2006 Valley of the Sun Half Marathon–the one that started it all

Date: March 26, 2006

Time: 2:36:20

About five years ago, I read a magazine article about a training program that would prepare someone to be able to walk a half marathon. I was intrigued.

I already enjoyed going on walks to clear my head from the normal stresses of life. I also liked how I felt when I walked consistently. Walking made me feel healthier. Often, my walks would include my kids–either walking along with me or leading the way on bikes or scooters. Often, my walks would include just me and my husband. In fact, some of my favorite memories I have of spending time with him include long walks and uninterrupted conversation.

Unfortunately, there was very little consistency in my walking regimen. Meaning, I had no regimen at all. I walked only when I felt like doing so and too often that meant that I was walking only once or twice a week.

The timing of the magazine article was good. It was just prior to January 1–and I was considering my new years’ resolution options.  I decided that following the recommended training plan would be just the thing I needed to force myself to walk consistently. Besides, I liked the idea of being able to say that I completed a half marathon. That sounded so impressive to me.

I looked on the internet for upcoming half marathons and chose to register for one near my parents’ home in Arizona–the Valley of the Sun Half Marathon. I thought that would be a great excuse to visit them. Once I was registered, I was committed. And, once I was committed, I posted my training plan in my kitchen where I would see it every day.

I learned a valuable thing about myself just then–I am motivated to work out if I plan to complete a race. I also learned how great it felt to be able to cross off each day’s training assignment. You see, I am a list maker and I often put far more things on my daily “to do” list than I can possibly get done. Training walks were different. I made sure to make those a priority and get those crossed off each day’s list.

I remember several things from that very first race:

1. I was introduced to various things associated with races that, previously I had never thought about such as race packet pickup and getting to the bus that will take you to the starting line.

2. I learned about the value of layering my clothing and that sometimes people wear ratty clothes at the beginning so they can just toss them off to the side of the road when they warm up. (Who would have thought?)

3. I learned that a crowd of people running alongside me is a huge motivator to encourage me to also run.

4. I learned that it’s a bad idea to jump into a hot tub immediately following a race. Don’t do it! You will pay the price the next day with very sore muscles. Ice, ice baby. That’s much better for recovery.

I had no intention of running any part of that very first race, but I ended up doing so. I was so caught up with the adrenaline and excitement that I walked/jogged that very first race and couldn’t wait to do another one.

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