To go the distance or not?

I started running a little over 2 years ago and this past weekend I completed my 8th Half. Someone mentioned I can stop calling myself a “newbie”, that I am an experienced Half Marathoner. How crazy is that?? Inside I still feel like a newbie. I still don’t know how to eat before a race or have my breathing quite right. I still twist my hips too much when I run but I’m no longer a “newbie” whaaaaaat??.
That word gave me a sense of security. That I am still learning and it’s ok to have a bad run once in a while. However I have learned that every runner is still learning and striving to improve which leads me to my next question.
To go the distance or not? People ask when am I going to sign up for a Full. Running can be very competitive. You push yourself to PR at every race even though that’s not really possible and can lead to burnout. During my recent Half I once again had that feeling during the race that this is the max distance for me and I must be totally nuts to even consider to start training for my first & only Full. I do say 1 & only because between my weak hip flexors and nuisance of an IT band I think I only have one in me.
half crazy
I so desperately want that Full race bling. I want to be among my friends that can proudly claim that 26.2 distance. I am in awe of them. Another thought comes to my mind, what would be my next goal after a Full? Ragnar Relay? Rouge Orleans? There are so many fantastic races out there that I would desperately like to be a part of but being that I work full time, I am a wife and mom means I have commitments, plus I am not a spring chicken. I started this quest at age 38 not 25 so once again the voice of reason comes into play. Enjoy the Journey. Own the Half Marathon distance. I have yet to make my sub 2 hour goal for that distance so I would like to continue with that quest for this coming fall season. I would like to pick out 1 or 2 reasonable racecations a year to partake in such as the Space Coast Half Marathon in Cocoa Beach, Florida or the Nike Women’s Marathon & Half Marathon in San Francisco, California. Yes, I still want that Mickey medal for Walt Disney World marathon weekend but if I do get to do that race one day the goal would be just to finish and Enjoy!
a mile is a mile

Opening this up for your thoughts?


20 thoughts on “To go the distance or not?

  1. I know what you mean about wanting to get a full in… although I waited almost 9 years before switching from the half to the full! 🙂 It’s an amazing experience, but also one that takes a lot of time and training. Make sure you have time for it before signing up… looking forward to hearing when you do!

  2. I’ve thought about this myself, and I stick with the half for 2 reasons: I don’t like my life to be consumed by training (hi, competitive swimming at the DI level… been THERE), and I love the distance. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy the training load for a full, while the half is pretty manageable and I’ve found I can bust one out without a ton of training—this is probably the most dangerous lesson I’ve learned since I started running them! If you want to run a full, if you want to run Rouge-Orleans, if you want to take on different challenges in your athletic world, I say go for it, as long as you’re loving what you’re doing. I have said no to Rouge-Orleans and Ragnar relays in the past, and will not be running a full in the foreseeable future, and I’m okay with that.

  3. Honestly, a full is not on my agenda. I have absolutely no desire to ever run that distance. I know, I know, never say never, but I truly believe it will not occur for me. I can’t imagine wanting to run further than 13.1. The time, effort, and commitment is monumental! I don’t have that in me.

  4. This is a subject most distance runners deal with. I did the same. Ok, my thoughts here and I’m just going to outline the pros and cons of a full:

    * It’s a huge accomplishment both mentally and physically. I think this carries over into other things in life. Knowing what your body and mind can do when you set yourself to the task is a great motivator with other goals.
    * I think running all those miles really helped me learn to pace myself better.

    * It hurts. I mean it HURTS. A LOT. I’ve never, ever, ever had a half hurt as badly as running a full.
    * It takes a LOT of time. Plan on handing your weekends over to running and recovering for the next 4 months. Buh-bye social life.
    * With the added mileage = added risk of injury. I struggled with hip issues this entire marathon training season.
    * With all the added mileage and running (constantly) – burn out is a huge issue (for me). After the race I usually have to take a running hiatus because I’m just so tired of running, running and running some more.
    * You really have to pay much more attention to fueling and fluid intake while training. It does make a huge difference.

    Boiled down, am I glad I did it? Sure. Am I a marathoner at heart?…meh, not really. I just don’t like the distance. It really put a lot of pressure on my family and wear and tear on my body. I don’t like waking up hurting every morning. Also I love to run and marathon training made me not love it. I don’t like that. Do I consider myself more of a “runner” because I’ve done a marathon? Nope. I was just as proud of myself with all of my half accomplishments. In fact, a part of me feels like more of a runner with the half distance because I’m much faster at the half. I always feel like I’m just trudging along with the 20 milers.

    I love what Katherine said. Definitely you set YOUR own goals and what works for you and your life. You are a runner no matter the distance, no matter the time. If you decide to do a full then AWESOME! Go get ’em girl! If you decide not to do a full then AWESOME! Go get ’em girl! You’re amazing either way! Be proud.

