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December 18, 2011

I started running about four years ago, as a natural progression of my routine. I’d started walking as a part of my weight loss effort in the spring of 2006, trying to lose some of the weight I’d gained not just as a byproduct of my two pregnancies but also since the day since I’d said “I do” to eating exactly the way my husband did.

Walking became a regular part of my week. At the beginning of the process I was walking mid-morning with a friend who had a baby the same age as The Boy. I pushed the double stroller and did about three and a half miles in an hour, finishing with an hour at the park so the Girl could get some energy out (she was two at the time). After a few months of this routine, my walking partner had to go back to work, but walking was firmly embedded in me, and I was blessed with another friend who was willing to go with me, though she was unable to go during the day. We decided to get up and go early in the mornings. Though we sometimes went a shorter distance, covering only two and half miles, these walks were definitely about fitness, and we pushed the pace hard whenever we went out. By the beginning of 2007, though, my new partner was celebrating a new pregnancy. Frighteningly, in the early weeks, the pregnancy looked like it might be at risk, and she was confined to bedrest. I was out a second walking partner.

That’s when I hit the treadmill. I am still amazed that a woman who hates exercise as much as I do used the machine as consistently as I did in that season. I started walking the three and a half miles, but in a few months I’d started going so fast that I could cover five miles in one hour, usually while reading. As you can imagine, this routine became rather boring in short order, and one day . . . I ran. I didn’t run far or long, about one-eighth of a mile that first day. But consistently, over the next few months, I ran a little more each day, not following any set schedule or program, and by the summer of 2007 I was running all five miles, four or five times a week.

I tell that story to illustrate that, for me, part of how the sport has moved along has always been in progression, and I don’t always plan it ahead of time. When I agreed to start walking with my friend in 2006, I never intended to start running, much less run a marathon. But little by little, the sport changed for me. My goals and dreams keep growing and changing—not just changing themselves, but changing me.

  • I ran my first 5k in December of 2007. It was my first road race.
  • I ran my first 10k two weeks later.
  • I ran my first half marathon in February of 2008.
  • I ran my first marathon in March of 2009.
  • I ran my first multi-day event in February of 2010, running a 15k and 5k Saturday and a half marathon Sunday.
  • I added distance to the multi-day event in February of 2011, running the 15k and 5k Saturday and a half marathon and 8k Sunday, for a total of 30.5 miles in two days.

I wasn’t sure what I would do next to up the ante. My recovering injury required diminished mileage this year, and for the first time since I started tracking it my total yearly mileage will probably not crack 1300 miles. I didn’t set any personal records this year, and though I ran a new distance (I’d never run the 8k distance before) my performance at it was less than stellar.

And then the perfect challenge presented itself. My running partner and I ran the Halloween Half on October 31, then the 13.1 Fort Lauderdale on November 13. Then we decided to run Palm Beach, and that race was on December 4. Are you seeing the pattern?

Because we had already registered for the Michelob Challenge on March 3 and 4 of next year, part of which is a half marathon, we realized we were very close to running six half marathons in six months. We had already considered registering for the Miami Half Marathon on January 29, 2012, and as of this writing that registration is official.

It remains to register for a race in February, and we believe the A1A Half in Fort Lauderdale, scheduled for February 19, 2012, will fit the bill nicely.

As of now, and barring disabling injury, that will be my marker for this season: I will complete six half marathons in six consecutive months.

Whether that makes me incredibly well-trained or incredibly insane . . . that remains to be seen.

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