Public humiliation in 16 weeks

So a couple of months ago I did something brave smart ambitious stupid: I signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  That’s 13.1 miles.  I was drawn in by the promise of entertainment along the route, clean bathroom stops, and a nice shiny medal at the end.  Plus, I’d have to go to Disney World for the weekend, and I’ll take almost any excuse to go to Florida in February.

And almost like clockwork, later that day I came down with a bad cold.  It was my body’s way of saying “You are a couch potato.  You will always be a couch potato.  You hate jogging.  You can buy your own medal and not break a sweat.”  But I jogged that week, through my cold.  And for a few weeks after that.  Then I let it drop off a bit, and instead of three or four times a week, I slipped to once or twice.  Then I took last week off altogether.

Yesterday morning, the morning of the NYC marathon, I noticed something on my calendar: my half marathon was exactly sixteen weeks away.  That’s really soon.

Last spring I ran in a four mile Mothers’ Day race in Central Park to raise money for the RBaby Foundation.  I didn’t exactly kill myself training for it, and while I didn’t break any speed records (I think I averaged a tortoise-like 13.5 minutes per mile), I finished the four miles without dying, and it felt good.  The thing is, I think I probably could have finished four miles with no training at all.  It would have been even uglier, but I could’ve done it.  And I think that’s why I want to do the half marathon: The Fear.  I can’t finish 13.1 miles on a whim.  I have to train for it.  Or else risk public humiliation at Disney World when they remove me from the route and I don’t get my shiny medal.

I have to maintain an average pace of 16 minutes per mile to stay in the race.  My goal is to average 13 minutes per mile.  That might sound pathetically slow to some of you (especially after Kenyan Edna Kiplagat was the first woman across the finish line yesterday with an average pace of about 5.7 minutes per mile), but I’m just not a runner, and a 13 minute pace will be really challenging for me.

I’m using the MiCoach trainer from Adidas to track my progress.  It’s great for my neighborhood because there aren’t any long stretches without streets to cross, and with the MiCoach I don’t have to worry about planning a route and waiting for stop lights.  I just run where I want to and it keeps track of how far I’ve gone, my pace, even my heart rate.  It also tells me if I’m not going fast enough.  And honestly, I do better when a computer or gadget tells me what to do.

I’m supposed to do a total of 76 workouts before the big race.  Today was an “easy” day – ha!  I was sick all weekend and am still not feeling all that well, so it didn’t seem easy at all.  It was just a five minute warm-up (blue zone), a ten minute jog (green zone), and a five-minute cool down (blue zone).  That’s about one-ninth of the half marathon.  And according to MiCoach I met 90% of the pace goals for today’s workout, with an average pace of 13:48 minutes per mile.  Hey, I’m sick!  And it was really windy!  And…OK, that’s kind-of sad.  But at least I did it, and tomorrow will be better.

Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 1. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, Momtourage, and podcasts with The Blogging Angels.


  1. Elissa says

    While I rarely comment on posts like this…I have to say this is one cool tool. What a great way to self-train. Went to the site but some of the links wouldn’t go thru (eg products). Would love to know the price…

    • says

      @Elissa: I have the MiCoach Pacer, which costs about $125 (I received mine for free to review from Adidas). That may seem like a lot, but this would take someone from beginner to running a marathon and beyond.

      HOWEVER (it’s a big one), there are now FREE apps for both iPhone and Blackberry (with Android promised soon) that can do a lot of the same things as the $125 system. It doesn’t totally replace it, but it’s supposedly fantastic, and definitely worth the price. :-)

  2. Elissa says

    Great info, Amy..thanks for offering other options! I’ll check out the BB app, but when you amortize that price point over a number of workouts (esp if you’re physically active on a regular basis), the micoach system really pays for itself.

  3. says

    Hey Amy, I reluctantly did this half marathon last March (promised my friend I would do it with her, then she bailed a week before the race). I didn’t train at ALL. I am not in good shape. And I finished. I wasn’t dead last, but I was darn close. Still, I kept ahead of the pace truck, and I collected my medal. Didn’t walk straight for about a week, but… details. My point is, as long as you train at ALL, you should be fine. Good luck!

    • says

      @Mama: You have no idea how happy I am to hear that! I mean, not the friend backing out and you not being able to walk parts, but the rest of it…so encouraging! I have this deep-down fear that I will train, and travel, and not be able to finish it. But it sounds like there’s hope!

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