You Can’t “Half”-Ass It

Recently I got a wild hair and decided I was going to do a half marathon in November.  The reason? I liked the medal. Simple, and a little weird, but true. I have said it before and I will say it again.  My favorite race of all time is the Hatfield & McCoy in Williamson, WV, population less than 3,000.  The Tug Valley Road Runners Club does such a great job with races and events all year long.  What I have realized is that they also have the best medal designs.  I really wanted to do the Killer 5K at Halloween because of the medal but had a scheduling conflict.  So I decided to do the Fall Harvest half marathon in November because that medal was super cool too. Still, race day was approaching fast and I wasn’t going to have the time to properly train. No big deal, I thought.  How many races have I done before? And walking is my thing, right?  This should be easy.Killer 5K medal

I should probably mention that I have a bum knee right now and walking from one room to the other is sometimes a challenge.  Pssshhh. Who cares about a little knee pain? I talked to my trainer and my chiropractor.  Both agreed that if I thought I could do it I should go for it!  I still had a few weeks to prepare. The plan was to walk 5, 7 and 10 miles over 3 weekends.  If I could do the 10 miles I could easily do the 13.1, taking into account the adrenaline push and the encouragement from the crowd and other racers.  With the plan in place, I enthusiastically start with the 5 mile walk. Piece of cake!  My time could have been faster.  But I felt good and although I felt my knee it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle.   The next weekend rolls around and it’s time for the 7 miles.  This time I decide to see just how fast I can push it.  In top form I can do a mile in under 13:00.  You can imagine my excitement when I finished the 7 miles in an average of 13:42.  Not bad for an old lady with no training and a bum knee.  That being said, it was much harder than the 5 miles and only by sheer stubbornness did I make it. The whole time I was thinking that 10, much less 13.1, might be more than I can do.  The next week rolls around and it’s time to put up or shut up. Can I do 10?

I was so serious about doing this race that I even took ½ day vacation on Friday afternoon because it was going to rain on Saturday and I had to know if I had the chops.  Friday was beautiful. It was 75 degrees at the end of October. I start out.  Rocking along to my 70’s music like a champ.  As I get closer to 5 miles I slow down.  I am at my halfway point and have to get back to my car.  I start heading back.  With each  ½ mile, I slow down more.  Until I realize that I am now going so slow that I won’t meet the time limit of the race.  You have 4 hours to do the race, which is a 16:00 mile.  It killed me to know that I couldn’t do it.  Granted, I could have made it back to my car at a snail’s pace.  But I had plans that night to see my friend’s daughter in a play and I wasn’t going to let her down. If I had walked back, I wouldn’t have made the play in time.  I had to think about how I was going to get back to my car.  I decided to call my friend’s husband (she was at work). He lived less than a mile from where I was and only about a mile in the other direction to my car. I had made it 7 ½ miles.

Harvest Half MedalThere were several things that attributed to not being able to make it.  First, it was hot as hell that day and I hadn’t been in the heat for that long in months and certainly not on October 30th.  Another thing you don’t take into consideration is your arms swinging for that long.  I know that sounds silly.  But runners hold their arms much closer to their bodies and much less swinging.  For someone who hasn’t “swung” for a long time, that makes a huge difference. And the faster you go the faster you swing. Finally, as I said before, I hadn’t done any real training, just 2 prior random walks.  Yes, those were successful.  But that’s why you keep pushing to make sure the rest is also successful.  And this time, I wasn’t.

Now I could have gotten really down about my “failure”. But I decided not to let that happen. I have been making great strides in a lot of areas of my life recently (more on that later) and this was just one little setback.  I chose to look at it like this. If I had trained like I normally do, like I ALWAYS do, this race would have been a breeze.  But I didn’t. So naturally the results were different.

What’s funny is that I always get so annoyed with people who say “I could do a (fill in race distance here) without training”. NO YOU CAN’T!  It’s not easy to do.  And that is why you train.  There is conditioning and stamina and breathing and pace and so many other factors to consider.  So what do I do?  I turn into one of those people, and like Nike, decide I can “Just Do It”.   You will not hear me say this often, so pay attention….I was WRONG!Half assed effort

I guess what I am trying to say is, you just can’t half-ass something you want to do or something that means a lot to you. Could be a race, could be a relationship, could be taking a cooking class or anything. Point is, if it is important enough to you, it is important enough to do it right!  Now I am looking at a race in May and will start training at the appropriate time.  The goal is to be prepared and finish strong!

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2 Responses to You Can’t “Half”-Ass It

  1. Micah says:

    Hey props to you for trying a different path and props to you for having the right analysis to know why it didn’t work. You never know until you try! And I look forwards to seeing some solid numbers for the race in May!

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