If you legit don't want to run then this isn't a post for you and I'm wondering why you're even reading my blog unless you're stalking me or you just like reading about my life. I should also mention if you are offended easily, this post isn't for you, but neither is the rest of my blog.
Do you deep down wish you had the freedom to just go running? Think about it for a minute. Do you wish you could have the self-satisfaction of saying "yeah, I ran a half marathon." ?? Have you always kind of wanted to go run but you just never did?
Do you wish you had an emotional outlet other than crying in the confines of your bedroom reading novels like Still Alice or Olive Kitteridge?
Do you wish you were cooler? Because running makes you cooler.
Have I convinced you? Or is there a list of "reasons" you don't go running? Wait, let me guess.
You don't have time.
You don't know how.
Running is boring.
It's not your thing.
More reasons here.
Blah blah blah.
These aren't reasons, they are excuses. Reasons would be something like "I have no feet." That would be a perfectly valid reason to not go running.
I am 100% sure that everyone reading this right now can finish a half marathon. Even if you don't have feet, people finish half marathons in wheelchairs every weekend of the year.
The first step is just getting off your ass.
Running is way more than exercise, it's a sport. It's meditational and therapeutic. It can be adventurous. It can be social.
The worst argument is that you "don't have time." You don't have time NOT to run. Sitting on your ass reading this right now is taking time off the end of your life, arguably when you're already going to be senial, but didn't you read somewhere that active people maintain their mental capacity longer than inactive people? No? I don't know but that could totally be a thing.
Going for a run is like making time for yourself. You only have one body. You only have one mind. And in the end, the only person looking out for you, is you. The best part about half marathon training is it doesn't really take that much time, especially if you're already exercising, which you should be. If you're already exercising thirty minutes a day 6 days a week, then you only have to add about another hour of training per week, and you're there.
And there's no arguing that you physically can't run. Running is a very natural thing for the body to do. We start running when we're kids, before we are forced to do it we're just doing it for fun. Unless you grew up completely inside, and even then I would have a hard time imagining you didn't run indoors. You at least ran around to play with your friends or parents or super cool aunt and uncle that lived in California but came to visit you once a year.
But running is boring.
??!?!! Geez, just no. If you get bored running then maybe stop running on the treadmill and get outside. Are you still running on a treadmill? Treadmills are a life suck. Think about it. You're running and running and you're NOT MOVING. Of course you're bored. You've tricked your mind and it's fighting back. Get outside, go to the park, download an audiobook. Heck, a free trial of Audible might last you through an entire half marathon training cycle if you do it right. Not to mention the 1000's of free podcasts ranging in topics from Irish history to vegan body building. Podcasts have got to be the number two boredom-buster for runners, right after just actually enjoying running. Pro tip: download podcasts in the comfort of your wi-fi enabled house to avoid data overages.
But what if I'm bad at running? Who. Freaking. Cares. You are probably worse at a lot of things that you still do than you are/would be at running. Most people are bad at dental hygiene but they still make an effort. Tons of people totally suck at their jobs (I'm looking at you United Airlines customer service agents) but they still show up.
So I've debunked the myth that you can't run or shouldn't run and also given you reasons to think about why you might like to start running.
But I'm not in the business of convincing you a half marathon is the answer to your life's problems. It might be, though. What if it is? I was down on life before I took up running, but being able to accomplish things throughout training and racing and pushing myself, even if I never told anyone about it, which I often didn't, just plain made me feel better.
But why should I actually do the half marathon?
There is nothing "lame" or "easy" about running a half marathon. If it was lame or easy, I wouldn't do it, so that's total proof. It's not an accomplishment you can just brush off, like being the first person in your family to get their GED. Sure, there are plenty of people who enter half marathons just to do it and don't train past being able run a 10k and then walk the second half of the race after starting out at an 8:30 pace. These people check it off their bucket list and move on. But running a half marathon isn't a bucket list accomplishment. Running a half marathon is a gateway to health and fitness and happiness and longevity.
You're not going to be one of those people who start out too fast and then are miserable the whole time. You're going to train. The BIGGER accomplishment than the race is inarguably the training. Training takes discipline. Simply finishing a half marathon takes $80 and a Saturday morning. Sure, running 13 miles is an achievement on its own, but actually finishing the half marathon is only the tail end of it. The real achievement, folks, is the months of training that took you from where you were to where you are. You had to be disciplined. You had to sometimes overcome pain. You had to push yourself. You had to literally take your body from a place where it couldn't even think about running that far to a place where you could and did.
