I just finished my second half marathon. And I had a surprisingly easy time of it.
Last year, 2020, I trained for eight months for the Princeton Half Marathon, but in the end it was anti-climatic. The 2020 race didn’t follow the usual format but instead was a virtual race. Each runner ran on her (or his) own. I took pride in completing the distance, but I still wanted to run a “real” race. So once the weather started to cooperate in March of 2021, I began my running regimen again.
At first, I set an ambitious goal of shaving 5 minutes off of my half-marathon time. But the months rolled by, and I wasn’t finding the time to train particularly hard. Although week by week I kept adding to my mileage, it never seemed that I was running any faster. On top of which the Princeton Half Marathon is notoriously hilly. By the time the 2021 race rolled around, I had downgraded my goal. I just hoped not to run too much slower than I had run in 2020.
At the start this morning I was humming with race-day excitement and sharing the exuberance of my fellow runners. I covered the first few miles at a faster-than-my-usual pace. Meanwhile, I was telling myself I should slow down; that I had better pace myself or I’d burn myself out; that the second half of the course has killer hills. But I didn’t slow myself down. I just kept going.
I never really ran out of steam. In fact, my tenth mile (out of 13.1) was my fastest. I surprised myself by cutting an entire 11 minutes off my time from last year.
What’s my inspiring takeaway message from two years of running?
It’s way, way better to be in shape. It feels good. You have more energy. You just feel better about yourself. Even though it takes work, it’s worth it! In other words:
You’ve got to fight
For your right
And in this context by “party,” I mean enjoy a healthy life and maintain your physical capabilities as you age. You’ve got to invest in yourself!