Archive for the ‘ Marathon Training ’ Category

Running a Half Marathon

halfmarathonMarc Parent, author of the Newbie Chronicles in the Runner’s World magazine, wrote an article for the February 2013 issue documenting his first half marathon running experience. For years Parent has been writing about his experiences in becoming a runner and growing to love it. I love his article as I could relate to many of his stories. When I first began running I never dreamed that I would run in any race let alone a half marathon. It wasn’t that I was unfit, but when it came to prolonged cardio activities I definitely had a lot of room for improvement. (I’ll post about my first running experience in a near future post.)

My first half marathon wasn’t anything like Parent’s experience. I ran in the Delaware Half Marathon, my first, in 2009. A combination of my naivety and the circumstances of the day made for a rough run. Since I was coming in from out of town, a friend who was running in the same race offered to pick up my race packet the day before and give it to me before the race. Except for some reason she took out the bib number and subsequently forgot it at her apartment. Which meant I had to run around the morning of to try and obtain a new number, something that baffled the race volunteers – guess that doesn’t happen very often. By the time I finally got a new bib number a light drizzle had begun to fall. No problem I thought. I’d run in the rain before and wasn’t worried about it affected my ability to run or finish the race.

By the time I lined up at the start, the rain had begun to come down with more intensity. At the official’s signal I took off – way too fast. I pounded out the first few miles, waving happily to my girlfriend who later said she couldn’t believe how quickly I ran past her at the three-mile mark. By that time it was pouring and I was soaked through and through. The course wasn’t particularly difficult, but I soon realized how ill-prepared I was for this half-marathon. Around mile 6 I got a cramp in my side so painful that I was forced to walk for the next half mile. Eventually I was able to run once more, but at a much slower pace. My intention had always been to just finish the race as it was my first half marathon, so I didn’t worry about my pace focusing instead on the finish line.

Around mile 11 I hit the dreaded wall. My legs were had tightened and I had hit the bottom of my reserves. I ran/walked the last couple of miles and managed to move past the pain to cross the finish line. I don’t even remember my time. I just remember the feeling of euphoria and relief at crossing through the finishing gate. Despite the less than stellar run, I felt like I could conquer the world. And I knew I wanted to run another half marathon, only next time I’d be more prepared. 🙂

(Note: I ran in the Philadelphia Half Marathon in 2011 and loved every minute of it. I had trained well and finished with a time of 2:06. My goal for the half marathon, yet to be determined, this year is to break 2 hours.)

Happy running!


Running Toward the New Year

Male Runner in Snow   2013 is fast approaching and with it a fresh page on the calendar. While I’m a big proponent of making year-long resolutions as it easier for me to stick to goals if I make and follow through with them throughout the year, there is one special running goal I have for 2013. Run at least one race each month for the entire year.

I’ve thought about accomplishing this goal for a while, but haven’t been able to follow through due to various circumstances. 2013 is going to be the year.

Lately, my free time has been spent searching online for races in my area for each month of 2013. I’d like to run shorter races each month culminating in a half marathon or marathon next fall. Not only will the shorter races be fun, but they will help prepare me while I’m training for my longer race in the fall.

I’m sure I’ll set additional running goals, but this is my primary one. Do you have any running or fitness goals for the new year?

Happy running! 😀

Fitness Friday!

Welcome to Fitness Friday!

I’m dedicating every Friday to something fitness related whether it be training, event related, nutrition or just a topic I find interesting. I’m also going to answer any questions you ask. You can ask through this blog or just email me at runnersami[at]hotmail[dot]com.

I’ve been interesting in fitness all my life. About ten years ago, I got really serious about being healthy and since then have done research on the best ways to accomplish that. It’s always a work in progress as I am constantly learning new ways to be fit, but I’m happier and healthier than I have ever been. Fitness isn’t just about working out and staying in good physical shape, it’s about making sure all aspects of your life are healthy. That means keeping mentally, emotionally and spiritually fit too.

I will also be posting any pertinent links to articles, websites or events in my blog on Fridays as I find them.

This week, as we are entering into a very popular time of year to run races, especially marathons and half-marathons, I wanted to post a few food runs that I found in Fitness magazine that I thought were funny.

1. Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon – October 2,, Run the half and stay for the after-party during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival.

2. Hershey Half Marathon – October 3,, For all those chocoholics who need a little incentive to run there’s a Chocolate Aid station that helps you reach the finish line.

3. Portland Marathon – October 10,, Grab a cold pint at mile 21, then run at your own risk. This city boasts 32 breweries which makes for a perfect race location for beer lovers.

4. Krispy Kreme Challenge – February 2011,, The most vomit-inspired race I’ve ever heard of – runners head from the NC State University Memorial Bell Tower to the nearest Krispy Kreme (2 miles), devour a DOZEN, then head back in under an hour – YIKES!

Have you ever heard of any weird races or run in one?

Until next Fitness Friday – Runner Sami

The Love of the Run

For a long time I was against running a marathon. Not against people running them in general – I wasn’t picketing along the sidelines of the Boston Marathon with signs saying “You Suck Runners!” or anything like that. No, I was convinced in my inner most psyche that running a marathon just wasn’t for me. The black toenails, the fatigue, the recovery, the training, not to mention running for more than 3 HOURS – let me be honest here for a moment and tell you it would be closer to 4 hours in my case.


But then I broke through a wall. The mind is an amazing thing. It has a lot of power over someone’s emotional and mental state and can affect how someone lives day-to-day. But it has been primarily through running that I’ve seen what a hold the mind has over someone’s physical state as well.

TANGENT ALERT: During the fall I became a fan/succumbed to the power of the Biggest Loser. If you are ever in doubt of how much the mind has a vise grip on the physical well-being of someone just watch the Biggest Loser. While the road to success and healthy living is certainly multi-layered, it is amazing to see people’s bodies and lives transformed as their minds are transformed. People are capable of doing more than they think they can, they just never push themselves to that level because in their minds they are defeated even before they start. Biggest Loser takes those misconceptions and forces contestants to overcome mental obstacles on a daily basis.

For me, that most recent breakthrough came in the form of the love of the run.

Before a run I would think of excuses why I shouldn’t run that day: too hot, too cold, stomach hurt, not enough time, my shoelaces were too white, and so on. Fortunately I wouldn’t listen to myself most days and would set out for a run anyway. During the run I would think of why I wasn’t enjoying my run: too hot, too cold, too hilly, my legs hurt, my feet were sore and on and on. All this changed when I started biking. Yes. Biking. I love to bike when it’s warm. I have a wonderful trail close to my house where I can fly along for four miles before the trail ended, then fly back home. There’s about a mile between the start of the trail and my house which is great at the start because it’s all downhill. But that last mile when my mind’s telling me I should be home, it’s all uphill. And when you’re primarily a runner, biking a half mile plus continuously uphill is HARD! But because I loved to bike so much I found the hills weren’t a big deal at all. Yes, they were still difficult, but a very manageable difficult.

What I found through biking was the mental push I had needed to run up those hills and find I was more than strong enough to do it! This newfound strength made me want to run more often and longer distances than before. Instead of pushing myself out the door to run 2 or 3 miles, I practically salivate at the thought of being able to run and find I don’t want to stop once my sneakers start pounding the pavement.

And so I have a new mission for 2010- to run my first marathon  and to learn through the journey in getting there.