The training is the self-discovery. The discovery that you can keep going long after you want to quit and long after you thought you would have quit. This is why I run - because I love knowing that I can push through all kinds of physical pain, mental fatigue and emotional defeat. When you truly push yourself, running can actually hurt. I'm not even talking about an injury, (those should be avoided by following a training plan that's right for your fitness level), I'm talking about being sore after hard workouts, being sore during hard workouts, and still being sore from your last workout and about to start another.
I'm totally the type of person who doesn't want to do what everyone else is doing. I hate trendy. I hate gimmicks. I would definitely be the person who read this and thought, I don't want this person telling me what I should do or what's good for me.
I just can't stop feeling like everyone should know how great this thing is I've found. Not telling everyone about how great running is would be like having the best sandwich of your life and not texting your sister about it. Or adopting an insanely cute puppy and not posting pics on Facebook. I mean, that's basically inconceivable.
Running isn't an annoying meme, or leggings as pants (guilty), or Uggs, or kale. It's not something you can just resist until people stop wearing it or using it or eating. Running is way too awesome to be trendy... and so are you.
So, just for you (but mainly for me) I rounded up the more interesting of the Lincoln Marathon race recaps I found. Thanks to all the bloggers (or former bloggers, because who knows where you are these days) who took the time to write these recaps.
I had originally intended just to post links. But wouldn't it be more special if I added my own commentary?! You DON'T want to miss it.
Name that movie, you get a free t-shirt.
1) Rural Running Redhead Lincoln Marathon 2015 Recap
This one is well-written and interesting. More importantly, I learned stuff about the race I didn't already know. Like, that the marathon and half are split all the way til the end, that there are showers after the race, that there are thousands of porta-potties (my personal nemesis) and that she thinks it's a possible PR course. Great info. I'm sorry she didn't do as well as she would have liked. That's definitely a bummer. I also liked this recap because she's way faster than me, and I like to be amazed. While I am tempted to say something like "3:27 is great!" it is just so relative, and it's annoying to hear that when you don't think it's great. Still, nice work.
2) Race Recap: The Lincoln Marathon | A Hot Time In The Old Town! (Marathon Training Academy - 2015)
This one is great, as well. Lots of new info here, including about parking and the history of the race. However, she has a conflicting view point of the number of porta-potties than Rural Running Redhead, so now I'm torn. A little too much non-experience related info (think research paper). I prefer a story, but I guess it's nice to have all that in one place. By both accounts, it sounds like Lincoln last year was a bit like LA in 2014 - hot. She finished about where I probably would have finished so that gives her experience some relatability. Thanks, Angie!
3) Respect the Run - Race Report: Lincoln National Guard Marathon (2014)
This guy is the real deal. I like this recap because it's descriptive of the race course but moreso it's like a play by play of this guy's and his teammates' race and him actually competing for a top spot. Then he subtly drops on you at the end that.... oh I can't tell you. I'll just let you read it.
4) Lincoln National Guard Marathon Race Recap (2015)
This is a great recap but less because of what it says about the actual race and more because it was written by the 2015 female winner, Danna Herrick.
5) My Fit Focused Life - Lincoln Marathon – Last Minute Change of Plans (2014)
Describes the contrast between the first and second half of the full marathon. Well-written.
6) Centsible Runner: Lincoln Marathon Recap (2013)
This is a short and sweet. Not very descriptive of the race, but a couple who ran together and both did extremely well. It loses points for being from 2013.
7) Boston Bound Dad: Lincoln Marathon 2014 Recap
This is an okay recap, but it's more interesting that it was his first marathon, and then to read through some of the more recent stuff and see all he has done since then.
There you have it folks: my official Lincoln Marathon Recap Round-up. Now you can indulge in hours of race recaps without even having to go look for them!
Just 12 more weeks to go before my second marathon. My comeback marathon. The marathon that makes me a marathoner. Instead of just a person who ran a marathon once.
I'm looking forward to that last part the most.
Week twelve saw some major accomplishments. And everyone likes writing out their accomplishments.
1) Longest long run since 2/8/2015: 16.00 miles
Coincidentally (if you believe in coincidence, which I don't) this was close to exactly a year ago. This was the last long run before I decided my foot should no longer continue to support my weight, much less my running habit. My run on Saturday was hard, (I wrote about it here) but not impossible. I was exhausted. And it's scary to think a marathon is ten miles further than that. But it was still an awesome confidence booster.
