totally freaking the f*ck out (or, my first half marathon is in four days...)

my first half-marathon is this saturday. last night, after a 30-minute-pity-party about how much i've fallen off the running wagon these past two weeks, my mother said to me "well, you've got some cramming to do this week then!"

i know that she means well and that my endeavor to run 13.1 miles is quite a foreign thing to her. but the thing is, you can't really cram for a half-marathon in the last week. i don't know much about racing, but i know that. with only four days to go, if i'm not ready now, there's not much that can be done.

my training plan was 16 weeks long. i wonder if that was too long of a plan for me as about two weeks ago, i hit some sort of physical and emotional wall and just didn't want to run any more. every run either a) totally sucked, or b) totally hurt. i chose this long of a plan on purpose because i wanted to give myself plenty of time to build up my mileage slowly as to avoid yet another running injury. 

what i've been up to the last 16 weeks...

my longest run was just shy of 13 miles, three weekends ago. and it just about killed me. when i hit the end of that training run, i collapsed in tears on the rain-soaked ground and tried to choke down some gatorade inbetween the sobs. it wasn't pretty.

since then, i've been icing, stretching, and running shorter distances. i ran 10 last weekend and felt amazing. and then this past weekend, i didn't do a damn thing except drink way too much old style and lie in fetal position, simultaneously saying to myself "i can't do this!" and "i have to do this!"

any other runners out there play this jekyl-hyde game with themselves? the one where you absolutely know that you can do something, but some other voice inside your head tells you that you can't?

in other moments of hot panic throughout my life, i have played this little mind-game with myself to help calm down... "what are the things that i know?" asking myself this question helps to weed out all the noise, anxiety and unanswerable questions and get back down to the basics of whatever the situation may be. so. for this week and this race, here's what i know:
  • no one is making me do this. i signed up for this race on my own.
  • i've followed my training plan about 85% of the time over the past 16 weeks.
  • i should trust my training plan to have gotten me ready.
  • this is not the week for self-loathing and self-doubt.
  • this is the week to hydrate.
  • this is the week to eat a bunch of bagels.
  • this is the week to get some good rest.

and so i may not know the following statement, but i am going to have to choose to believe it:
  • i am totally f*cking awesome and am going to rock this thing.

i may not finish in under 2 hours (my "a" goal - which may be only slightly unreasonable for my first half). i may not finish in under 2:15 (my "b" goal - this was what i ran the 12.93 miles in three weekends ago). but. i know that i will finish.

in the words of one of my best friends, whose words helped me more this morning than she could ever know...

don't think too hard about it.
just do what you always do.
put on your shoes, turn on your music and start running.

and that is exactly what i will do. t-minus 4 days and counting...


  1. Just found your blog courtesy of dailymile. I'm laughing because you blog about vodka about as often as I blog about tequila!

    You will do GREAT on Saturday. If you can do 10, you can totally do 13.1. And you've already done 12.93! This will just be a couple of steps more..... there will be people cheering you on, a bazillion people running right next to you, and someone will hang a medal around your neck when you're done. Lots of motivation! And don't you usually run with a double stroller?? You've totally got this!! Good luck!

    1. thanks 'bitterhag'!

      the kids will be spectating, i will not be pushing them for 13 miles. i may have balls, but they aren't that big.

  2. If you've put in the long runs then you will be fine for the race this weekend. Plus you are tapering anyways which is good to give your body a rest and your legs will thank you for it during the run. Crowd support will help you through it as well as all the other runners out there doing it with you...totally different ball game than being out there alone.

    Good luck, only goal for your first is to just finish!

    1. yeah, lish! now that the prediction is for snow and 38 degrees? i've let go of my time pressures and i'm just gonna rock it and enjoy the run.

  3. Ash - You've totally got this one. Seriously, you've been training for this, you've already nearly run 13 miles and that isn't with the whole adrenaline boost of the crowd and other runners. Just settle into it and run to enjoy and run to finish. Don't worry about your time or pace, just enjoy the experience. You're gonna do great!

    1. thanks john! the community and support among runners has truly been incredible...

  4. Ashley, you are totally fucking awesome and you've got this thing.

    I feel your loss of mojo, I'm there myself (you can see my blog for details-lol), but you are going to have a huge blast this weekend. Half marathons are so freaking fun, and think of the free beer at the end!! (I'm assuming you chose a race with free beer. If not, my image of you is totally blown.)

    You're going to get a TSHIRT!!!!! And a MEDAL!!!! And maybe a cramp, but probably not.

    You are awesome!!!!! Good luck tomorrow!!!!

    I must be right, because, hello, exclamation points!!!!!

    1. oh my god, amy, you are awesome. also, i will have new glarus waiting for me at home. wisconsin does a lot of things right but mostly? it's the beer. wisconsin is just SO GOOD AT BEER.


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