When I was a kid, the March of Dimes used to have these walkathons every year. They still do as far as I know, but they are different. Nowadays they are these nice little 2 or 3 mile strolls. Back in the day, this would have been about the 1970’s, they were 16 to 18 miles. I can remember because I remembered having to do the math, that okay, this guy pledged 30 cents per mile, so that’s $5.40. And some wise guy would always pledge something like 24.5 cents. Remember, we didn’t have cell phones with calculators back then!
The funny things is, there was no concept of training. We just raised the money and did it. I’m sure that some trained, but at least as a 12 or 13 year old, I didn’t think about gear or a training schedule. The day came and we just did it.
And the funny thing is, as kids, my friends and I were running most of it. We’d run for a few blocks, maybe walk one or two and then take off again.
There are times I wish I could remember about how much time we took. Then again, I’m kind of glad I didn’t know. I can remember a 12 minute run in gym class and getting just about 2 miles in that time. I’m proud and ashamed of that now, ashamed because I don’t think I could run a 6 minute mile PACE for even 50 yards today, not to mention 2 miles. I’d probably feel the same way about that 18 miles on the walkathon, on the one hand I’d be pretty proud of whatever time that ended up taking, on the other, it’s a reminder of how much things have changed.
I think that’s changed my perception now of half marathons. Now I do have to say, when I met my wife I was in awe because she was training for a half marathon at the time. Especially because that wasn’t all that far removed from that day in the rain for me. And I know I’ve thought at times of walking a half marathon and my completing that probably wouldn’t impress me so much just because I remember when I walked 18 miles without a whole lot of thought. And the thing is, I know I could do that again today. And I think that’s why I never decided to try being a walker in some half marathon because I knew I wasn’t really stretching myself to do that. A year ago I walked the Bolder Boulder 10k and I had a great time but, haven’t felt as much a sense of accomplishment because it wasn’t a stretch for me.
Right now I’m debating, do I set a goal for being able to run the whole half marathon? Or walk run. I know which one would be the greatest sense of accomplishment for me by far. Maybe that’s my answer. THAT though, would be a stretch.