2) 28.1 miles for the week. Highest mileage week since this same week in February last year as well, which was 46 miles...
At one point in my life I would have considered 28.1 miles mediocre and possibly laughable weekly mileage for marathon training. I was pushing 50 miles a week and thought that was the bad-ass point: 50 miles. But 28 miles in only three runs per week is pretty great and I'm happy with it.
Here's what went down:
Monday - awesome indoor ride - 45 minutes
Tuesday - 6 really easy miles
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 6 easy but faster miles
Friday - 30 minutes bike, easy
Saturday - 16 miles - really hard but overall good
Sunday - rest
If my foot hadn't been hurting I think I would have made the time for a ride today, or even a run since it was so nice out. But I think rest was a good thing for me this week. Even a hard bike ride is enough to aggravate my tendinitis. I feel good about the week, I'm proud of my long run.
I either have to be better about sticking to my plan, or stop feeling guilty for not sticking to my plan. I really do intend to do the workouts, I just can't get myself to push beyond what's comfortable right now. I don't know how to interpret that. Is it fear of injury, is it borderline burn-out, or is it laziness? I'm not motivated to hit more running miles - because of my injury I'm being really conservative. Previously, it felt so good hitting a lot of miles (more than necessary, usually). Now, I'm just not doing it. I'm happy to hit the ones I have planned, and I have been. But I need to be doing the non-running workouts with more intention.
In the next twelve weeks I want to stay focused on hitting all my runs, which I've been doing already. I actually don't think I've missed a run besides being out of town. I also want to make sure I'm getting in 2-3 rides per week, even if they're easy. The third thing I want to add in is more strength training - mainly glutes and core. I'm doing a good job with calf raises - I do them pretty much any time, any where. But the stuff you can't just do waiting in line at the grocery store has to get done, too.
Saturday my alarm went off at 6:02 AM. Oh wait, no it didn't, I had it set for weekdays only. Pfft.. luckily, I woke up on my own at 6:18 with plenty of time to get to the trails for an early run.
I had all my stuff ready the night before, so I packed up and headed out.
I arrived at the trail around 7:20, about 5 minutes later than I had wanted to. I parked outside the park gate, took my key fob off my keys to take along with me, and finished putting my stuff together. I went to get out of the car and... my key fob was gone. I looked around for it, couldn't find it. I dumped out my purse, looked under every seat multiple times, and inside the glove box. I patted myself down head to toe. Nowhere. This continued for 20 minutes. I was convinced I was either losing my mind or that the black hole my mom always told me "lost" things disappeared to was actually real. I got in the backseat for a second time to check under the front seats from all angles. I used the flashlight on my phone. I couldn't get all the way under there so I took my hat off. Clank, clank on the pavement went my key fob, OUT OF MY HAT. What. The. Hell.
This is a true story. It's why I started my run in a crap mood and didn't get in as many miles as I wanted. It why I froze for the first hour of my run, because my adrenaline originally had me really warm so I left my arm warmers in the car. But all was not lost. Here's how it went.
Good morning, hills.
The trail head for this adventure is in a different town depending on who you ask (I said Bell Canyon because that's the closest label on the map to the trail head, Garmin named my run as if it took place in West Hills, and Google Maps says the coordinates for the trail head are in Calabasas). Either way, all you have to do is take Victory Blvd. west as far as it goes. It's only maybe a mile west of Valley Circle.
This is a really popular trail head for a few reasons I'm going to guess right now. It's not far from where people live. The trails are well maintained. The hills aren't very steep. But most of all - it's freakin' gorgeous. I had been to the trail head before when I volunteered for the Ahmanson 12k. At the time, my foot was in a lot of pain...but I thought I was still going to run the LA Marathon which was the next weekend.... (HA) so I didn't do any running.
It was 50º at the trail head at 7:45 but it felt more like 60 to me since I was in a panic only moments earlier. I had on just a t-shirt and running shorts, but with calf compression sleeves. I also had with me my UltrAspire vest packed with water, a clif bar, a clif shot block in black cherry (mmm), and my phone. I had no idea where I was going and had only briefly played with gmap-pedometer the day before and not really prepped by saving any directions, but I had my phone for a map and I started off down what could be assumed to be the "main trail," E Las Virgenes Canyon Trail.
