For about a year, I’ve been talking about running a half-marathon. I thought about starting with a 5k or another shorter race since the last competitive running I did was in middle school, but a half felt like so much more of an accomplishment, and I prefer longer distances anyway.
After telling myself several times that I would begin training and then letting all my plans fall by the wayside when I got busy or hungover, I figured that once I actually shelled out for a registration fee I might feel more motivated, so I signed up for the BMO Vancouver Half-Marathon. On Sunday, after approximately three months and 200 miles of training, I ran 13.1 miles/21.1 kilometres in 2:08:12. Here’s what I learned:
It’s easier than you think…
I started training with the belief I could finish a half-marathon with no training. I obviously wanted to do better than just “finish,” but without race experience I had no estimate for how fast I could go. A few weeks ago I ran the full 13.1 miles in 2:24:38, so my goal was to at least beat that time, and to do so I knew I would have to average 11:01 per mile or less. Well, I ran the first mile (always the hardest for me) in 10:20, and I figured if I could stay around that pace I’d be in good shape… then I ran mile 2 in 8:24. I was flying (it helped that the first few miles of the course were downhill), and it felt amazing. I only ran four miles out of the rest of the 11 in more than 10 minutes, and averaged a full minute and 26 seconds per mile faster than my first attempt.
When I was young, living in the same house in the same town in the same state in the same country for the first 18 years of my life, I used to think that I could live there for my whole life. I thought visiting relatives a five hour drive away or— wow—relatives who lived so far I had to take a plane ride to reach them were unbelievably distant. Funny how things change. I always knew I would travel, but never how much.
After living in three countries outside my country of birth over the past five years, moving to a different state is a much more minor change. There were no visas involved, for one. But moving from the East coast to the West is practically a different country both in distance and culture, and the difference this time is I didn’t have school or a plan waiting for me. I figured it out, as I usually do.
There have been a lot of unexpected challenges: the aforementioned lack of plan (i.e. job) being a main one, navigating a long distance relationship being another (while the relationship is the best thing in my life, the long distance I could do without), but those same challenges seem to bring the most rewards.
I don’t want to turn this into a cheesy naval-gazing reflective post so I’m going to stop there, but since I’ve wanted to live in Seattle since I first visited here over a decade ago (on an orchestra trip in high school, also the reason I first got a passport for the part of the trip that was to Vancouver, a city I now visit at least once a month), I think that the fact I’ve been living here for six months this week is worth mentioning.