. It made me think about running – if a half marathon didn’t sound so intimidating, would more people do it? If I don’t put so much pressure on myself for the next one, will it come easier for me? Could I ever possibly do a full marathon? It’s crazy to think that our minds could have such a huge impact on how we approach running long distances.
I was so proud of myself after finishing half #3 because I realized that even with my small amount of training and confidence I was able to do it faster than half #1 by over 15 minutes. It really makes me optimistic about my next half marathon in September in Seattle! I’m starting to realize that I’m stronger than I think, and that if I really stuck to a training plan I could probably meet my ultimate half marathon time goal of 2:30. I’m excited to do it right this time!
Also, I am seriously proud that I hiked a 1,5oo ft mountain only 3 days after a half marathon. And nothing hurt. What!
Have you ever surprised yourself with how well you did in a race you weren’t trained for? What half marathon training plan do you swear by?