I remember seeing these 13.1 bumper stickers on cars when I was a kid, fully unsure of what they actually meant. This was back during the time when people had bumper stickers of Jesus fish and ones where Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes peed on things. There were also the "No Fear" bumper stickers. Let's not forget those.
But I digress. The point is these 13.1 bumper stickers eluded me throughout the whole of the 90s and most of the early aughts. I was inquisitive enough to wonder briefly but apathetic enough to neglect to just google it. It wasn't until college, when every single person I knew started signing up for half marathons, that I realized what was up with this 13.1 sticker craze.
For those of you who are not tracking with me, a half marathon is 21.097494 kilometers, OR 13.1 miles. When you run a half marathon, apparently they give you a bumper sticker. It's all very exciting.
Well, as I mentioned in my last post, I've signed up to do my first half this coming June! You should know that this is kind of out-of-character for me. I've never been the running kind. The brisk walk kind, sure. The prancing kind, possibly. The dancing-to-Beyonce-in-the-privacy-of-my-own-home kind, absolutely. Running and I, however, have just always had a pretty awkward relationship. When you have a butt that sits about a foot off the ground when standing, running is usually not your game.
But for some reason, I want so badly to be The Girl Who Runs. You know that girl. She shops at Lululemon and she monitors her heart rate and she wakes up early and she makes smoothies probably. She has that Runner's Glow, that Runner's Zen, that Runner's Pinterest board. Everything just lines up in life for The Girl Who Runs. She never forgets to take her makeup off at night. She never forgets an appointment. She is the epitome of control.
I want to be that girl -- a girl who I know in my heart doesn't actually exist. The girl I'm thinking of probably eats Cheetos at 1 AM and farts in church just like the rest of us. She just does a better job of hiding it.
But still, I want to be a runner, and this entire year I've been taking small baby steps. I ran the Color Run last summer, a 5K where people throw colored powder at your body and into your eyeballs. At the end of that thing, I have to admit, I was a little huffy and puffy, but it made me happy and I got to take this colorful selfie:
Training is a wonderful thing, not only because you can see your progress, but because it gives a daily sense of control (yuck, I don't really like that word. Let's go with "accomplishment" instead, but know that I really mean "control"). Every day I wake up and I look at my schedule, and I think, okay I'm going to run 4 miles, and then I just run 4 miles. Like, I just do it. For someone who struggles to stay focused on one thing at a time, this is immensely helpful. I tell myself I'm going to do a lot of things at the top of my day that I never end up getting done. Now, if I get nothing else finished, hey, at least I ran. Plus, it makes me feel like I can do other things just as successfully as long as I approach it with a similar attitude.
Now, when I mentioned in my last post that I was training for a half marathon, I received a request to share my training schedule and playlist. Good idea. I'm using the Hal Higdon novice training guide. It looks like this:
As for my playlist, I listen to episodes of the Professor Blastoff podcast, and that's honestly it. I've talked about this show a lot on my blog, so it's probably time you start listening to it as well. It stars comedians Tig Notaro, David Huntsberger, and Kyle Dunnigan, and it is by far my favorite podcast of all time. More importantly, it is the ultimate distraction. I look like an absolute lunatic laughing while running, but it definitely helps pass the time. Seriously, listen to it.
The biggest lesson I've learned so far about running is to keep my own body's pace. I used to run with Daniel whose hip bone sits about a foot higher than mine. His legs are long and he ran track in high school, so why I tried to keep up with that guy is beyond me*. Now that I'm training, I run a grandma's pace and I feel like I could do it all day.
So yeah, I'm getting better, and I really think I can do this whole 13.1 miles thing. Like, I think I'm going to get that sticker, I really do. Still, I would love your input while I'm in the thick of it. Any half marathon regulars out there? Do you have any tips for a novice like me? Any product endorsements (shoes, protein bars, heart monitors, those weird fruit chews, fanny packs)? Any secret runner's wisdom? Let me know in the comments section!
*It should be noted that Daniel is running this half marathon with me in June, right at my side, even though I told him he didn't have to. I think that is really pretty cool.