Around mile 10 of my first half-marathon, my legs decided they’d had enough. I had been warned by strangers in blog posts more experienced runners that mile 10 was a brick wall. At some point in a distance race, your mind and/or body start to protest – loudly. And sure enough, with just a few more miles to go, my legs and lower back started whining like a couple of overtired siblings in the backseat of a car. “Are we there yet?” they asked, miserable and achy and ready for a nap.
Nevertheless, I pushed through and took in the scenery of Chickamauga’s beautiful battlefield park and jogged across the finish line not too long after. I ran very little of that first race, but I finished in three hours and nineteen minutes. And I’d never felt better, even as my legs screamed at me.
It’s been six years since that race.
I completed another half-marathon in 2012, but I had lost the motivation and drive to even train for that one. Now, at 32 and two years into motherhood, I’m in a completely different place. Poor eating habits, no physical activity apart from chasing after a toddler, and the mental energy of a Vogon make the idea of completing an endurance race seem laughable.
But I want this year to be different.
I wished 2017 good riddance and made a mental list of goals for the new year, among them to get in shape. I’ve spent a lot of the last year phoning things in, especially when it comes to my health. I gained about 35 lbs. while pregnant with Arthur. And while I’ve lost most of that weight in the two years since his birth, I’m still sluggish and tired, and not at all where I want to be at the start of my thirties.
When I crossed that finish line six years ago, I felt confident, focused, and energized. I want to be that person again. I need to be that person again.
This year, I will be that person again.
Of course, it’s easy to talk a big game about losing weight and eating well. So I’m using this platform to document my training. I plan to run-walk my way across the Chickamauga Battlefield Half-Marathon once more. The race is on November 10, giving me 41 weeks to whip myself into shape again. I’ll use a combination of Hal Higdon’s plan for novices, Jeff Galloway’s run-walk plan, and my Couch-to-5k app for the training portion, along with MyFitnessPal to keep tabs on my diet and regular exercises.
I’m also going to schedule a checkup with my doctor before I start. I’m due for an annual wellness check anyway, and I want to ask her how I should approach this year of training given my lack of thyroid. Thyroid meds can interfere with training – and training can interfere with my hormone levels – so I want to make sure I’m cleared for takeoff before diving into this thing like the carefree 25-year-old I once was.
Periodically, I’ll check back in to update friends, family, and internet strangers on my progress. Accountability is easier when you’re putting your goals out there for the world to see. It would be easy to kick back and chill this year after the 2017 I experienced. But being an adult and a parent means setting an example, going above and beyond the routine. Further up and further in.