My Half Marathon Training Update: There Will Be Blood

September 26, 2012


Okay, not to scare you, the only reason why “there will be blood” is because I’m going to the San Diego Blood Bank to make a donation later today.  I know you probably came to read this because you though I got hit by a car or got in a fist fight with another runner, but alas, I did not.  Sorry to disappoint, ha!

I know it sounds really weird, but donating blood (though it still scares the heebie jeebies out of me) is one of my favorite things to do.  I still despise needles and whine quietly to myself if they don’t have bandage tape that comes in a fun color, but alas, donating blood is something I feel compelled to do regularly.

I’m scheduling a massage with my Massage Envy subscription, a trip to Target AND a blood donation all in one day…why?  Because I had a crappy running day..that’s why.  Sure, I have a 5k on Sunday and I probably should wait until after the 5k to be lacking essential fluids, but eh- YOLO baby!  (be sure to quote that in my obituary.)

Today’s run totally sucked and I’m grumpy and will only feel better if I do something awesome…I just happen to pack my awesome all in one day because I don’t have the inclination to feel poopy for more than a minute and a half.  Life=too short.

If you’ve been following my Daily Mile updates (or on Twitter) you’d see I’d had some epic wins- when I’m on the cross trainer I can easily go 6.5-8 miles now.  Huzzah!  I was able to shave down my mile times to an average pace of 8:49 and it felt DAMN GOOD.


Well, it felt DAMN GOOD until TODAY.  After two weeks of elliptical-only indoor training it had cooled off enough in So Cal to hit the trail again.  The area I live doesn’t have a lot of sidewalks and is notoriously hilly, and while I anticipated that it would be significantly harder to do well on a hill-run, there was nothing more painful than the feeling of being a miserable failure on today’s run.

I got out and ran up a slight incline until the horrible side-cramps/barfy feeling started to kick in.  I walked a bit, then ran down the hill and proceeded to have to walk the rest of the mile.  All in all, I did 1.5 miles on hilly terrain and my average pace plummeted to a 13:50 mile time.  I wanted to cry, I was filled with self-loathing and mainly, the fear that when race day arrives I’m going to fail miserably in front of better runners.  Ouch.

Then, as I was walking and cursing under my breath, trying not to heave, I remembered my very first run, when I couldn’t even get around the block without feeling awful.  Fast forward a month later, the very first time I used the Nike+ app to measure my mile times on July 25th, my biggest accomplishment was to go 3.02 miles with an average mile time of 14:06. FOURTEEN MINUTES.   Granted, that dropped down to 12:17 the next day, but wow.

Here’s where you count your blessings and follies in the same hand-  sure, when it comes to overall pace with street running, on paper I don’t look as if I’ve improved.  When I look back and realize I never could have had the bravery to tackle a hill in the first place, I know I’ve come pretty far.


Sometimes you run to fight against the clock & win.  Other times you run to fight against yourself & your only victory is winning against your will to give up.


Running sometimes really, really sucks.  Even when you win, you can feel like you totally failed.  You may have gone more miles, or tackled new terrain, but it feels like a dismal failure if you didn’t beat a personal record or hit a goal.  Other days, it’s a win to simply show up and fight against your lazy self.  I never predict what kind of day I’ll have until I get out there.

Somedays I want to cry tears of joy that the very core of my being is being transformed, other days I want to cry from the indignation that my body isn’t transforming fast enough.  Body and mind are constantly battling.

So, if I were to give you any advice as you battle for your goals (because surely, some goals are a battle against yourself, like getting out of debt, losing weight or ending a bad relationship) it’s that some days you will fail and it stings like hell. Other days you’ll win and you’ll chalk it up to luck or your annoying persistence.  Cushion the peaks and valleys by focusing on the positive, whining a bit if you need to and then getting back out there.

When you’re working on something that seems impossible- for me, a totally unathletic girl who barely could run a mile when she started, there will be good days and bad days.  You will find that some days you go through the seven stages of grief when you hit the road, and other days, for no reason at all, the damn thing is as easy as cake.  You got this, dust yourself off, and keep going.


Okay, so I’m off to go get a massage, donate blood & then kick some more arse.  Also, if you’re having a crappy day and Target, donating blood or a massage aren’t an option, here’s the next best thing, eh!

Love, Shannyn (Your half-Canadian blogger friend)

BTW feel free to leave comments below… some words of encouragement, your goal stories, or something hilarious to watch would be much appreciated 🙂

10 comments so far.

10 responses to “My Half Marathon Training Update: There Will Be Blood”

  1. That video pretty much made my day! Running long distances sucks — but you’re awesome. 🙂

  2. Never trust the numbers on the elliptical! They are totally inaccurate both in calorie count and distance/speed!

  3. MB says:

    You can do it! I read somewhere that the hardest days are the days when you’re actually making the most progress 🙂 No pain, no gain!

  4. Lesley says:

    Way to have a balanced outlook! No matter how long you’ve been running, there will still be days where the magic isn’t there. Usually that’s followed by a kick-ass run, though! Good luck at your 5k this weekend!

  5. kendrrat says:

    I’m having these same struggles right now, great post. When youre actually propelling your body forward (as opposed to moving on a moving platform) it feels way different! Dont let it fool you, youre doing a great job!

  6. Michelle says:

    I hate training for races but love running them! Keep up the good work. Thanks for the video, it was great.

  7. Everyone has those days when they run. It’s the classic backsliding. But our bodies just do weird things, and when it comes to actually doing the runs you will be just fine. The adrenaline will kick in. Just go with the flow and honor what your body needs. Mine thinks it wants a chocolate-chip muffin, but that’s another story.

  8. Emily says:

    You’re doing great, keep pushing through! I think most people end up having a love/hate relationship with running. You end up falling in love with how it makes you feel, but sometimes it is so hard and you go through such huge setbacks that is doesn’t always seem worth it. Keep pushing through these hard runs, it will be worth it in the end!

  9. Shannyn says:

    Thanks for the amazing comments everyone! Just did a 5k today and even if it’s not record shattering, it’s progress!

  10. Brandi says:

    Ugh, I feel your pain but do not know your fascination. I donate blood because I feel obliged (blood donation saved my mom’s life) but I faint 90% of the time. I’ve been guilty of international travel to escape blood donation… well, and because I love travel, of course. Kudos to you on your running journey.


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