Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wife of an Ultra Runner - My First Half Marathon

Just 4 weeks ago my wife Tani completed her first half marathon at TNF's Endurance Challenge in DC. I am so proud of her but even more so, I am excited, because I know how incredible it feels to complete something you never expected. My words are not relevant, so here are Tani's.

E: You just completed your first half marathon. How do feel?
T:  Pretty good.

E: Let's go back a little. What made you decide to train for your first half marathon?
T:  I needed to set a goal to get focused and to get to the next level.  A half marathon before I turned 40 was challenging, but realistic at the same time.

E: What was your training like? Did you do speed work, hill work, cross training? What was your longest run?
T:  I ran 3 days a week, 2 days of yoga and 2 days of kickboxing/bootcamp.  I did one day of speed work, one day of hill repeats, and one long run each week.  My longest run was 11 miles 3 weeks before the race.

E: Was there ever a moment during your training where you asked yourself "What the hell am I doing?" Any self doubt?
T:  There was a moment at the very beginning.  I had never run more than 6.2 miles before training for the half.  13.1 miles seemed like so far away.

E: How did you get through that?
T:  I took it one week at a time adding 1 more mile to every long run.

E: Now after months of training, it's race day.  How were you feeling?
T:  Nervous and anxious but so excited to be running the race with my BFF, Diana.  We've known each other since I was 4 and have been through A LOT together.  It seemed fitting to be crossing this off the bucket list together.

E: Finally the moment is here and you are on the course. Can you take us through the race a little? How were your feeling? What was the atmosphere/course like? Did you struggle and what got you through it?
T:  I knew the course was muddy after seeing all the mud covered runners the day before and hearing about it from you.  This made me nervous, but I never thought it would make it as difficult as it was.  I never feel great when I first start running.  The first mile is always the hardest for me.  Once I got through it, I started to pick up my pace.  3 miles in I was feeling great, but I was frustrated because I couldn't go as fast as I wanted to go on the single-track section of the course.  Then came a big hill, and then a lot of mud.  I felt like I came to a complete stop.  I pushed hard on the sections I could run trying to make up for lost time.  My feet were soaking wet and covered with mud.  It felt like I was running with weights on my ankles.  I took it one step at a time and desperately tried not to fall in the mud.  I did end up going down twice and rolling my ankle at mile 8.  By then I knew I wasn't going to make it under my goal time, but I had to keep on going and just get across the finish line.

I definitely struggled and felt under prepared.  Almost all of my training was done on pavement.  I knew it was going to take me a little longer on the trails, but I wasn't expecting it to take as long as it did.  This was truly the hardest thing for me to deal with while I was out there.  It had been a very emotional week leading up to the race.  We lost our dear friend Anita just days before the race.  I never wear a necklace when I run, but that day, I decided to wear the Tiffany heart necklace that she gave me last year.  I had been wearing it every day since she passed and I wasn't ready to take it off.  She helped me get through a lot that day and of course, my family kept me going.  It made me smile to think about them at the finish line.  It was finally your turn to stand around and wait for ME while trying to keep Isla entertained at a race :)

E: As you came to the final mile and knew you were about to see your family and friends, what were you thinking?
T:  Honestly?  I couldn't wait to see the finish line and everyone waiting for me....but deep down, I remember hoping that you weren't as disappointed as I was with my time.

E: What was it like to cross the finish line with your daughter in your arms (not to mention the hug you received from your incredibly handsome husband)?
T:  It was so special!  I will never forget it and I hope Isla will remember it :)  That hug at the finish was something I had thought about throughout my training.  It meant more and felt better than I could ever imagine.

E: Congrats on an amazing accomplishment! If there is one thing to leave us with, your thoughts on completing something you never thought you could do?
T:  You really can accomplish anything you set your mind to do.  I know, it sounds cliche, but, I did it, one step at a time.
Tani, Diana and their girls at the finish!
P.S.
E: Tani says that she was worried about you being disappointed. Anything to say?
E: Uhhhh......Yeah. Tani rocked it because she showed up and gave it all she had. In my eyes, she came in first. I look forward to her next race so I can watch our kids and stand around and wait:)

Peace and Have A Great Day

4 comments:

  1. Eric, great interview. Tani had a great day and she deserves one hell of a hug. With her at your side at BW you will not fail, you will fly! PS...can you resend your email w/ the fundraiser information?

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  2. Wow! Congrats!!! What training schedule did you use if you don't mind sharing? I want to train for a first 1/2 marathon. Way to go!

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    1. Sindy, Sorry it took so long to reply, its been a crazy summer. I ran 3 days a week and cross trained the other 3 or 4. Two of my weekly runs were 3-5 miles with one of those per week speed or hills and one long run with my longest being 11 miles. Cross training included yoga, boot camp and kick boxing. Thanks for asking and let me know how your half goes. T

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