Shortly after finishing my Warrior Dash, I decided I needed a new challenge. Having goals helps me stay focused. The following summer I would be turning 30. What better thing to do for my thirtieth birthday than to run a half marathon? And as luck would have it, the Rock and Roll Providence Half was right near my birthday! Even back then I knew I was breaking all of the running “rules” by registering for a half before I’d even run a “real” (road) 5k. And let’s face it, I hadn’t run the Warrior Dash. But I promised myself I’d squeeze in a 5k or two before my goal race. I couldn’t register fast enough!
I registered. And then I needed a training plan! I wound up using Hal Higdon’s half marathon training plan for novices. I also (obviously) needed a Garmin. I bought a Garmin 305 at a pretty decent discount because the model was on its way out. When I look back at my training, it felt like I ran regularly all winter. In reality, I ran pretty consistently at least 2 days a week but that was it. My half marathon training did not really start until May, and my race was in August. Reflecting on that – I’m quite impressed with how I felt and am surprised I did not feel worse.
I ran three days a week, increasing my mileage a little bit each week for my long run. I started to dabble in fueling, and learned that I enjoyed Cliff Shot Bloks, particularly the Cran-Razz flavor. I liked having something in my mouth to distract me as I ran. I began to think about water too. I bought a few hydration bottles, one hand held and one waist belt to figure out what I liked. I learned I don't really love any of them, but can tolerate both.
That summer we bought a house and moved out of our little apartment. I got to spend the last month and a half of my training on the trails behind our neighborhood which was amazing. They are well kept trails, mostly gravel and/or dirt and they go for miles and miles. It stays cooler down there in the summer because there's some shade. My only complaint (then and now) is the bug issue. On the plus side, they keep me moving. If I stop running, the bugs come get me. So just keep running.
I started reading Train Like A Mother by the AMR ladies Sarah and Dimity. Even though I was not a mother yet, their writing was entertaining and their ideas were accessible to me as a young woman with a full time job, trying to make time to fit in her running and the rest of life. Once I had a child, the rest of their books became invaluable to me – more on my AMR addiction/hero worship later.
I booked a hotel quite near the Providence start line. I knew that I would not want to be dealing with crowds, parking or any navigation issues on the day of the race. Greg and I agreed to drive up the day before, spend some time poking around the city and turn in early for my big day!
Next stop...Providence or bust!