I quickly fell into a routine with my new job and training for my first half marathon, which helped tremendously with the healing process of the breakup. Instead of sitting at home job searching and dwelling on the past, I had things to do to fill my time. Before I got the job I never had a reason to get up early to run, but now with the job I had to get up with plenty of time to get my run in and get ready for work.
After my morning run, I would make my way to work. I always got there a little early. I would sit in my car and either read or listen to music before walking in. Sitting with a slight dread hanging over me. I really didn’t want to be there but I had to make money. At work, I would take these handheld devices and place them on a docking station. Drag some files to a few folders on the computer and wait a minute for the files to download. Once it was finished downloading I would move the handheld to a charging dock. Each one took about 5 minutes. I would do this all day. One after another. It was pretty monotonous.
Lunch break would come and I’d go to my car to eat and refresh my mind from staring at a computer screen for hours. Every day I’d pack a sandwich, apple and peanut butter crackers (homemade with Ritz crackers). Usually during this break I’d read. Some days I would bring my iPod so relief from music was needed too. And once my short 30 minute break was up, I’d go back to my area and plug away. Routine is something I hate when it comes to work for some reason. Waking up to run is a routine I love. Even eating the same lunch, I can do. But doing the same thing over and over at work was insanely boring and I almost felt devalued.
The people I worked with were great though. They made the job tolerable. It was only a 3 month temporary project so it wasn’t going to be a lifetime. I sat next to this beast of a man. The first time I met him I was scared out of my mind. He had a big Marine tattoo on one of his forearms and a look that could make you shot your pants. But after getting to know him he was awesome. Super funny and had a bit of a soft side. He had been taking ballroom dancing classes with his wife for the past 12 years and was writing a children’s book. I loved hearing his military stories and poking fun of each other all day.
Then there was another guy that I liked. He was from California and a head of hair to prove it. What was cool about him, he had done a rim to rim run at the Grand Canyon and did a few marathons. So he was always interested in how my training was going and offering tips. And not just him, everyone I was working with always asked how my training was going. They all thought it was insane to want to run for so long, but it was great to have others interested in what I do. Another thing I started to learn was that we were all in the same boat. We all seemed well educated. With the economy being on the downside, we were all hurting for work. We were all wanting something better and knew this was only a temporary job.
The training plan I picked out for the half marathon was simple and for beginners. I found it on the Runner’s World website. Basically my runs during the week were easy 3-4 mile runs. The weekend I would have one long run and one short easy run. The long runs increased in distance by only a mile or two every week and every 4th week was a recovery week. So for a month, it would look something like… 6 mile run, 8 mile run, 10 mile run and then a 5 mile run for recovery.
The training plan also recommended I do a 5K and a 10K during the training to help gauge my fitness to see where I was with speed and endurance, so I could make realistic goals. The training was going great. About a month into it I did my first 5K. It was a local race that my town puts on towards the end of September. I was feeling strong and confident about the race. It had been about 6 years since my last race in high school. My goal like before was to break 20 minutes. I had no idea where I was with speed, I thought I could break the barrier. I was so close in high school, I knew I’d be close again.
I ran really hard. Powered the up hills and flew down the hills. I was trying to pass as many people as possible. It was awesome to be back in a race. I didn’t have a watch then. Just ran by feel. And it felt like I was killing it. I made the last turn to head towards the finish. When I saw the clock I couldn’t believe it…not even close. 27:15. I really thought the clock was wrong. I heard a few people complain that they thought the race was long. Oh well, nothing I can do about it. I thought my speed was there, but I couldn’t be down. It was my first race in years. And just running even at that pace for only have been running the last few months was great. But still a long way to go to reach my 5K goal.
After the race, my long runs were stacking up. I really enjoyed going out for the longer miles. I felt more accomplished after running a distance I had never covered before. It seemed like the more time I was on my feet the more and more I was loving to run.
My cousin knew I was getting really into running. She had just finished a book and highly recommended it to me. I tore through it! Sometimes you read a book at the perfect moment in your life and it seems to change you in a way you never thought a book could do. Born To Run did that for me. Like I mentioned in my last post, I grew up hearing about endurance races. But I thought those of the past. I never thought those things existed anymore or maybe I just forgot about them altogether. Born To Run opened that back up for me and I learned about races that blew my mind away. I originally told myself this would be my one and only half marathon, and no more. A little part of me knew I’d want to see far I could really go.