Half-Marathon Half-Monday


I started HitchDied as a wedding planning blog operating under the theory that no one wanted to hear me talk about wedding planning, but I still had to get all those obsessive thoughts out of my system.  Well thank goodness the blog is still here for all the new things in my life I have obsessive thoughts about that no one else wants to hear, like how half-marathon training is going!

So if you are one of those people who rolls your eyes and goes, “shut up, ACTIVE PEOPLE” every time you are next to a “you’re a runner? I’m a runner too! What flavor Gu do you like?” kind of conversation, you should probably ignore my blog on Mondays until early May.   But if you were one of those people who found my wedding planning tales interesting even though you weren’t planning a wedding, maybe you will also enjoy these?

Why Half-Marathon Training is Like Being a Postal Worker

Last Sunday I ran in blizzard-like conditions.  The next time I went out (two days later) it was 65 degrees and sunny.  That’s March in Pittsburgh for you.  In the past few months, I’d only run when the weather was cooperating, either exercising indoors or just being sedentary when it was too cold/wet/generally oogy outside.  It has been tough to switch my attitude to a “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night”-type adherence to my schedule, but I am grateful that I’m getting more used to running in different weather conditions, because running for the first time ever in snow at my first race is 50% of what made that 10K such a miserable experience for me.

It’s also funny to me how in my “off” months of only semi-regular running I was more likely to go out when the sun was shining, but as I was reminded yesterday on my weekly “long” run, it can be even better to run in the chilly/lightly misty weather associated with gray days.

Why Half-Marathon Training is Like being a Postal Worker, Continued.

I’m constantly worried about my mental health.

Physically, I know I could cover the distance of a half-marathon TOMORROW if I really had to, but I would probably feel absolutely terrible physically and even worse emotionally.  I know how to train over the next two months to get myself to feel better physically on race day.  I DON’T know how to train myself to avoid an emotional spiral into misery when things get tough in training or in the race.

One major issue I’m struggling with right now is that I’m not feeling proud of myself at all for my training.  I keep thinking of a half marathon as half an accomplishment because I know SO MANY marathoners.  I try to make it all about myself, and think “By running a half-marathon I’m accomplishing something I couldn’t do a year ago!”  But my negative side counters that I’m training for such a ridiculously slow race pace (11 minutes/mile, which is about as slow as I can go and still feel like I am actually running), that I’m not really advancing my ability at all.

Meanwhile, all the winter flab I’ve been carrying around that I was doing a pretty good job of embracing (except for when my jeans were fresh out of the dryer and impossible to zip up) is bothering me a lot more because I can feel it jiggle and slow me down when I’m running.  And before you can say, “Oh but running will make that flab go away!”, lemme tell you it’s not going to, because I can’t resist eating all of the food in Allegheny County a few hours after every long run.

Because I’d like to be Even More Insufferably Smug About My Active Lifestyle

To address some of these mental health and body issues, I’ve been considering going back to yoga.  I’m concerned it will impede my training, though.  I don’t want to lose time on the road to time in the studio.  My training schedule only has three or four days on the road, so that shouldn’t really be a problem, but does a rest day really count as a rest day if I do 90 minutes of hot yoga?  Should I be pairing yoga with CT days instead?  If anyone has combined race training or a running schedule with yoga at all, I’d love to hear your insights.

Once again, if you’d like to donate to my fundraising campaign, GO HERE.  Every dollar helps! Thanks!


  1. I think yoga is fine, but I would stay away from hot yoga. I remember one issue of Runner’s World said when you’re training for a half or full marathon, don’t do hot yoga at the same time because it’s intense enough that it’s not considered a light exercise. It’s almost as if you ran that day.

    I wil probably take up non-hot yoga myself. I had to stop running on Sunday because of a painful twinge in my hip that I’m told will go away if I stretch every day. So, yoga for cross-training it is!

    Also, I’m pretty sure you will feel enormously proud of yourself when you cross the finish line after your first half. I cried the first time.

    • I was afraid of that, re: hot yoga. I find regular yoga way too boring and will do pilates instead.

      I hope I do cry and feel proud at the end of the finish line! I hope I eventually run into you after the finish to hug you!

      Also, re the pain in your hip, do you have a foam roller? My running-related hip pain has been improved DRAMATICALLY by rolling it out. That’s in addition to stretching.

      • I don’t have a foam roller. Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to investigate.

      • My foam roller is my best friend ever: it totally cured my husband’s knee pain, which was oft-complained about, and I’m way less sore when I use it after working out. It is really a magical little styro-cylinder. Have you tried using a tennis or lacrosse ball for a similar affect on your back against a wall? Mmm.

  2. A half marathon is damn impressive. I’m proud of you!

  3. I’m running a 5k in April–at a 15 minute mile. So an 11 minute mile for 5 times that distance sounds sufficiently impressive to me. (And considering my brother-in-law is a marathon runner and he’s still happy for me every time I hit a new PR distance–which at the moment is 2.35 miles, I don’t think any marathoner thinks you’re doing half an accomplishment.)

    • Sounds like you have exactly the right attitude that I should have. It’s weird because i certainly am not judging you for training for a 5k, I’m like, “WAY TO GO!” I’m just so hard on myself! It’s completely lame.

  4. Yeah, that’s the tricky part, learning to be proud of yourself for things you would be proud of another person for. I’m not sure I have any advice about that, but I’ll add my voice to the chorus of people impressed by and proud of you. I tried running. I hated it. Everyone I know who’s picked it up keeps saying you just have to pick it back up and push through. The one thing I’ve heard that was encouraging (for me, and might be useful training for you? I have no idea) is that people who trained with sprinting did just as good as people who trained for distance in long races. Something to look in to?

  5. Dude, 21.5 kilometers is nothing to sneeze at. I hate the term “half.” It’s BFD for running any race over a distance you would be more likely to drive, in my opinion. And training doesn’t always feel like it’s a big accomplishment, but trust me, it will. And if it makes you feel any better, I run my easy runs at a pace slower than most people walk. Seriously. Once while running in Colorado, I got passed by an elderly couple and their dog out for a stroll.

  6. I just ran my first half on Saturday, averaging an 11min/mile, and I agonized over my speed a lot. Even during my fastest runs, I don’t break 9:30min. And that’s at a near-sprint the entire time. I’m just not a fast person. But have you ever been to a half marathon? I decided to do it because (and yes this probably makes me a terrible judgy person) I looked at a lot of the runners and thought, “I am in SUCH better shape than him/her!” And when I looked around at my fellow 2:30:00 pacers, I was super proud to be in their physique company. Apparently people who run 11min/mile are super hot. Just FYI.

    Also I hardly ran leading up to the race itself. MAYBE twice per week. I mostly did strength training (barre, crossfit, rock climbing, yoga…not hot but badass yoga). I think they made my run much better. The longest training run I did was 9 miles and I walked a LOT of it.

  7. I am proud of you. Running scares me. I must also add my commiseration about double-standards for pride feelings.

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