Not many people know this about me, but I have technically finished a half marathon before.
This was four or five years ago. A good friend of mine, who has a suspicious talent for convincing people to do things they ordinarily wouldn’t do, asked me to sign up with her. Her sister—an actual runner—was coming into town for the San Francisco Marathon, and my friend was signing up in solidarity.
“But,” she promised, “We’ll just walk the first mile or so, then we’ll duck out for brunch.”
This was exactly my kind of half marathon. I registered, and instead of training for the race or even opening the information emails, I spent the weeks leading up to the race carefully inspecting Google maps and Yelp for brunch places along the route. I wanted to have options, because getting a brunch table in SF can be a total shitshow. Especially on big event weekends.
Race day rolled around and I dutifully found my friend at the start line after almost not getting my bib. Because no, I hadn’t gone to packet pickup; I had to track down some frazzled event organizer just moments before the event started.
We started running along the Embarcadero and through the gray fog and among the thousands of people who had turned out for the event. Those first few miles were exhilarating. I loved the energy, the feeling of being part of something, the flatness of that part of the course, and, of course, imagining just how many pastries I’d be able to eat thanks to a supercharged appetite.
“Shall we duck out now?” I remember asking as we ran through the Marina. Plenty of good brunch options there!
“Let’s just go a little farther,” my friend said.
We repeated that conversation several more times before it hit home that we weren’t really ducking out for brunch.
I’d been had.
We kept going. Up and over the Golden Gate, and back again. Through the Presidio. By the ocean. At some point, my pace devolved into a limping walk. All my training had taken place in front of a computer and in search of pancakes, and it showed.
I won’t go into too many details about the meltdown that was the last half of that race. Let’s just say, we made it across the finish line long after the last of the promised Irish coffees had been doled out. Womp.
I learned a few key things that foggy morning in San Francisco, and they had plenty of time to soak into my soul while we waited, shivering, in the long line for the bus back to our cars. (Clearly, this story is pre-Lyft).
- Don’t fall for the brunch bait
- Don’t start a race you have neither intention nor ability to finish
I’m sharing this story because once again I’ve been strong armed into signing up for a half marathon. This time, it wasn’t bacon; it was beer that got me to enter my credit card information.
A (different) friend has convinced me to sign up for the Shiner half marathon in, you guessed it, Shiner, Texas. I hear there is abundant beer at the finish line. And to make sure I make it there before they run out, I’ve also signed up for a training program with Rogue Runners (who the fuck am I, right now?).
All that said, here’s why I’m really doing it: not for the bacon, not for the booze: for my baby. Err, one of my babies. The not-human one. The business baby.
That sounds weird.
You see, ever since we started Fit Approach, I’ve been an enthusiastic crew member, cheerleader, and sympathetic beer drinker at races and other run-focused events.
I’ve been to enough of them—and have enough spent time with runners—that, in critical moments, I can reasonably pretend to be a person who runs.
Like, in business meetings, while working expo booths, etc.
I’m kind of tired of pretending. And also, we’re hosting our first-ever race & yoga weekend this summer, and I want to be a part of it. I felt such amazing energy surrounded by complete strangers in those first few miles of my doomed half, I can’t imagine the high that would come from spending time with my community, for a race I was actually prepared for.
So, yes, I’m training for a half marathon in November. But the real reason I’m hitting the pavement is because come August, I plan to walk the walk. (Run the run?). Maybe not a half – we’ll see how the training goes – but definitely for the 10k. It’ll be the farthest I’ve ever run.