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Third Time’s a Charm, Isn’t It?

What are the odds that I’ll look this happy crossing the finish line? Credit: RVWithTito, Flickr

It’s no secret that the half marathon and I have had a rocky relationship. My first one, back in 2005, was really not enjoyable. But then again, I had no idea what I was doing. I loosely followed a training plan but didn’t get any runs longer than 9 miles in. I didn’t do any cross-training. I didn’t eat anything during the race and drank only water. And I felt like absolute crap when I crossed the finish line.

I vowed to never do it again.

For my second attempt at the 13.1, I trained well and had a solid nutrition plan. I knew what I was doing, and I couldn’t have felt more ready … until the heat and humidity got the better of me. If I felt like absolute crap at the end of my first one, I’m not sure there’s a way for me to describe the way I felt at the end of the Miami half. Not words that are allowed on Fit Bottomed Girls, anyway. It was a horrible, horrible, horrible experience.

I swore that would be my last half marathon.

As you’re reading this, I’m on my way to California for the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon. And, ever the optimist, I’m convinced that this time will be different. Here’s why:

  • I’ve been training hard (and consistently) for months on end. Training for the Leadman Tri got me basically ready for this race, and since that triathlon, I’ve gotten in three long runs—one of them a full 13 miles—and they were all really successful. There’s not a doubt in my mind that my legs can carry me that distance, since they just did it a couple of weeks ago.
  • I’m not setting any time or pace goals. Although I’ve worked hills into my training runs, I’m fully aware that the hills I run in Florida are a far cry from the major climbs I’ll face in California, and I’m giving myself permission to walk when it feels right. I’m still going to challenge myself and push when I can, but my mindset is far more focused on enjoying the experience than running a 10:30 pace.
  • My only goals are to finish and have fun. And if I were to prioritize, I would put the fun first. This shouldn’t be hard—I’m running in a beautiful location, past wineries and through a field of lavender, for Pete’s sake, and I’ll be there with two of the coolest and most inspiring women I know. My husband will be waiting for me at the finish line, and you know what else will be there? Wine. What’s not to enjoy?

It might seem nuts to be so excited about running a race distance that’s brought me so much pain in the past, but maybe this time will be the time we work out our differences and become good friends. And if not, drowning my sorrows in local wine really is not the most terrible of options.

Any pearls of wisdom or encouraging words from you Fit Bottomed runners out there? I’ll be sure to tell you all about it when I get back! —Kristen

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