I can’t believe I’m going to share this, but I turn 35 this week. Yep. The big 3 – 5. It feels somewhat monumental — even more so than 30. It must be because they say my fertility is rapidly declining, my belly is getting a little more jiggly, the gray hair is sprouting, and the wrinkles are showing themselves. Wow. Did I really just write that?!!
I don’t have any exciting birthday plans on my actual birthday — other than baking cookies, babysitting, attending a piano recital, cheering at an AWANA Award’s Night, and eating Red Velvet cake (yum!).
But last weekend, I did celebrate my birthday in an unusual way — by running my 2nd 1/2 marathon. Which this mom-of-three crushed. (Well…compared to other runners, maybe not so much…but for myself, YES!) I shaved almost 10 minutes off my first 1/2 marathon time thanks to P90X and Insanity.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “I could never run a 1/2 marathon.” I’m not buying it. You can’t use that excuse with me, missy (or mister –for the brave male readers of this blog)!
I truly had not run more than a couple of miles since I graduated from high school, when I got this crazy idea to run a 1/2 marathon. Several of my friends from college had started running (they seemed like unlikely running types), but they were finishing 1/2 marathons — and even full marathons.
I was inspired!
I set about finding some training materials (I like the free training plans on Runner’s World, or the Beginner’s Half-Marathon Trainer: The 14-Week Program to Completing a Half-Marathon in Your Best Time also looks good if you need more guidance).
I trained for 20 weeks that first time, and I completed my first half-marathon in Nashville in April 2010!
- I am not an athlete.
- I’m not thin.
- I’m not the running type.
And yet, I have become a runner (although I still think jogging probably best describes what I do).
I’d love to inspire someone else to run a 1/2 marathon, so here are my five reasons why I think everyone should run a 1/2 marathon.
1) Running is guaranteed “me-time”.
With three children, my marriage, this blog, homeschooling, community stuff, and church, I don’t have a lot of free time. I bet you don’t either. One way I deal with this is by combining activities. Running is exercise and “me-time” all at the same time.
Why in the world would I consider running “me-time”?!! Well, you can train with friends and get in some good bonding — or you can run by yourself, clear your head, and think only what you want to think! When you have three children hanging on you all day long, it’s definitely a break!
I prefer to run by myself. It’s somewhat cathartic for me. Just me, the MP3s I want to listen to, and the open road. Sometimes I listen to podcasts, sometimes I listen to music, sometimes I pray, sometimes I don’t listen to anything. I just soak up the silence (and the lack of fighting, screaming, whining sounds from my children)!
Running reduces and gives me an outlet for my stress!! For 30 minutes to an hour, I’m free from the everyday struggles and battles of motherhood. I come back much from my runs much calmer and more focused.
2) You’ll get healthier.
Our bodies were designed to move, but our sedentary lifestyles (office jobs, computer time, t.v. time, etc.) make it harder to get in the activity we need. If you train for a 1/2 marathon, you’ll see great strides in your fitness — as long as you slowly build up and don’t wind up with an injury.
Another bonus of training for a 1/2 marathon is weight-loss. I’ll be honest — I have great difficulty keeping my weight in check. Running makes this much easier for me! Those few months I didn’t run during the winter were terrible for my waistline. I’ve lost a few pounds during my training, and I’m looking forward to shedding these last 5-10 pounds as I continue to exercise and run.
3) Signing up for a race keeps you motivated.
If you haven’t figured out by now, I don’t necessarily love to exercise…and I can easily find reasons not to do it. If I’ve signed up for a race though, I have to commit to training for it and paying for it. Running 13.1 miles isn’t something you just go out and do (well, you can, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re already super-fit). Instead, you build up your mileage — you set aside time to train — you make it a priority.
4) You’ll be amazed at what you’ve accomplished.
There’s something about training day-in and day-out for a 1/2 marathon. There are times you feel weak and you wonder whether you’ll be able to accomplish this goal you’ve made. But when the day comes, and you actually complete it, you’ll feel amazing! You’ll realize how insanely strong you are.
Not only will you have physical toughness by the end of your training, but you’ll also have mental toughness. It takes determination, dedication, and focus to get to the starting line. It takes even more to get to the finish line. You’ll conquer your doubts and fears. You’ll feel ready to tackle anything!
Besides, how many people can say they’ve run a 1/2 marathon?!!
(Me & My Sis!)
5) You can run for others.
This is my favorite part. There are so many awesome causes you can run to raise funds for. It’s so inspiring to run for someone else. In fact, I only finished the last few miles of both of my races because I focused on the children I was running for.
My first race was run in honor of my dad and to raise funds for Show Hope. I ran with my Show Hope gear again last Sunday. It is an amazing ministry, and I’d love for you to consider supporting them through my personal “Running a 1/2 Marathon and Donating my Birthday” fund page! My goal is $500.
That’s it. My thoughts on why you should run a half-marathon. If you’ve already run one, what would be on your list of reasons? Feel free to leave your ideas below! Otherwise, happy training! I’ll see you at the finish line!
(Check with your doctor, of course, before beginning any exercise program.)