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A Whole Half

January 22, 2009

Yeah, I’m not crazy about the moniker.

The 13.1 was the first race I really trained for, down to printing a plan from Hal Higdon’s website, pinning it on our bulletin board, and checking it obsessively several times a week. I tinkered with its mileage since I was above its daily runs when I started; I lengthened its long runs since I wanted to run past the race distance and Higdon has novice runners run only 10 miles before race day.

But, like I said, it was the first time I considered my running to be training. I was darn proud of myself, even when I got to the expo and noticed my bib was a different color than the “full” marathoners’. Thirteen miles is a heck of a long way. I had no shame in my goal–to finish my race strong and steady.

I’ll admit that, since then, I’ve had committed my share of gaffes, “dumbing down” my own race by saying I’m “just” racing a half or “just” training for a half marathon.

In reality, the 13.1 might be my favorite distance. In the heart of marathon training, it is especially easy for me to say this. Not only has marathon training been difficult on my legs, it’s been difficult on my schedule, my psyche, and several other aspects of life. It feels like every event has to be checked against the training schedule. Will I have time to do that Saturday? Well, I’ll be home from my run around 8:30, factor in a shower . . . Add to this the fact that I started training for my last half in July and I’ve been in training mode for a long time. And tired of it.

But the training for the half itself was enjoyable. Short, fast tempo runs. Shorter, manageable long runs. And the race distance itself is long enough to feel like an accomplishment, but short enough to race. 26.2 just is too long for me to race right now, but the 13.1 is a distance I can sink my teeth into.

No halfs about it.

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