This summer I began training for the Des Moines Half Marathon that takes place mid-October in Iowa. I opted for the 5-Mile Combo, which is the Mercy Live Up Loop (a five mile course) Saturday, chased by the half marathon Sunday. I am on a mission to run fifty halfs in fifty states, and this race will make State 11. My training plan is the sixteen week program Half Marathon: Finish It from Another Mother Runner and has been a slow progression, adding miles on gradually and allowing plenty of room for cross training (a must for this yogini). My goal going into this race is not to break any PRs or reach under the sub-2:00 mark, but rather to finish the race strong and enjoy the opportunity of seeing a new city.
This weekend I observed the halfway point of my training plan with an eight mile long run. It was hot, climbing up into the 90’s by the end of my run, and humid. Despite the
external discomfort I felt pretty strong in the run, and am confident going into the part of the plan where things start to amp up. The past eight weeks have been about building a base and adding consistency to my weekly mileage before adding in the distance that will get me across the finish line. Besides thrice-weekly runs, my yoga practice and occasional strength class have rounded out my weekly workouts, promoting an overall fitness and balance.
The one thing I found I have missed this training cycle is having other runners around me. While I enjoy all my runs, I miss being able to chat with other mother runners as we match stride for stride. My schedule has not allowed me the flexibility this summer to really be a part of any of our community runs, but hopefully this fall I can find some room to join up. Saturday at a friend’s cookout I met and chatted with a local ultra runner named Jared. He made a remark about the Garmin watch I was wearing and we hit it off. The next couple hours passed quickly as we talked about all things running: the commitment and seeming insanity, past races and places we’ve gone, and the role running has played in our relationships with our loved ones. A stranger became a friend in mere hours, as the other people at the party looked on in bewilderment and incomprehension.
Running is a universal language, a powerful thing that brings people together from all walks of life. That is something I have truly come to appreciate and understand as I cycle through this plan. No matter where my travels took me this summer, there were runners. Each person was unique with their own stride and pace, but at the end of the day we all run the same way: by placing one foot in front of another. God only knows what the next eight weeks between now and the starting line have in store for me, but so far so good.
Are you training for a fall race? How is that going so far? Have a runner friend you just couldn’t imagine life without?