    • Jennifer, Thanks for taking the time and breaking it down like you did.
      You hit so many points straight on for me..Am I still considered a “runner” if I dont own up the 26.2? well yah!! WHEW!
      It is a HUGE time commitment for the Full training & when I mentioned it my husband he is like “no way, ill never see you and you will feel like yuk for hours afterwards”.
      Halfs are a commitment already for me to plan around them. I take extra vitamins, eat differently and dont go out as much. My husband definetly hears “No honey, we cant go out I have a training run in the morning”. I relish it but there is a balance to it all which make it that more difficult.
      For now I plan to continue at the pace I am going. I am proud that I am out there and enjoying the journey.

  5. I never thought I would say yes to the FULL. But put me in a room with my runner friends, and have Disney announce a new race and somehow I’m going for Dopey. I’m a much better runner and way more dedicated when I have not only a race scheduled, but a race challenge scheduled. I thought Dumbo would be the maximum I’d ever do, but Dopey worked its way into my calendar and I think I will be ready. I feel like I have the half, I may never run it sub 2 hours, but I can run it and have fun with it. I don’t complain and I love the training. Most of all, I love being on the course with a lot of others and giving encouragement, and getting it right back. So, why the full? Why not? I didn’t start running until I turned 40, and so, 3 years and numerous halfs later, I guess I am up for a new challenge. Will I ever run another? Who knows. Will it hurt – sure, but what doesn’t these days? Having recovered from not 1 but 2 major surgeries over the last 3 years, it was running that got me up and movign again. I too have kids, 3 in fact. A month after my first half, the older two started running, and have been running ever since. My 11 year old is now running 10ks. His brother and sister have been running 5ks. I see that, as a part of my training plan, if I plan it right (one after another), I could have them train with me and cover almost a half marathon PLUS get alone time with each one of them. Yes, it’s crazy, stupid, and I can’t really even say “I am running a marathon” out loud yet. Mostly I say “I am going Dopey” and somehow my brain processes the words, the facts, and the miles differently. I say do it once. Of course, that’s what I said when I ran my first half too.

    • 48.6 miles in 4 days for the Dopey Challenge all I can say is WOW!!! I know a lot of people that have signed up,I sincerely hope you and all the rest train safely. My daughter has started running too as you may have saw in some of my earliar posts. I hope she and I can do a Half in Disney together one day. I just ran Princess and LOVED it! Dying to go back!!
      Congrats on your recovery with running it sounds like it will take you far!! :~)

      • I saw you at Princess, actually at the 5k, and I sent you a picture of yourself in the corral. Its things like this, and that, that make me love being a part of the runner world (note I still don’t think of myself as a runner yet – not sure I ever will). I spent the morning with the next 9 months of calendars, several marathon training plans, my own race plans and built my training program. It will still be a few days of reflection, and tweaks, but by Monday I am certain I will be in training. Once it hits my Official Calendar, well, that’s it. If it’s on the calendar, it must be done. Recovering from back surgery still less than a year ago, I returned to running using Jeff Galloway’s method. So far, it has been great for both motivation and low pain. It makes the Dopey seem doable.

  6. I love this post and the pictures allowed me understand exactly how you feel. If you are happy, there is no reason anyone shouldn’t be happy for you. Continue to claim your journey! If you want to run 20 half marathons and still consider yourself to be a newbie, then so be it! We can tackle Rouge-Orleans together! Let’s #makeithappen! #BeYourOwnSuperhero

    • Thanks so much. BTW: I always love geting your inspirational tweets along the way #runStrong #BEastStrong.
      You make a great #ClaimYourJourney Ambassador.
      Hope to meet you one day! Good luck on your trail run this weekend as well as #Hogeye #Killit!

  7. Love the pouty face picture!!

    I think of myself as a newbie. I have less than 3 years of running behind me. I also started late, at age 63. I’ve run only 2 Half’s and 4 5K’s. I didn’t go sub-2 hours on the half’s (PR 2:13:33).

    When I ran my 1st half I thought “Well, that’s done, I don’t need to do another”. But I did. The half is a great distance and will continue to be my favorite. But then I was blinded by the bling and jumped at the chance to run Dopey. Hey, we need a challenge, right!? And, like you, I aim merely to finish (=survive) and enjoy (=be still standing).

    Whatever races you choose, more power to you! Hip flexors can be strengthened and IT issues can be overcome. I’m guessing there will be more than 1 marathon in your future.

  8. Pingback: Last hurdle before the home stretch #roadto26.2 | It will get better…I will become stronger...A journey to a healthier ME!

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