Half-Marathon Training (Week 21 and 22) —> HALF-MARATHON GOAL ACHIEVED!!!

21kmhalfmarathonachieved!!!

I have good news to report – I have officially run 21kms – which makes it a half-marathon!!!

Whoot whoot!

So excited over this! ūüôā

By the way, sorry for the bad pictures in this week’s post! I meant to take a few more better pictures after my run, especially a picture of the river, but it must have been gym’s brain or runner’s brain or something because I completely forgot all about taking the pictures as I meandered away back down the path towards home. Silly me! So I ended up just taking a picture of my sneakers when I finally remembered to do so as well as a picture I had taken at the beginning of the run of a pair of really pretty colourful parrots. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy day and my camera phone is atrocious so this is the best I could do! I can’t wait till I get a new phone with a much better camera – but that might still be a little while off in the future yet!

Now back to the half-marathon:

I didn’t run the 21km in an actual race because the race I had originally been planning to train for turned out not to have a 21km choice – bummer – but I decided to keep training anyway and then keep it up for another half-marathon race in the near future. (This one¬†definitely¬†has a 21km run. I know, I double-checked after my last snafagufus! And yes, I totally made that word up!) But I’m still pretty psyched that I have run 21km – it’ an awesome feeling to know I’ve achieved this goal!

I’ve combined weeks 21 and 22 together because, to be honest, week 21 wasn’t much to shout about. I was feeling pretty¬† lazy, I had a ton of unexpected social commitments popping up which kept me pushing back my workouts day after day after day… and I’ll be honest. My running mojo was pretty low. It felt like I had lost a ton of motivation. So Week 21 ended up actually looking like this:

May 26th to June 1st:
Monday: 7.5km run
Tuesday: Body Pump
Wednesday: Rest Day
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: Rest Day
Sunday: 45 minute swim

Lots of rest days… and only one run!! That was a tough week to look back on. But every now and then you do need a lazy rest week so I decided to allow myself that one.

The following week was also hard to get into at the beginning. I was still feeling pretty unmotivated to workout but I knew I had to stop being lazy so on Monday, I promised myself I’d just go for a really, really quick run. Anyway between 2-5km. I could stop anytime I wanted to after hitting the 2km mark.

Well, I decided to turn left instead of right and ended up trying out a whole new route from my usual one. As it turned out, that was the best decision I could have made because I kept wanting to see what was around the next corner on this whole different route so every time I made it to one corner, I thought, ‘okay, maybe we’ll just keep going to the next corner to see what’s behind that and then the next one…” And I somehow managed to keep going until I made it to 4km! I was psyched because I realised when I turned to run back that all I had to do was run another 3km and that would make it a 7km run! Plus, I get to walk the last km as a reward.¬†A cool down walk at the end of my run is always a reward to me because it’s so easy to do after all that running and I’m still on a high from having achieved my running foal for the day. I love cool down walks!

That turned out to be the best way to start my week because that 7km run got my mojo starting again, forcing me out of bed for a swim the next day, then a run after that, and on and on… and when it came to Saturday, I thought, ‘okay, I can do a 7km run and see how I feel. Maybe I’ll want to go home. Maybe I’ll be keen at repeating that 7km run two more times…which means I’ll hit the 21km mark!!!’

I was feeling pretty good, motivational- and mental-wise. I really wanted to do 21km this week, to get this goal over and done with. I had given myself two rest days – Thursday and Friday – so my body should be fresh and ready for this as well. I made myself start slow. Even the weather was perfect – the kind of cool, cloudy day that always makes me want to run longer and faster.

So I started. I forced myself not to think of it as 21km (or three long loops around the river). I broke it down into pieces –¬† three to four landmarks in each of the three loops – and forced myself to just concentrate on getting to the next landmark. And then the one after that. And then the one after that. Around and around the loop we went.

Each time I caught myself flagging or getting mentally psyched out, I tried to turn the negative mental chat into positive talk¬†or I’d make mental lists of random things in my head. At one point, I found myself listing all the movies that Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu had starred in – (I had started with Drew Barrymore because I was thinking about the movie¬†Blended and of course I started thinking about Charlie’s Angels so Cameron and Lucy were next on my list! I think random lists of celebrity-esque stuff are going to feature a lot in my mental running challenges in the future – it’s definitely more fun than coming up with a list of future grocery items I have to get!).

