July 02, 2015

Half Marathon Training: 1 Month to Race Day

In all my frenzy over Mackenzie's issues this year, I haven't gotten much of a chance to talk about one of my biggest running goals and challenges to date:

Running my first half marathon.

I am now more than halfway through my training program (I am using the Nike+ App Coach) and am about to head into my peak week. That means, my short runs are about 5 miles and my long runs are reaching the 11-13 mile range.

It is beast. It is hard. Sometimes, it even seems impossible.

My colleagues poked some fun at me when I told them that I share my runs and training via social media. I got the "Oh really Jo, you are that person? The person who shares their workouts?"

Yup. I am THAT person. I am keenly aware that there are people out there who are annoyed by this. I don't post it to show off (I don't even post my pace... which is still embarrassingly slow in my mind). There are a handful of people who always, ALWAYS hit the like button on my post. And when they hit the like button and I am out on my run? My Nike app sends a cheer to me. Getting a cheer at mile 9 when I feel like I want to die and crawl back home is about the BEST thing ever. So go ahead and be annoyed, but to those who are supporting me and cheering me on... THANK YOU.

There are many times when I admit that I might have bitten off more than I can chew. The training is rigorous and you cannot let up on it (unless you want to be injured, unable to walk for a week or in extreme measures DIE after the actual race). At this point, I am tired. I am sore. Most nights it takes every ounce of motivation to get me out the door and run for an hour or more. And my long runs? I honestly dread them and the mental anguish I have to put myself through to do them.

Yet despite the naysayer in my head, I am determined to do this.

Thankfully, I am not doing this alone. Two others from my running group are also running the half marathon with me - and for us of us this is our first. Words cannot express how grateful I am for their support and for keeping me going. I honestly don't think I would do it if I had to do it alone.

Kathy - My Sole Sister

Then there is the question of WHY.

This, my friends, is a very good question.

The answer is two-fold:
1) For me. I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone but myself. I want to know that I can set a goal and keep it. For months, I have been starting and quitting Beachbody and DailyBurn programs, but I have not yet quit running. It is my time. Time out of the house. Time to exercise. Sweat. Work out daily frustration. Enjoy the beautiful Minnesota summer. I want to prove to myself that at nearly 40 years old, my body is capable of doing amazing things.

2) For charity. The half marathon I am running is the Minnesota Half Marathon - RBC Race for the Kids. I have run a lot of races in my short running career, and all my high cost fees usually go to charity, but this is one that I truly take to heart. The charity is Ronald McDonald House. Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest provides a home-away-from-home for families with children facing critical medical crisis.  They are founded on the belief that a child and family heal best when they are together. I am a mom. My daughter has special needs and my family could very well need these services someday. I want to know they are available not only to me, but other families who want to stay together when their kids are critically ill.

With that said, I am passionate about this cause and about running. So much so, that I am fundraising for the cause. Will you consider a donation? Even $5 will help me in reaching my fundraising goals. More importantly. Do it for the kids!!

http://rbc.kintera.org/raceforthekids/joannekoenig

Those of you who know me know that I never do this kind of thing, so I am hoping JUST THIS ONCE you will consider helping me in raising money for a really great cause.

I promise to start blogging on the regular too and keep you all posted on my journey to the Half as well as my sweet Mackenzie's progress.

Mackenzie - 18 months


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