East Las Virgenes Canyon Trail
The scene was beautiful and slightly eerie. It was freezing when I got into the Open Space. There was a lot of fog over everything but it was all so green. The hills south of the Valley don't get nearly this green, even after all the rain we have had. There was..... grass.
I chugged along down the path and loved the gentle hills. My legs were absolutely exhausted from the very beginning for no reason I could think of, and I was happy to not be doing an insane amount of climbing.
Less than a mile-and-a-half in, three trails converge: E Las Virgenes Canyon Trail, Laskey Mesa Trail, and a cut through to Ahmanson Ranch Trail and Mary Weisbrock Loop. I stayed on E Las Virgenes, which hits its southern-most point at around 2.5 miles from the trail head before cutting north and connecting with/becoming Upper Las Virgenes. Upper Las Virgenes starts at the (north) end of Las Virgenes Rd in Calabasas. On Strava, "Upper Las Virgenes" continues to Albertson Motorway in Simi Valley, but per Google/Garmin, it splits off into "Bell Canyon Fire Rd" at about mile 3.5 heading towards Simi. It was a little washed out and narrow in places to be much of a fire road, but who knows.
Bell Canyon Fire Road
A natural gas pipeline as well as a petroleum pipeline run through this area, so the dozens of signs alerting potential excavators kills the scenery only briefly.
I followed the fire road and started climbing. I'm currently in the middle of marathon training, and though my marathon will have some rolling hills, this was definitely not part of the "16-mile long run" I was supposed to be doing. This was all for fun.
I like hiking. I like hiking fast. Saturday was not my day for hiking. I was just totally exhausted and I'm not really sure why. I kept hiking anyway because my mind is well-trained to not tell my body that I should quit. It was just as good a mental exercise as a physical one. In addition to Lincoln, I have the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon #2 coming up in about 4 weeks. My trail race strategy is to excel at hiking and running downhill. I can't run the flats as a fast enough pace to be competitive, but I can run downhill fairly well and I can pass people on the hikes as well.
I hiked until I thought I was at the top. I was rewarded with a spectacular view.
Obviously, I am joking. But at only 1690' what do you expect? I paused for a few minutes to eat my shot blocks because they had caffeine and I needed it and to rest my legs. I was only 6 miles and an hour and ten minutes into my run and I just felt so beat.
I turned around to run down and my energy picked up. It was a fun downhill run. I love running downhill! It's my favorite! I got back down to 1000' and the sun came out which was lovely for a bit, but it wasn't long before it disappeared again.
There hadn't been a soul in sight for my descent down Bell Canyon, and I had only passed a couple of stopped mountain-bikers on my way up. But as I got back towards the main loop, fellow runners and people doing other weird stuff emerged. I came across a couple doing yoga. Maybe you don't think this is weird, but they had separated themselves from each other by at least 50 yards and each onto a small hill in the trail. I found it very odd that they were doing like, serious yoga poses on the side of the trail and not together. I saw a runner turn onto a single track. At my mile 7.2 I made sharp right and headed northwest down the single track as well.
Sheep Corral Trail
The single track started out pretty flat, but it started climbing soon. I only took Sheep Corral Trail for about .8 miles before turning around. I wanted to see what it was all about but I had already gotten a late start so I needed to head back. I didn't see any sheep.
I continued back down Bell Canyon Fire Rd until I met back up with N Las Virgenes Canyon Trail and headed west twards the loop I had started on. I hooked up with E Las Virgenes at my mile 10.7 and 1030' and then E Las Virgenes began to climb back out of the open space towards the trail head. At where I had originally mentioned the three trails converge I came to a fork in the trail. I took the path on the right as to not go back the way I came. This cuts through to Mary Weisbrock Loop and Ahmanson Ranch House Trail. This quick loop peaks at 1390' and turns left to head back down to the trail head.
At some point I paused my Garmin to check to make sure I was still headed towards the trail head... it's not obvious. At least to me, I felt like I was going south, but I wasn't. Anyway, after my pause I forgot to start my Garmin again, so I lost half a mile which is one of the most annoying things ever.
The trail head was PACKED when I returned around 10:45. I had finished about 13.5 miles in around three hours, including the time I stopped to rest and hang out and take some photos.
I definitely love this spot. Here's a recap of why I love it.
Running in Australia
How to Volunteer at a Race
Running in NYC Part I
All my recaps
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