I keep promising myself that at any moment, I will begin training in earnest for my fourth half-marathon, and yet things keep coming up. I was chagrined to realize that my last one was in 2013! I missed two years in a row due to injuries and scheduling. Faithful readers will remember that my favorite event is the Sleeping Bear Half which takes place in Empire, MI in October. This race is amazing for so many reasons, but my favorite part is how the unpredictability of the weather meshes with the beauty of the course to make it feel like a real ‘up north’ experience. It’s hilly, the weather is a factor, but something wild in you rises to the challenge and it’s such a great setting, with the autumn leaves, the dunes, and the rolling golden fields and forests along M-22. The first year, we ran in sleet and snow, and my jacket and eyelashes were coated with ice when I crossed the finish line. The second year, I PR’d in mild temperatures and a constant warm downpour. What will this year bring? I don’t know but I officially signed up today, giving myself 8 weeks to train.
Things have changed in my life since I trained for my last half. Back then, we were a two-parent family, so my long runs were easy enough to schedule on weekend mornings. Now, my ex & I share custody of our Miss L, and although we work with each other in an amicable and informal sharing arrangement, week by week, I actually don’t always have a weekend morning to run. This cycle, I will have to fit in my long runs even when it’s not ideal, even when I don’t feel like it, even during times of the day that I don’t like to run. I’ve adapted to lunchtime workouts that I can do during my workdays, using the treadmill in Widget Central’s small gym, or running outside around north Ann Arbor. But it will certainly call for early morning runs and evening runs after work – like this week, when I had to do my 6 on a very hot night. Fueling was an issue. I chugged water all day, and had a big lunch, but I’m usually ravenous when I get home from work, no matter what, so I had to content myself with a peanut butter bagel while I waited for the day to wane and the scorching heat to fade a bit. I set out too late, and it was pitch black by the time I finished.
My old Ghost 7’s were pretty much past their prime, so I bought a new pair of Ghost 9’s and will commence to start putting miles on them immediately. I know that October will be here before I know it. I hope that when I’m lined up at the start in the pre-dawn light, waiting anxiously, I will think about all the miles and all the sacrifices I had to make to get there, and feel ready for the challenge!