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You Can’t Teach an Old Dog

January 23, 2009

On New Tricks


Okay, so you know about my half marathon, and you know about Becky and Tom getting engaged.  What you might not know is that during the half marathon (and I believe it was kilometer 7, to be exact), Husband Extraordinaire waited on the sidelines to offer encouragement and called out as I ran by: “Becky is engaged!”

Great way to get a quick burst of energy, right?  In fact, if I were choosing between a sickly-sweet, congealed-gravy consistency gel pack or a piece of really good news, I’d take the good news any day.  To be honest, though, I was happy enough to eat the strawberry-banana energy gel by the time we hit the 12 K mark, where the uphill bridge to the island of Macau loomed just ahead.

But how, you might ask, am I in this position, running a half marathon, in the first place?  Because the truth of the matter is this: I am most definitely NOT a runner.  An athlete—yes; a competitor—yes; a runner—no.  I’ve just never really embraced the practice of getting sweaty and winded if there isn’t a ball in the equation.  (So for the record, I also don’t swim or do yoga, and I only lifted weights when my coaches forced me.)  The famed “runner’s high” has always eluded me, in concept and in practice, and if I knew of a women’s basketball league in Hong Kong, I wouldn’t be writing this post.

Enter Tina.  I met my future training partner in a most innocuous setting: a playgroup.  While The Kid played with her twins, Cosmo and Felix, Tina and I sipped coffee, and at some point I must have given off the “sucker” vibe, because Tina casually mentioned her intention to train for a half marathon; in a moment of weakness, I raised my eyebrows and said, “Really?”  Next thing I know, I’m on the treadmill, pounding out 5 miles to verify that Tina and I are at roughly the same fitness level, and by the following week I’m in full-fledged training.

Lest the term “full-fledged training” appear misleading, I should point out that our program to prepare for the half marathon was incredibly manageable, incredibly effective, and incredibly affordable—the latter of which cannot be said for my simultaneous attempt to learn tennis, which sets me back a solid chunk of money every lesson.  Tennis, however, has the potential to become a lifelong passion for me…and by extension, running does not.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m really glad I did the half marathon.  I wouldn’t change a thing about the 3 months of preparation.  The

Me and Tina--still smiling at Mile 5!

Me and Tina--still smiling at Mile 5!

training kept me fit, Tina kept me motivated, and the promise of a weekend away with Husband Extraordinaire to actually run the darn thing kept me honest when I would be out on a trail, 4 miles into a planned 10 mile run, and think, “I could just turn around now and still do a solid 8 miles!”  The race itself provided a nice sense of accomplishment.  We easily finished ahead of our intended pace, and we realize now that we could have chosen a more competitive target time.

But when Tina turned to me with glowing eyes at the finish line and said, “You ready to train for the whole thing now, running buddy?” I just had to grin wryly and shake my head.

However, I would happily do another half marathon in the future.  I would recommend it—and our training program—to anyone.  And when Tina finishes her first marathon, no one will be more impressed or excited than me!

Enjoying our early Christmas gift to ourselves--a completed half marathon!

Enjoying our early Christmas gift to ourselves--a completed half marathon!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Becky T permalink
    January 24, 2009 12:24 am

    Congrats Laura! A half marathon is a huge accomplishment. And now that I have evidence that you are a runner… you may just get stuck with running partner requests from me when you get back to the states :)!

  2. Tara permalink
    January 26, 2009 10:22 am

    I think I pulled a muscle just reading about your run. That doesn’t bode well for my prospects of achieving the mythical high.

    Oh well, some of us are better suited to the couch.

    Congrats on finishing. Very cool.

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