Hello there bloggies!

It is finally here, Friday. And welcome to Fitness Friday! Today, I wanted to write about one of the toughest fitness related goal I have ever accomplished: running a half marathon. In September, I survived the Surftown Half Marathon in Westerly, RI.

Running a half-marathon was a bit of an odd goal for me. I am not one who has ever been good at endurance sports. I have always been better at bouts of higher intensity exercise followed by quick recovery. It is probably why I love tennis, basketball, and Insanity so much. They play into my strengths at bit more. Running was always more of a means to an ends. I needed to run to be better at other things.

I was looking for a new challenge. I was getting bored with my workouts and needed a new way to motivate myself. A few of my friends had gotten into running and had run half-marathons and marathons. I had run a few 5K’s with them and had loads of fun. So, I let myself get talked into signing up for a half-marathon. I chose Surftown’s Half Marathon because it was along the lovely RI shore (right by T. Swift’s house!).

When I started training, the furthest I had ever run was around 7 miles (and that was after an absolutely horrific/frustrating day in the lab). I needed to double that in about 2 months. Of course, add in graduating, moving, and starting a new job, and training for sure did not go to plan. Looking back I wish I had planned out my running schedule more in depth and stuck to it better. I also wish I had a better device that tracked my pace and distance (the iPod mini was not good enough). Before the race, the furthest I had run was about 11 miles. I had hoped to have run over 13 by the race.

But, on race day that did not matter. I needed to focus on one thing, just keep running. Thankfully I was there with two of my friends to keep me from psyching myself out. I had two goals: to finish the race and to try to finish under two hours. It was freezing at the start, and other runners for the first few miles, of course, boxed me, in. Looking back, it probably was a good thing as it kept some energy in reserves. The first 8-9 miles went perfectly fine (and the scenery was stunning). I felt good, and my pace was good. Everything was going to plan.

Then, an evil double hill reared its ugly heads. I had been expecting an incline around this point in the race, so I had saved enough physical and mental energy for it. I told myself I just needed to get up that stupid hill. I put my head down and worked my tired body up that hill. The problem was that I was greeted by another hill, right away. No break. I could have screamed if I wasn’t so tired. I gathered all that was in me and kept going. I just told myself to take another step. That was my motto the rest of the race. Just put that next foot down. I didn’t care how long it took me or how much my right knee hurt (starting mile 11).

And that’s what I did. I finished in about 2 hours 7 minutes 32 seconds. I was a little over my goal time, but I freaking did it. I finished that stupid race. I had never been so mentally and physically exhausted, yet exhilarated at the same time. I had a concrete, crazy goal, and I somehow I followed through with it. I did it.

I don’t know if I ever will run another half-marathon or try a full marathon in the future, though my friends are trying to peer-pressure me into one this spring. But, I think it may have started something bigger. It may re-awaken my resolve to take on bigger, crazier things (like this blog, writing a book). It was such an amazing experience to push myself so hard.

Thank you for dropping by for Fitness Friday. Does anyone have their own training tips for long distance running (in case I run again)? Or have their own crazy fitness goals? Comment below or on twitter @DrFsThoughts

Have a great weekend! See you on Science Sunday!

-Dr. F

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