The Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon is nearly upon us! If I said I wasn’t freaking out, it would be a complete lie.

...I am not freaking out.

To kick off the 7 day countdown, I thought I’d write a post detailing the training I’ve done for the half so far. This post is alternatively titled “How to Train for a Half Marathon Like an Idiot”*.

December/January- Consider signing up to run a half marathon and a full marathon in memory of my uncle.

February- Decide to fully commit to the half marathon and register for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon in August. Seal the deal by plunking down $91.99. The money has been sent, there is no going back now.

Review a couple half marathon training schedules and for reasons incomprehensible to everyone but the part of my brain that makes completely irrational decisions, come to the conclusion that the best way to train is to start running like the half marathon is tomorrow. Keep in mind that I had been fairly sedentary up to this point and hadn’t exercised consistently in about 3 years. End up with knee pain as a result of a week of this foolishness. Proceed to sit out the next couple weeks to “recover”. This was a few months ago, so I don’t remember what I did, but I can tell you that it most certainly did not involve any activities aimed at getting me back into running.

March-May– Life gets in the way and I stop running altogether. Again, I take the ill-advised route of sitting around and not doing anything at all. I manage to keep my wits about me enough to keep an eye on the aforementioned training schedules, so around 12 weeks before the half marathon, I decide to pull on my big girl pants and start running again. Surely I must have learned from the mistake I made in pushing myself too hard a couple months ago, right? Right?? Wrong! (and don’t call me Shirley). Proceed to run like there’s no tomorrow and give myself another round of knee pain. Sit out for another couple of weeks.

June- A conversation about running I have with a coworker inspires guilts me into running again, this time with a little more sense in my head. I start off at a mile, running with a knee brace on, keeping track of my distance, speed, and pace with the RunKeeper app on my iPhone. To be honest, even the mile runs were tough at first, but it’s nice to look back now and feel good about the progress I’ve made since then.

June-present– I’ve been steadily increasing my mileage every week and I am now up to 7 miles. You don’t even need to look at the training schedule to know that I’m off the mark. I will be counting on adrenaline, the weight of this personal goal, and pure luck to cross the finish line next week.

I didn’t train like I wanted or intended to, but boohoo-ing about it now isn’t going to help. I have only one goal for Sunday and that is to cross the finish line. I know I can do that much. I ran my first half marathon in Columbus back in April 2007. Despite hardly training at all (blowing practice runs off completely = training for a half marathon like an idiot at its finest), I managed to run 10 miles without stopping. Miraculously, I was still able to walk the next day.

Of all the places I could have taken my finisher's picture (race backdrop, hello?!), I chose the parking lot. Go figure.

I think I’ve done a slightly better job of training this time around, so we’ll see how I end up. I won’t be running to set any records or win any prizes. I’m running for myself and for the end goal of making it through the marathon next year. What’s done is done and I have my sights set on Sunday and doing the best I can then.

Have you ever made grand plans to accomplish a goal only to have those plans backfire on you? What did you do?

(All photos are personal unless otherwise noted)

*I don’t recommend that anyone actually follow this training schedule. Stick to the tried and true methods, not a hodge-podge plan some girl made up as she went along.