We meet again, half marathon.

Running the Navy Air Force Half Marathon in 2015 was an important, personal achievement that my younger self would have balked at. It is now 2017, and I’m somehow preparing to run my fourth. It’s been a while since I’ve written here, and you can see how poorly I’ve maintained it. I’m about 4 weeks of NYC marathon training recaps, and one big race recap behind, and that’s okay. I will write about my marathon one day, but I assure you that the fiery pride and accomplishment I felt that day continue to burn, burn, burn.

Since I last left you in late September, Alex and I got married (!!!), we honeymooned, I completed my first marathon, met my fundraising goal, and closed out the most momentous year of this short life. That is a true, personal highlight reel.

I digress.

Half marathon training feels different this time around for a number of reasons. For one, I’m the “healthiest” I’ve ever been (injury-free, knock on wood, praise everything). I’ve been running regularly for a couple months post-NYC marathon, and I have a foundation of weekly mileage that I haven’t always had before adding more. As a result, I either show up on race day just as I begin to find my groove, or arrive half-baked and flare up some kind of pain with race day effort.

Second, I’ve run a marathon since my last half. 13.1 miles used to be a big, scary, impossible number, but marathon training forced me to run it – and farther distances – regularly. I know that I can complete the distance on race day.

That very knowledge is the reason this half marathon is a departure from the norm – I know I can do it, now I want to race it. I ran the Navy Air Force Half to know that I could complete the distance. I ran the NYC Half to know that I could do it again, and I ran the Boy Scout Half as a training run while ramping up to the NYC Marathon. I wasn’t concerned how fast I was going as long as I made it to the finish.This time I’d like to PR (personal record). I want to push myself and get uncomfortable. I want to get stronger. I want to know I left a little out there on the course – to see what I can do. I’m “slow” by most people’s standards, but my kind of running is a one person game. The only time  I need to beat is mine.

I’m going to be running the Owens Corning Half Marathon (during the Glass City Marathon weekend) in my hometown. It’s a flat, speedy course using many of my normal running routes, and it even passes right by my parents’ house around mile 8 (personal water stop, anyone?!). I’ve never participated in my city’s marathon festivities, with the exception of cheering on other runners last year, and I’m really excited to be there. Also – I can’t imagine an easier commute to a start line then walking a couple blocks from my house in the morning.

So here we go – 12 weeks to work.