I’ve been thinking a lot about physical and mental discipline over the last month — because I’m in the midst of training for a half-marathon.
Yes, you read that right.
Despite being in my late 40s, having two children, working full-time, and being an active volunteer in my school district, I decided about six weeks ago to join a friend of mine in training for a half marathon in June that will raise funds for a local charity.
It’s a little nuts.
A half marathon is 13.1 miles. That means that if I can sustain even a 10-minute mile pace (and veteran half-marathoners have told me this isn’t likely) I’ll be running for 131 minutes, or two hours and eleven minutes.
Have I used the word “nuts” yet?
It’s not like I’m in tip-top condition or anything. I’d say, in fact, I’ve been only moderately fit since the birth of my second child nine years ago. I.e., I’ve been going to the gym and using an elliptical machine for 30 minutes two or three times a week, plus lifting weights once or twice a week.
Occasionally I’ve been walking a couple miles with a friend or popping in two-mile jogs or a five-mile bike rides in my town — just enough to put a little color in my cheeks. Most days my dog and I also go for a 20-minute amble through the neighborhood — but we stop a lot to talk to friends, watch the ducks, and sniff fire hydrants and shrubs and stuff.
Suffice to say, I have a lot of training to do to get to the point where I can run for two hours and eleven minutes.
But I’m doing it. I’ve got my Hal Higdon training schedule hanging on the refrigerator. I’ve mapped out my routes. I’m reading up on “injury prevention” (way more important now than it was in my 20s, when I regularly ran 6, 8, even 10 miles).
And I’m thinking about the nature of discipline, energy, and focus.
Next up: Tracking the mind’s little tricks.