For a while, I've been toying with the idea of finding a full marathon to complete. I never thought I'd actually WANT to do one. But then again, I never thought I'd want to do a 10K, either, so there's that.
But with the 15-year marker of my dad's passing coming up in 2014, I kind of wanted to honor him in a way that I hadn't before, and I thought that running a marathon, by which I could also raise money for the Colon Cancer Alliance in my efforts to eradicate this cancer that took my dad from me, would be a perfect gesture.
There are just two things wrong with my plan.
The first one is that I don't really like the idea of marking how long it's been since he died. I began running to honor the memory of his wonderful, albeit too short, life, so it would be almost hypocritical of me to make the jump to the full marathon in memory of when that beautiful life ceased. And even my dad both joined this world and left it during the same month - October - I think that I'd be better off focusing my efforts elsewhere. I'm thinking about something in 2017, which would mark his 70th birthday, instead.
The second issue is that I'm starting my masters, and I don't want to commit to any marathon until I'm done with that. Being a full time parent, wife, teacher, and student will take up enough of my time, I'm sure.
But I haven't had anything on my calendar since Pat's Run in April except the CCA's Undy 5000, which is always on my schedule, and I wanted to push myself further again. I've already decided to do the Lost Dutchman half marathon in February, even though my masters start date is (hopefully) January. But that left my fall literally empty.
When I was looking for a 26.2 for next year, I was steered to the Peoria Halloween Marathon, which takes place the weekend right before Halloween. It's really the only full marathon I was able to find in Arizona in the month of October, so it would have been perfect for my original plan. But it also works extremely well THIS year for a half marathon, so I'm signing up for it, and training has begun.
I loved using the Marathoning for Mortals book (by John "The Penguin Bingham and Jenny Hadfield) for my first half marathon. It made the distance completely obtainable, mentally, and I felt extremely well prepared to run the distance on the morning of the race. But this time, I've opted to use Hal Higdon's Novice 2 plan. This one was created for the runner who has run a race (or two, maybe) but isn't quite ready to make the jump to the super serious training expected in his Intermediate plan. Basically, it's perfect for me. I'd like to do better than my first time, but I also just want to finish and have fun while I train, too.
Of course, being able to follow a calendar is a skill that, apparently, is completely beyond my comprehension. I thought, ALL of last week, that I was ready to start training this week with Week 1.
Then, all of a sudden, I looked at the calendar and realized I was thinking a week behind. Technically, I should have started the week of the 4th.
Last week. Not this week.
I jumped in to the plan on Saturday, running the 4 miles that were on the calendar, and it was fine. Even though I took a week off running, those miles felt really great. Since it's still ridiculously hot, I ran two miles with Zooey, and then dropped her off at home before doing two more. I'll likely be doing something of that nature until it either cools down or forever, depending on her energy levels (I hate to admit that she's almost middle aged). I was crazy tired that night, but I felt better Sunday, and I'm looking forward to seeing how this plan, which has me running three days in a row during the week, will be on my legs and body.
Even with these two races added in, I'm pretty sure I won't meet my mileage goal for this year, but I'm OK with that. Considering that the first four months of this year, which are prime running weather months here in Arizona, I was sidelined by plenty of injury and illness, I'm going to plan on calling 2013 a win in the mileage column anyway.
I'm really looking forward to hitting longer runs soon, even if I have to leave Zooey at home for them (she didn't like being left home, by the way - she was barking at me as I left as if to say, "Hey! You forgot me!"), and now that I know what I'm capable of for the half marathon, I'm excited at the prospect of working on my pacing, etc., so help me become a better runner. Hopefully I'll see everything come to fruition at the finish line.