Yes, I did it. For me.

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I usually don’t write much about personal stuff. My work can be really interesting/important/exciting, so I stick to that. If you want to see what I am doing there, I will try to do more, but you should follow WSDOT on Twitter and Facebook. And get an RSS feed for the news releases and blog. Hey, no excuses! Know before you go!

Most of my personal activities have something to do with my son. He’s awesome. I try to keep up with My Little Lefty. But I did something this past week just for me. I completed my first half marathon. And I want to thank some amazing, fabulous and inspiring groups.

ClubOly Running, Guerilla Running and Race for a Soldier. You are the best!

Let’s just say I have never been much of a runner. I am slow and always will be. It’s okay with me. But I needed something to kick my butt in gear. I had been running about four miles a day, four days a week, at 40 to 50 minutes, until April 2010. Then some knee problems got me down.

Enter Terra and ClubOly.

On Facebook, I “liked” the Couch to 5K program. So someone (Terra) sent me a request for a program starting locally in January 2011. I signed up and got my friends Sharon and Mayumi to sign up with me. Sharon (unfortunately) got hurt, but Mayumi and I stayed with it, running a 5K in April. Some from group unofficially decided to stay together, training for a five-mile run in June.

I really wanted to do this half marathon I found out about on Twitter (thanks Kenny Mayne). Read about the Race for a Soldier. Please.

ClubOly has an official half marathon training group, so I signed up. Since Saturday is my only day to sleep in, I was hit and miss most of the summer – with my longest run at 10 miles. So I did a few sessions of Guerilla Running’s bootcamp to build up some endurance. Now that’s a tough class. Wow.

I finished Race for a Soldier before the three-hour cutoff. Just barely. Note: when a training coach tells you to make sure you get a few full race length practice runs in, please do it. You really do need to feel what 13.1 miles is like on your body. I did great for about six miles, and then started hurting. At mile nine (Kyle’s mile), I had to give it my all. Kyle’s mom started the foundation after he committed suicide not long after returning from serving in Iraq. I can’t even image. What a lady.

So Kyle gave me a push. But, I got a leg cramp at mile 11 that just about put me down. And it’s a mind game too – if Terra didn’t talk me through it, and I wasn’t thinking about Kyle and all the men and women serving our country, I am not sure I would have made it.

What’s next?  Some from the Couch to 5K group are still together, and we are on Meetup so come out – our motto is familiar – the more the merrier! We are going to run the Turn Back the Clock 10K run in Lacey, the OlyTrot (so we can eat extra pie) and the Santa Runs Tacoma 10K. I am also signed up for the Hillbilly Half Marathon in March. I am going to try to do some swimming to protect my knees a bit, with maybe some mini triathlon in my future.

I may also start writing more about my training.

Why? My friend Carol said when I started talking about my running group, it encouraged her to get out more. And that got her daughter out with her. Now I know why Terra (a true marathoner) spends so much time with us “hackers.” It just feels good.

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