Half Marathon Diary

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the latest in a series of weekly columns by Kayla Dunn, a 25-year-old Belpre resident who is training to run in the News and Sentinel Half Marathon on Aug. 16. Dunn teaches Autistic students at Fairplains Elementary School.

Last Monday was our 7-mile training run.

I was without a partner that night so I knew I would have to push myself on this run. It was very hot and humid the whole day so I made sure to drink a lot of water that day.

I also made sure to eat some carbs for lunch that way I had enough energy for the run. I’m feeling more confident about these runs especially as the numbers of the miles are going down because I know I can do them. I have no reason to not be able to complete these runs. I always try to go to the gym before a training run because it seems to keep me more focused on what I’m doing.

I got to the park a little early so I could stretch and relax before the run. I didn’t know a lot of people at this training run so I just listened to music to get myself focused. They started announcing where we were running and where the water stops were located. The volunteers that take the time to do those water stops are awesome! Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to do that; all of the runners and especially me appreciate it!

We got started on the run and since I didn’t have a partner I tried to see people who I normally am in pace with the other training runs we have done. There didn’t seem to be as many people at this run. There was a group of people that I tried to keep pace with pretty much the whole run and I’m glad they were there because they kept me going. For me, it is hard to keep pace by myself, so it was nice seeing a group of people ahead of me and making sure I didn’t lose them, which was my goal on this run.

I struggled a little bit once we got to Seventh Street. It was very hot and humid and my legs felt pretty tight but I tried to keep pushing through. After the water stop on Seventh Street, I did walk for a few minutes because it was tough. I saw other people walking too so I didn’t feel as bad about walking for a little bit. I was thinking during this run that the half marathon is in a couple weeks! I’m excited for my first half marathon and already planning on doing my second one!

I didn’t mind running this training route alone. Like I said previously, running is therapeutic for me. If I have a lot going on either personally or at work I can put my running shoes on and my headphones in and take a run. It truly is amazing how different I feel when I get lost in the music and a run. I come back with such a better attitude and mood.

I started running again on Seventh Street and took the turn close to McDonalds to take back into the park. I love that part because that means the run is almost done. I have a love/hate relationship with running, it seems. Right before the run, I’m excited, during the run I’m wondering when in the world is it done, and after the run is done I ask myself, when can I do this again?

I walked a little bit on the way back to the park, though. I do feel that if I was running with someone I probably wouldn’t have walked that part. My legs felt heavy and tight and I had a hard time keeping them going. I’ve been running with different types of runners the past few weeks to stay motivated. I absolutely advise getting different running partners, because let’s face it, no one always has the same schedule. If running itself isn’t therapeutic, the running partners become your friends. During a run, especially a long run, there is plenty of time to talk. First, it helps keep your mind off what you’re doing and second it’s one more person to get advice from, get acquainted with, or share your crazy life stories. I have become friends with quite a few different people I probably wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for running.

I got back to the park and ran to the water. I got a few drinks and stretched out some. It felt good to get this run done, because it was pretty hot! A couple different runners asked how I did and I asked how they were feeling. I didn’t stick around too long because I was going home to my daughter who has suddenly become interested in running. She is 4 and she did a 5K this past week with me! I ran/walked with her because she has been begging to do a “long race” with me. She’s already ready to do another 5K! I want to be a good healthy role model for her and I’m glad that she has taken an interest in it, whether it is short-lived or not.

The next and last training run is at 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 11, starting at the Parkersburg City Park. There will be a picnic after this run! I hope to see you all there!