how to train for a half marathon when you have no idea what you're doing

let me preface this by saying I'm not a runner. I'm not a runner in that I don't run consistently. 

sure, I enjoy running when I feel like it. I enjoy running in that I can run up to 6 miles without stopping and be relatively ok. 

but I'm not a runner in that I don't run consistently. at all. it makes my knees hurt and to be perfectly honest, I get kinda bored. 

freshman year me was a runner. freshman year me would do 3 mile interval sets on the treadmill for fun before 2 hour swim practices and go on casual 6 mile runs to Jamaica Pond and around it (and subsequently get lost in Brookline in the process). 

now, my favorite runs are 4 milers along the Charles, but I'm unbelievably sore after. 

but last Wednesday, after I skipped my 6 AM boxing class to go on a 6:30 AM 4 mile jog, I was randomly inspired. I mean, it was a really good run, but that wasn't it at all. I'd been wanting to do a half marathon for awhile, but always had some excuse or another not to. mostly also because I thought 13 miles was a little excessive since I couldn't imagine doing 6 miles, doubling that, and adding 1.1 miles on top of that.

plus don't you get bored???

either way, I began looking up half marathons in California that I could do over summer break. and honestly, it was so much fun.

so during my BioPsych class (sorry professor), after talking with my high school friend who had asked if I wanted to run a half with her 2 summers ago, I signed up for the Clif Bar Mountains 2 Beach half marathon on May 29th in Ventura, CA. 

that gives me nine and a half weeks to train, which is kinda short for a first timer, but if there's anything I have belief in, it's in my body to race (hello, 9 years of competitive swimming). my goal is literally to finish it and say I've done a half. 

I believe I can, I know I can, and I know I will. 

plus I paid almost $100 and so there's not really any backing out now. 

I went on and printed out their nine week training schedule and began to get super excited. I'll be doing a modified version of their schedule:

happy hump day (3/23)

charles river esplanade ducks

this was the oh-so-inpsirational 4 mile run along the Charles that got this whole thing started. so yes, it was good. starting off strong?

off days are for punching bags (3/24)

2015-06-18 10.05.13-1.jpg

Thursday I did half an hour of personal training at TITLE Boxing North Station, where we worked on weights, focusing on arms. and since I was going to Canada for the weekend, I mustered up the energy to go to the 4 PM boxing class. 

go me, I didn't die.

up before the sun (3/25)

Friday morning I woke up at 5:15 AM to do a short 3 mile run. good, I was already thinking of 3 miles as short. 

it'd been awhile since I ran before the sun rose. actually, I think it was the first time I ran before sunrise.

halfway through the run, I realized why. apart from the fact that it's disgustingly early, it's also really easy to accidentally get hit by a car (not that people really get hit by cars on purpose). 

this was by no means fast, but I consoled myself with the fact that it was earlier than 5:30 AM and most people were already sleeping. maybe it's an excuse, but it's true.

(post-run breakfast on the way to the airport: protein smoothie I made last night — recipe in my recipe section!)

finding X-men (3/26)

I've always been scared of running in new cities. mostly because I have a terrible sense of direction & tend to get lost even when I live in a city. 

but hey, it's always good to break out of your comfort zone, right?

so I did some heavy Google Map-ing and found that Casa Loma, Toronto's "Camelot" and the X-mansion from X-Men (for all of you fellow X-Men lovers out there), was exactly 1 mile away, making for a perfect 2 mile round trip run. 

this run was probably supposed to be a sprint, but let me assure you it was more of a fast run. well, I started off by running in the wrong direction, but good thing I realized that before too long. thankfully, Casa Loma is a pretty big Toronto attraction and so there were signs everywhere pointing out where it was. 

I found it all right, and climbed the Baldwin Steps (which is apparently in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) to find a stunning view of Toronto on one side and a gorgeous old house on the other.

needless to say, this beat the 5:15 AM 3-miler from the day before.

(if you're curious, the continental breakfast consisted of 0 fresh fruit & anything other than pastries, but thankfully Whole Foods was literally right next door to our hotel. it was one of the most magical Whole Foods I'd ever been in. I had a post-run breakfast of a banana, salted mixed nuts, Greek yogurt & organic trail mix of raisins and nuts).

niagara falling over (3/27)

niagara falls toronto

tbh, after visiting Niagara Falls yesterday at 3 pm aka peak tourist time, I really hated it. but I figured that at 8 AM in the morning, most people would be sleeping aka not crowding the falls.

and I was perfectly right. the falls were empty, except for a few overly enthusiastic tourists and a couple of fellow runners. I ran through the deserted haunted house / tourist trap street, through the Niagara Falls park, and along the falls. the early morning light reflected off the impossibly blue water, and as I passed the point where the falls truly dropped, it was one of the most beautiful sights I'd seen in a long time. with the mist showering on me, the sun high in the sky, and the crispness of the air, I felt like I was running in paradise.

I stopped to take pics. a lot of them. it was also my first time doing anything over 4 miles since September (go figure), so I went slower than usual. around mile 2, my knee started hurting. I ignored it. after mile 4, I thought it wasn't too bad.

but I was more than happy to finish, get in and out of the shower, and eat breakfast (2 hard-boiled eggs and an apple).

here's to week 1!