5 months ago, I was on medical hold from any physical activity beyond walking to-and-from places due to unexplained heart problems. The problems were resolved, and in January I was cleared to exercise again. (That story is a blog post for another day.)
The day I found out, my friend Brandi messaged me and was like, “Hey, remember how we talked theoretically about running a half marathon together? Now that your heart is good, it’s time to start training.”
And I agreed. And now, Brandi and I are encouraging each other to write at least one blog post about training/fitness/running a week leading up to our April 18th race date.
We’re both using Hal Higdon’s half marathon training system (there’s even an app). The difference is, Brandi is more experienced with distance. (This will be her third half marathon.) I’m a sprinter with very little history in racing — I ran to feel better and manage stress, not to hit times or reach a certain distance. I like frequent walking breaks and I have short legs which means I take 2-3 steps to most people’s 1. So, this is a big change for me.
Monday marked the start of Week 3 of training. My distances increase this week. I’m at a turning point in training and overall fitness now.
I’ve hit the place where the numbers on the scale aren’t dropping as quickly. It’s good, though — I’m building muscle. Instead of dropping fat weight, I’m actually holding fairly steady because that muscle weighs more. Early on, I got to enjoy the quick thrill of seeing I’d lost a few pounds. Now, it’s about the long game of slowly cultivating a stronger body.
Let’s rewind a bit: I know numbers on the scale aren’t that important. I’ve been through this process before. When I first moved to Kansas City, I worked hard to lose 40 pounds — my college/eating disorder weight. And when I hit this place last time, I struggled with it. I thought I had plateaued in my weight loss. I hadn’t — I was just entering performance mode, where I was gaining the “right kind” of weight. It took a lot to understand and appreciate that.
Now, I know better. While I still weigh myself once a week I go by what I see in the mirror and how I feel on the treadmill or pavement. I trust my body, not the numbers on the scale.
And I work. Probably harder than I’ve ever worked before.
In addition to 4 runs a week of varying length, I do core workouts (most of which involve a 10 pound medicine ball that I enjoy expressing hatred to during workouts), resistance leg training, and a little bit of weight work.
Physically, I can feel the benefits. Mentally, I think the rewards are even bigger. In my last running-related blog post, I shared that fitness is a big part of caring for my mental health. That still holds true – and those closest to me have said that it’s clear that running helps my stress management.
And, I talked another friend into running. Jessica will be joining Brandi and I for another race – the Kansas City Color Run, which is on my birthday weekend and is part of my “party.” That stress management part was a big reason she agreed to hop on the wagon. Like me, she’s a young advertising professional.
She starts training on Monday. (Jessica, now that it’s on the Internet, you HAVE to do it.)
(Also, if any of my Kansas City area friends would like to join our Color Run festivities, LET ME KNOW!)
So, that’s where we are. That’s week 3 of training for my first half marathon. Run fast, my friends.