For all of you who know me, you are probably aware that I am going to run my first half marathon on Saturday.
I’m pretty anxious about it, but at the same time I’m trying to remain calm and not obsess about the whole thing. But it’s difficult when the past several months have centered around the training.
There are many training schedules one can follow when preparing for long distance runs and races. They all have a common thread however. Build up mileage slow and steady, week by week. Never increase your distance more than 10% per week. That said, in order to train up to a half marathon which is 13.1 miles, it takes an average of 16 weeks of runs (5 miles), alternated with walks (2 miles) and rest days (huh?).
The five day run/walk schedule averages 8 miles the first week and after the 12th week, you’ve trained up, and running on average 25 miles per week. After the 16 week period, you’ve put about 400 miles on your body. And soul.
When you put it into logistical terms, 13.1 miles tomorrow is doable. Even sounds pretty tame compared to several hundred miles I’ve already logged. But add an excess of adrenaline, spotty nerves and a buzzing brain, all of a sudden things aren’t so calm and collected.
Which is why on the eve of my first Half, I will try and keep myself busy, but not harried. I will water my garden and sit in the sun. I will pack up a bag for the post race, which Dirk and my Mom will bring up to me after I cross the finish line. I will putz around online and finish up a bit of work. I’ll lay out my favorite running shirt. Nano playlists will be at the ready.
But what I hope will settle me down the most will come later when I head to my cozy kitchen to prepare dinner. After much thought, I decided to make Spaghetti Bolognese, a favorite of mine, and especially Dirk. It’s a familiar dish, one I’ve made dozens of times, and after tweaking the recipe over the last year, I think it is a fine dish indeed. A common dish in Italy, it’s not to be confused with the Americanized version of meat and red sauce. Both are great, but this Bolognese, prepared with tomatoes and meat, is more complex and deep in its flavor, helped along with some surprising add-ins, such as carrots, beef stock, milk and pancetta.
I’ll post the recipe later today and I hope you all give it a go. The meats used traditionally in the recipe are ground beef, pork, veal and pancetta. But in order to keep it a bit lighter on this runner’s belly, I’m using ground turkey. Oh, but don’t you worry. The pancetta stays.
Served with some crusty bread, a bit of red wine (to settle the nerves of course) and a light salad, I think I’ll be ready to face the morning. Fingers crossed and all that.
I love new challenges and adventures in life. It keeps things exciting, different and vibrant. But I also love the familiar, and the comfort it offers. This weekend contains a bit of both which suits me just fine.
I think I can do this.
I picked up my runner’s packet yesterday, which consists of my number tag, a cool t-shirt and a chip which I have to install on the top flap of my running shoe. (Wow, I guess this is official now!) The tag is a GPS system, which tracks my time for the duration of the race.
When I picked up my package, I couldn’t help but notice the endless files awaiting the participants. I think there may be a thousand plus runners out there this weekend. Yikes! That is another first.
Okay, steady as she goes. Don’t forget to breathe. The course I’m running is stunning. It starts at Leadbetter Beach, and goes north along the coastline, around a lighthouse, back down the coast heading south along West Beach, East Beach, The Santa Barbara Zoo and Bird Sanctuary. A quick pass along Butterfly Beach, home of the world class Biltmore Hotel and Ty Warner’s mega mansion, and then back to Leadbetter we go. A recap of the race will follow this weekend.
I want to take this time to give thanks to all of you, friends and family who have given me endless support during the last several months. I would also like to thank you all for sticking by me when it has taken center stage for most of my time and thoughts. I will take you all along with me on the course, your enthusiasm and well wishes will keep me going, mile after mile. And most of all, I wish to thank my wonderful husband for his endless patience and support as I struggled to train, work and keep things going without becoming a complete and total hag. (I know I failed on multiple occasions, so bless you for sticking by me.) You are the best Dokie. I love you so very, very much.
Life really is a kind of race when I think about it. Sometimes it’s effortless. And other days, it kicks us hard. But if we keep moving, one foot in front of the other, fueling ourselves with the encouragement and strength offered by the ones we love, victory is ours.