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  • Stephanie Parise

Try, Try Again!

Updated: Mar 3

I remember when I decided to run my first half marathon. Someone I know had ran one and was training for another and I wanted to "compete". Years later, I realized how this was a silly reason and a blessing in disguise. If she had not ran one, I may never have embarked on this journey in my life. Also, it was a crazy reason to do something, just to do the whole "if you can, I can too" thing.

In the beginning of 2017 I started my journey to my first half marathon. I pretty much trained myself with an online basic training plan. I didn't have a coach at that time, I just followed this cookie cutter plan that was written for beginners. After weeks of training, which I honestly don't remember much about, it was time. I was running my first half marathon in May 2017 at the Joplin Memorial Run. My goal was to finish at least 2 hours and 30 minutes. I honestly at the time didn't believe I could achieve that. However, I crossed the line with a 2 hour and 17 minute time, much faster than I imagined I could do. After that, I was hooked.

In the years to come I would run many more half marathons. Some not so good and others getting a personal record. I never thought of attempting to break 2 hours because I never thought I was that good of a runner. I mean, to me at the time, that was fast. I couldn't even think of doing an average of 9:00 minute miles for 13.1 miles! That was crazy talk! For this not natural born athlete, this seemed impossible! I wouldn't even attempt it until November 2018.

For some reason in my life, I don't remember a lot. As far as training for races goes, I don't remember a lot about it. I feel when I'm training I'm on autopilot and dazed. I just go through every day and do what I need to do. Don't get me wrong, I remember when things were tough and when things just clicked. Training for races for me is hard. Like I said, I am not a born athlete. Training for any race seems 10 times as hard for me than others. I decided to train during the summer of 2018 to attempt to break 2 hours in the half at The Bass Pro Marathon Weekend in November 2018.

I remember this race fairly well, it was my first cold weather race. Back then I thought 50 degrees was too cold for running, ha ha. Not so much anymore, that weather is perfect! I've just learned how to dress appropriately. I finished that half marathon with a time of 2:01, almost breaking 2. I wasn't upset at all since this was a 7 minute PR from my current time. I was so emotional when I crossed the finish line. As you can see in the photo down below. I recall telling Shawn and my coach that I just felt so good I kept going, didn't slow down, just sailed on through!

In between my first and second attempt to break 2 hours, I trained for and ran my first marathon. There will probably be another post about my marathons at a later time! I ran my marathon in January 2019 at Disney World. When I came back it was time to start training again for a half marathon attempt. This time the race was in April 2019 and one I've ran before and it is very flat. However, the morning of that race I had to pull out. It was sleeting, snowing, windy and downright cold. I made the decision for myself to not do the race and risk injuring myself. After I had gone home, I went out, ran 12 miles after the weather cleared. I always wondered what I could have done at that race knowing how well this run went.

I had found another half marathon two weeks later to try and attempt it again! This one was called The Frisco Railroad Run. Which, part was on paved trail and half on crushed rock like the trail at home. I was feeling really good about this one, on pace for the first half. As the second half started, I just fell apart. This was the first time I had cried during a race. Stopping because I was hyperventilating. I just knew I wasn't going to make my goal and all that hard work went out the window. After that race I never wanted to attempt it again. Seeing all my hard work and nothing to show for it. However, I did finish with my second best half marathon time!

After that race I didn't want to do the training for another one. I was just upset and burned out. Since that race in April 2019, I haven't attempted for any other speed goal. I have ran 2 marathons and few other half marathons since. I finally decided to try again. I will be attempting to break 2 hours again at the Cowtown Half Marathon in Fort Worth, TX on March 1st 2020. I am just coming off two marathon training cycles with no down time. I only had 6 weeks to train for this half marathon but it has gone very well. There is speed still left in these tired legs. Luckily for me, the weather looks amazing and its a flat course. I've also got my "cheating" Nike Next % shoes to help me, ha ha. Last time I ran a race in Texas, I had a great time, so I'm excited to travel back to run this one!

If you take anything away from this post, just know that no matter how many times you fail try again. As many times as it takes. I know I will keep trying if I don't achieve it this weekend. Although, I'm feeling pretty good, so that is a good sign! Check back next week to hear all about my race and what happened!