June 21, 2013

I googled "Training to Walk a Half Marathon"

The First Resolution I Ever Made That I Actually Stuck To
by. Carol Marcus
The first resolution that I made and actually stuck to unfortunately did not play out as perfectly as I had planned. On December 16, 2012, I set out to start training to walk the CCFA Team Challenge half-marathon in June 2013.
This decision came about immediately after we returned from the Las Vegas Team Challenge event where our son, Jake Marcus, and his friend Steve Ivanowski participated in the marathon. Ringing in my ears were Coach Jenny’s words… you HAVE to take part in the next marathon. Of course, this is what Jenny has been saying after every Team Challenge event! Somehow, her lovely persuasion settled in and I decided to go for it.
I must preface this journey with two facts: I am not at all athletic and I happen to be very lazy when it comes to exercise. That being said, there was something in my mind that grabbed onto the concept of seeing this through. I needed to do it to prove SOMETHING to myself but most importantly, I needed to do this for my husband Stephen, for the fabulous Timmy Wright, and for the amazing people we have met at Team Challenge New England and across the country at the Team Challenge events. We have heard their heartbreaking and then inspiring stories. Despite the fact that their diseases make it very difficult, nothing stops them from the training involved to do these marathons. What excuse could I possibly have… zilch!
I googled “Training to Walk a Half Marathon” and was surprised to find that you don’t start at Point A, being one mile and increase a little every day until you reach Point Z, being the full 13.1 miles. Rather, you walk a modest distance two times a week (three, four, five miles) and only increase to a more significant number of miles one time per week. Ideally, you cross train on the alternate days and rest a couple of days per week.
I began that first day in December at two miles with a 22 minute pace. I thought I was such a big shot! I increased my mileage fairly quickly but didn’t realize that I needed to seriously focus on pace. I’m proud to say that two months before the event in Virginia wine country I walked 9 miles, 9 miles, 10 miles and 10 miles on the one day per week of increased mileage. My pace hovered around a 15-16 minute mile.
I was especially encouraged by the fact that my old body was not suffering any repercussions whatsoever. I fell in love with walking. I started to incorporate a little running, but remained cautious. After all… didn’t I just say OLD body? The walking was never difficult but the weather conditions often made this a perilous journey! Icy sidewalks and snow banks are not the makings of a perfect training scenario. On January 2nd I noted on my calendar, “I will never walk immediately after an icy snowfall again. Sidewalks were HORRENDOUS!!! Slipped twice. Awful!!!” I also learned to time my walks so that I wouldn’t be walking home in the dark, which I did at least a couple of times. Winter daylight is awfully short. At one point, I went to MapQuest to see exactly what 13.1 miles looks like. It wasn’t pretty. Daunting is the word that now hovered in my brain. But I didn’t stop! Yay.
However something out of my control and beyond my determination did stop me. I had an emergency appendectomy on May 2nd, one month before the event in Virginia. I spiked a fever of 102.7 the night before and the next day the CAT scan showed a ruptured, abscessed, gangrenous appendix. The pain was unrelenting. Recovery was long and abysmal. I could barely sit up so I realized that walking the next scheduled goal (11 miles) was out of the question. My recovery time exceeded two weeks, which left me with no lead in training time for the half-marathon.
For all of those months I remained strong in my resolve to train for a half-marathon, so I feel that I did not fail. I loved every minute of walking, from listening to music and books on my Ipod, to thinking about other resolutions I would strive to keep, to sharing the walks with my friends as we discussed and figured out so many things in our lives and the lives of those we love.
Presently, I am beginning to feel much better and I will begin what I began on December 16, 2012. I will be training for a half marathon.


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