5 steps to running the Xela Half Marathon

Step one: start off slow. Independencia, the main street in and out of Xela, was packed with runners bobbing up and down. Everyone trying to warm up their legs. Knowing that any last minute help would probably speed them onto the finish line. Up at the front of the line were the Kenyans, invited so they could win the race, and who could win the race with their legs tied. Fast is in their blood. The Kenyans were already starting their fourth kelimoter when I crossed my first. I was told by a very wise man to let everyone pass you because it’s a long race. So, I started off slow.

Step two: find a running partner. A couple of my coworkers were runnig the race as well. Unfortunately for them they had not trained, so I kew they would not be good partners. They also started off very fast. The first leg of the race seemed flat, so almost everyone raced ahead. By the 7th kilometer I had caught and passed most of the people who’d raced ahead and I had a guy following my pace. I don’t think it’s possible to run 13 miles with out a partner. Your partner really helps push you on. Several of my patners fell behind, especialy on the bigger hills. But in some way or another I always had somoene running with me, helping me push on. My favorite partners were my students Danielle, Julio, and Melvin. Danielle and Julio were in the crowd and decided to run with me for a litte while and Melvin finished the race with me. When Danielle and Julio joined me, I was at a point where I wanted to slow down, but they reminded me that I am a PE teacher and so I must be faster. It was great.

Step three: remember your training. I spent over two months training for the race, not including last year’s training. I had a couple of hickups. My shoes were stolen and I was sick a time or two, but overall my training went smoothly. And so when I was running up the big hills, not fast mind you, I knew I had run up bigger hills. And step by step I drew closer to the finish line. My training gave me the confidence to run fast when I was going down hill and the knowledge to conserve my energy by runnnig slower on the up hills. The best part was knowing I had run most of the harder sections during my training, so I knew I could do it. There’s nothing like facing a challenge and knowing you have the skills to beat it. I don’t think I could have finished without having trained for the race.

Step four: finish strong. Well, I tried this and it kind of backfired. I sprinted the last kilometer. I’m sure I looked good and strong while I was running, but I threw up afterwords. But as I was rounding the final bend I figured why not run as fast as I could, I mean I wouldn’t be running again for a couple of weeks. Again without any training I couldn’t have done this, but sometimes migraines just happen. Even though I was sick for four days after the race, I am glad I finished strong. I would rather give something my all and get hurt or sick than try something half heartedly. I finished the race and now I know that if I put my mind to something I can achieve my goal.

Step five: rest and repeat. I plan on running the Coban half marathon in May and so I’ll probably follow all four of the steps I’ve mentioned above. I hope when I run in Coban I don’t have to deal with a few of the things I have dealt with for the last two half marathons I’ve trained for. Hopefully swine flu doesn’t rear it’s ugly head and cancel the race again and most of all I hope no one steals my running shoes again. I would like a smooth training experience and a smooth race. But I guess I just need to remember that like life, running isn’t always easy and the hard times will just make me stronger.

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