The Accidental Half Marathon


It sounds like the title of an Anne Tyler novel, but alas, it is not. Marathon training has really started and yesterday I was planning to run 12 miles. Ugh. I haven’t run that in the heat in a year. In any case, I have a series of loops around my house for which I generally know the mileage. Note that I said, “generally.” There is one loop that is 12 miles if you take it one way and 13 if you take it the other. Unfortunately, I forgot about the dual-loop nature of the run.

Everything started out just fine. Yesterday was a beautiful day. It wasn’t too hot or humid, the sun was rising, there was mist on the fields: a lovely, Maryland morning. I was trucking along at about 15-30 seconds slower than goal race-pace. Little Gamin was doing her job. I even went up my giant hill with no problem. There were only two near-death experiences on the roads with no shoulder, so I counted that as a win. When I turned through historic Downtown Sandy Spring (it’s super adorable and reminds me of Stars Hollow on Gilmore Girls), I noticed that there might be a problem. Garmin had clicked over to 9 miles and I thought, “There is no way that it’s only 3 miles to home.” Truth. When I reached the stable where I used to ride (former equestrienne here) and Garmin clicked 11 miles, I was very sad because I knew that I still had 2.5 miles to go.

What’s a girl to do? My fitness isn’t quite up to 13.5 miles at that pace, so I had a choice to make. Should I push it or should I stop at 12 and have a 1.5 mile cool down? One of my colleagues recently wore a shirt that said, “If I stopped running, how would I get home?” I took that to heart in my decision-making and made a compromise. I ran 13.1 miles and then walked the remaining .4 mile home. During the last .1, I thought that this was a bad decision, but it turned out to be a good choice. When I said that the morning wasn’t too humid, I meant for Maryland. In reality, I was so sweaty that my running shorts had morphed into compression shorts. You’re welcome for that mental image. The extra cool down allowed me to not be as sore and calm the sweat factory, which was excellent. In all, it was a happy ending to a potentially sad story!


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