Running My First Half-Marathon

This is how i prepared for my first half-marathon. It was not about a year after running my first 10k and my training routine had definitely changed. prior to preparing for this run I focused more on my pull-ups and push-up game, not much heavy lifting. I got into pull-ups and push-ups after having listened to this audiobook: Living with a seal:31 days of training with the world’s toughest man. This was definitely a boost to my drive in exercising, it taught me that if you push the body to what you are its limits it will respond with some surprising results. Alright so I had about two months to prepare for this run, why two months? because I decided at the end of September to continue on my goal of incrementing to running a full marathon. So now that I had two months to prepare I decided to research on what my approach would be, i could have continued the previous training routine but I like to experiment. I asked a trainer at my gym- anytime fitness, what a good exercise would be to build up speed and strength, his immediate reply was “that’s a loaded question, but you want to focus on squats and dead-lifts”. I asked if he could choose only one exercise what would it be, his quick response, “dead-lifts”.

So now I had an exercise to focus on, I wanted to come up with a routine and the next source i researched was YouTube, which could’ve been enough, but i wanted to ask those with real experience. I found some videos from Dr. Jeff Banas and he described a workout routine called the 5×5 workout.Now that I had a routine: MF:5×5 workouts, T/TH: nickels and dimes(5 pullups/10 push-ups on the minute for 10-minutes), practicing good running rhythm and posture 8 minutes, slow pace on the treadmill and LSD(long slow distance) runs on sundays for 90-minutes. I chose to run only on Sunday for 90-minutes because I wanted my body to get used to running for that period of time, I doubled my previous 10-k run to make a guesstimation of how long it would  take me to run the half-marathon. Now it’s one month before the run and i’m feeling strong, I’m beginning to feel the effects of these 90-minute runs  and the pressure it’s putting on my knees. I decide I want to get a bit lighter to counter the effects of these long runs. My approach to this, get on the slow-carb diet from this book: The four hour body. I’ve followed this diet approach before for about 2.5 years and it’s pretty easy to follow and the weight-loss is easy without losing much strength. I begin the dieting process in November and now its December 4th, the day of the half-marathon.

The night before the run was as usual, high-anxiety with some performance issues running through my mind. this time I had something that would help me tackle these issues, one I used this app called brain.fm which has calming brainwave music. Two I tried this breathing technique I read in this book(Pam grout breathing book). The music helped and the breathing technique I applied for 15-minutes before nodding of into sleep. I’ll add this, I should have applied this immediate before falling asleep but I didn’t, i thought I was already well relaxed enough to just fall asleep; don’t always trust your mind. I applied these strategies around midnight and it helped me get at least 3.5 hours asleep, I felt ready to go wake up time at 4am. I arrive at the location: Loma linda,CA(Loper’s club) around 6 am and pickup my bib along with a goodies bag. It’s feeling kind of cold, no worries, I made sure to run in similar conditions the previous weekend in the high desert(Hesperia) and this wasn’t that bad. My sister, brother-in-law, nephews and dad show up in time to see me off. I listen to a couple tracks(dream bigger: axwell/ingrosso and legacy by Memphis may fire) while doing some light stretches. I asked some people in which direction we will be starting the run, it’s an uphill start, dang, no worries i’m comfortable with that. Still, I should have read the run map prior to this day to get a feel of how the run would be, rookie mistake.

My game-plan for this day is simple, keep my pace and posture in sync, no going all out like a cowboy. The coordinator tells those who are fast to move up and those who aren’t to back up, I choose to stay and in the middle and work my way up. Now we start and i’m flying past people trying not to trip over others. I feel good, except for one thing, we’re running straight up, okay then keep pace. This run was very hilly and the downhills were relieving to my feet. I’m feeling good about this and once i’m passing the mile-6  sign i think to myself “I have 7 more miles of this?, what the heck”, no worries, my body knows it can keep going. I finally get the turn-around around mile 7 and i’m starting to feel kind of dehydrated, “water?Gatorade” the volunteers ask, i think it will slow me down and keep running. By the next stop I decide to just say yes and chug some small cup of  Gatorade. I never practiced drinking water while running, it was funny trying to run and gargle down some green Gatorade, i felt it splash on my face and shirt. “wow i feel refreshed” is what runs in my head. Now time to go back through the same hills, i’m not following with a pack but i’m not being passed up as well, I feel good. I make it past mile 10, I estimated that I would be done with the run around 90-minutes, my watch was telling me otherwise. I pick up the pace, my knee is now feeling, I block out the pain.

I pass the 12-mile sign and now I try to push some more, my body respond. I feel a slight pain on my sides, “I need to work on core-strength next” I make a mental note of that. I make the final turn and all my cylinders are firing past their max, I pass the finish line and am told my time(1:44:07), “alright, i’ll take it” i say to myself. i’m welcomed back by my family, i’m proud of myself that i stuck to my game-plan. I go and get the mini-massage being offered, the massage therapist looks at my knee and says” Whoa, you should put some ice on that”, “yes, i’ll make sure to do that” I said proudly. We begin to leave and I stop by the board with posted times, I placed 22 out 187 people and 17th for the men’s class, not bad for running only on Sundays. Celebration time, we go to breakfast, I have some sweet potato pancakes and a big ice cream(turtle sundae). I enjoyed this experience because it taught me how to stay focused and trust the process. I plan on preparing for the L.A marathon(march 2017) next and will probably train with experienced runners instead of doing this alone.

preparing for half-marathonrunning to finish linepost-run

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