Set the Goal, Run the Race


Here’s something you probably don’t know about me: I’m a half marathon runner who has never actually run a half marathon race. In my running career I have trained for three different half marathon events, always scheduled late in the season, and each year something has happened that has prevented me from being able to actually run the race. The first year I couldn’t get the days off, and the second year poor running shoe choices led to crippling shin splints that derailed my entire season. Now, this past season everything was looking great. I was healthy, no injuries and by late September I was right on track in my training program. Then, in an almost absurd escalation of stupid things preventing me from running races, an impatient pizza delivery driver cut in front of me while I was on my way home on my Triumph Bonneville, causing an accident that landed me in the hospital, and put an abrupt end to my 2015 running season.

I was two weeks away.

I’d like to think that in those few moments spent under engine block of a Volkswagen, I had a moment of clarity. Not of the meaning of life, the universe and everything. No, I’d like to think that while I was laying under that car and fighting my way out, somewhere in the far recesses of my mind it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, I need to adjust my running schedule so I can run a half marathon earlier in the year. This October thing is clearly not working out.

Right now it’s February 2016 and where am I? I’ve been trying to stay motivated and keep running through the winter this year to maintain some level of fitness in the hopes of not starting at zero in the spring. I’ve been doing mostly 5k’s because well, it’s winter, and who wants to be outside in the cold ever, let alone in running gear? It hasn’t been consistent, but I’ve been going when the temps are 30 or better. Consistent or not, that’s the best I’ve ever done since I start running six years ago. A couple days ago I was able to pick up a long layover in Florida and took the opportunity to go for a longer run in the warm weather. Since I didn’t have to worry about being cold, I decided to push myself to do a five miler. I was initially going to run/walk it but when I got started I decided to just go and see how it went. All in all, not bad. Not fast, but whatever, it’s winter.

So a long run of five miles, in mid February. That’s my starting point. It’s not great, but it’s not completely awful either. I started looking around and discovered that San Diego has a Half/Marathon event in early summer. That’s roughly 15 weeks away. If I chose the most conservative training program I would likely not have enough time,  especially considering it’s still very much winter here. It’s going to be tight, but I think it’s worth doing. It also helps that San Diego is one of my favorite places in the country, and this would be a pretty good excuse to take a long weekend to go visit.

And just like that, the goal is set.

San Diego, June 5, 2016.

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