So the first round went pretty well. Surprisingly, so did the second РI only started to flag during the last couple of kms and that was when the mental movie lists really helped. I thought the third and final loop would be a big challenge but I was doing really well too Рmaybe I was psyched because I knew I was really finally hitting my goal! I did start flagging again towards the final half of my final loop Рthat bit always gets me Рbut knowing I was just about 2km away from achieving my goal helped spur me on to make that final finish!

So this is a quick rundown of what the week looked like:

June 2nd to June 8th:
Monday: 7km run
Tuesday: 20 minute swim
Wednesday: 7km run
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 21 km run!!!
Sunday: 45 minute swim

Now on to just a few other notes about my run:

Time: I am perfectly happy to admit I am a half-marathon baby and a very slow one at that. It took me just under three hours to do the run – which is pretty, pretty slow – in fact, I would have just made it under the three-hour cut-off limit some half-marathons races have for their participants. But I want to stress that I am doing this to achieve my goal of distance, not speed/time or anything else so I’m quite happy with accomplishing what I wanted to!

Breaks: I know there are runners out there who feel half-marathons/marathons aren’t properly run unless you run the whole thing without stopping at all. However, like I said, I’m not in this competitively and also there are plenty of runners/running coaches who feel it’s fine to stop whenever you need to or to take walking breaks. I didn’t take any walking breaks but I did stop a few times to do a quick stretch because I could feel my bad knee and ankle tightening up, which signals a possibly injury if I didn’t stop to stretch it out quickly. Safety first!
Record: I am pretty pissed that I didn’t manage to get an actual record of this! Wouldn’t you believe my luck – when I checked my Fitbit band, I realised it was dead because I forgot to recharge it this week. And my Runkeeper has chosen today to go wonky again, logging in weird stuff like me having run 12km when in actual fact I knew I had only run 7km so far. In disgust, I ended up switching the app off and trusting to the fact that I’ve run this loop so many times I knew the distance anyway – but it would have been nice to have a proper record of my achievement. I have a feeling that when I start proper running training again, I’ll have to save up for a good sportswatch to help me record my distances, especially when I’m trying out new routes where I have no idea what the distance is, because RunKeeper isn’t very reliable for this and it’s also one of the reasons why I won’t upgrade to a paid version of Runkeeper – it’s not worth the money if it’s going to log highly inaccurate distances for my run.

Fuel and hydration: Two things that really helped me out in my run – GU Chomps and my camelbak! I had one GU Chomp after the first 7km, then one GU chomp about every half hour after that, washed down with plenty of water. Fuel and hydration are definitely very important in keeping your energy levels up for a long run!

What’s next?

I’ve decided to delay my other goal of running a marathon (maybe next year, who knows!) and instead concentrate on trying to run my half-marathon a little faster.¬† Being a fast runner was never a goal to me so I’m not too worried about the fact that I am definitely a very slow runner, but I think this might be a good goal for me to work on until the half-marathon race I’m planning for rolls around later in the year. In the meantime, I’m interested in trying out a fitness guide I just uploaded from this amazing personal trainer I found on Instagram (more on this later, and I bet a lot of you who are fitness nuts can guess who she is!) and on improving my swimming.

I realised I am definitely piling on a lot on my plate, fitness-wise, all at once which is why I decided to push the full marathon to another year. There’s also a few other things I’ve signed up for, not fitness stuff, but just other things I really want to learn or improve on, so it’s going to be a super busy rest of the year for me. But it’s all stuff I’m super passionate about so hopefully with some proper time management (I am never good at time management so this will be another interesting challenge for me) and plenty of grit and commitment, I will get all of this done! In the meantime, it feels good to be able to run 21km before I hit 30 and it feels great to reap the rewards of all the hard work and persistence and pushing through the pain and laziness (yes, laziness!) and self-doubt to finally being able to run a half-marathon! So hooray and off I go now to celebrate the rest of my weekend with my¬† most recent goal tucked under my belt! ūüôā

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