I intend to run a half marathon later this year, on the 31st August.
A half marathon is actually that – half the distance of a marathon or 21.0975 kilometres (13.1094 miles).
In my little corner of the world, when some people say marathon they refer to a road race of any distance including a 5K. So I have to make it clear exactly what I speak of when I say half marathon.
This will be my first attempt at long distance running. I have never participated in a race longer than 5K.
The plan then, for the past few weeks, has been to get my mileage up. I have taken to gradually running longer times (from 1 hour, I am now up to two hours).
The gradual increase in time has made it easier for my body to adjust. I feel strong. I am eating better. But the really fascinating effect has been the boost in my metabolic rate.
I feel the firing up of my cellular processes when I fall asleep. When I awaken, my body is ready to surge into action.
To complement the physical training, I have been diligent with supplements. This is another big step for me. I do believe in the need for supplementing my diet but I have never consistently taken said supplements.
This time however, I do not want to hit the proverbial wall and not be able to reach the finish line. My body will be under tremendous stress, especially considering that I have not run a race for the past three years and in the light of all the challenges I have had to face since 2013.
So to be proactive I have been taking my supplements following a quotidian regimen. My main daily supplement consists of three caplets – vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. I also take one for the hair, skin and nails (because of the poor diet over the last two years, I have been dealing with more problems with the skin and hair).
Additionally to compensate for the creaky knees, I take glucosamine. A vitamin B complex is added because over the years I tend to be deficient in it. Calcium and magnesium with added D is also taken, along with antioxidants, CoQ10 on occasion and Vitamin C to ensure the immune system is ready to battle any potential colds.
Why do I want to put myself through this grueling event? I want to challenge myself. I want to prove to myself that I have the capacity to persevere, to complete the distance and to prepare myself for the next step, a marathon.
Running provides an outlet for me. It gives me the time and space I need to ruminate on my thoughts. It allows me the chance to focus on the present.
When I run, I have to have my wits about me. I run on the road. Granted it is not a busy road but I still have to be alert; alert to oncoming traffic, other runners or walkers, the odd chasing, barking, biting dog as well as alert for possible attackers.
Running provides the opportunity to build camaraderie with others who are concerned about exercise: joggers, walkers, cyclists, neighbours who look on but do not join for their own reasons and even passers by.
The euphoria after completing a jog is beyond description. You have to experience it to truly appreciate it.
Imagine running in the heat of a tropical afternoon or evening, with the perspiration rolling down your face, your back , your stomach, legs…
Then imagine a light drizzle of rain, slowly coming down, drop by drop, eventually getting more intense, washing off the saltiness from your sweat, cooling down your rising temperature.
Nothing is more rejuvenating for me, it is almost cathartic. I feel cleansed from the outside in. The outer sweat and dust from the roadway is partially washed off while the inner toxins ooze out mixed with perspiration.
Then there is the non-literal cleansing; the purging of the psyche as I practice mindfulness and escape from the traps of the past and the lure of the future.
Why run a half marathon? Well why would I not? The human mind is likened to a ball of putty or Plasticine. It may have been formed into one mold before but by different methods, its pathways of thinking and acting may be remolded.
One of those methods is to try new experiences. I am doing just that by undertaking to run my first half marathon.
Why don’t you share your marathon experiences, literal or figurative, with us? How does it make you feel? Why do you do it?