road to half marathon: week one

I have an extreme love hate relationship with running. I hate the process of running, even if it's a mile or less. But by the end, my body absorbs an aura of happiness and accomplishment that I haven't been able to duplicate with other workouts. Coming up on my third half marathon, I have decided to blog my journey to show that one, ANYONE can run a half marathon, and two I am hoping some of you will hold me accountable to my goal with tips of your own.

My BHAG: I will finish the America's Finest City Half Marathon in 2 hours and 7 minutes without stopping on August 15, 2010.

Run, lululemon, marathon
My past two races I have been so elated with finishing, that I didn't mind taking mile 7 as a walk. I am a terrible runner, a fact all of my former softball coaches and teammates can attest. Not only am fairly slow by nature, but 6 years ago I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and was told by multiple doctors to stay off my feet. Instead I was prescribed to take a million pills a day in order to function normally, gain weight, and enjoy a life of not moving. Needless to say, more than my joints were deteriorating.

Luckily, I began reading up on nutrition and found a way to control my RA with a healthy vegetarian diet, low on sugar and white flours. Although my hands and feet wake up every morning with a bit of aches from the remnants of RA, I have not had a flare up in over 4 years, and have kept moving at the discouragement of my doctor. (I definitely do not claim to be a doctor, but I do suggest looking into nutrition if ever you find yourself with a diagnosis.)

Yoga, run, stretch it out, moisture wicking, half marathon!

For me in the past few years of seriously taking on running, yoga, and my health, being able to move everyday feels like a blessing. The past 2 races I have ran in, I have been so proud to push past a little bit of discomfort and rested on the crutch of my slowness to take it easy and just finish. But if there has anything that my journey with RA has taught me it's that you have to keep moving to keep moving. Now that I know I can finish a half marathon, it's time I pushed my body to finish it full speed and without hesitation.

Every week I will be blogging my training journey with how far and where I ran, what I did for cross training, and what I wore. I hope you can run with me, and keep me moving towards my goal.

This week's training mileage total: 12 miles
Longest run: 4 miles with a pace of 9:40 (right on track)
Cross training: 3 yoga classes and 1 bootcamp class.
Wore on my long run: I Just Wanna Run Tech SL, Run:Roll Down Shorts and the Flight Running Bonnet (available in store and through the Guest Education Centre).

Super comfortable run tank, moisture wicking, and lightweight.

Run:Roll Down Short: It is important to note here that this is the FIRST pair of run shorts I have ever ran in! They are the most amazing shorts (in my opinion) that we have ever made. I love that they are cut similar to the Run:Speed Shorts, but are a touch longer and a bit looser. They are the perfect length that I feel covered, and are more on the baggy side, which I love. I know I don't have to worry if someone's running behind me!

comfortable run shorts

I Just Wanna Run Tech SL: This is probably my favourite running tank. It is so lightweight you do not feel it as you are moving, and it quickly wicks your sweat so you don't even notice it. I love the way it drapes, and I love that it is a bit loose giving me room to breathe. On a hot, hot San Diego day this weekend, 4 miles felt like a breeze!

Here is my training schedule this week if anyone wants to join in on the fun!

12 weeks until race day:
Monday: Yoga
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 2 miles + yoga
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: Rest (or yoga)
Saturday: 30 minutes cross training
Sunday: 4 miles

See you next week!  P.S. Does anyone have any tips or vegetarian protein recipes I could benefit from?

read more related posts:


Whit, great goal! Looking forward to reading up on your progress, and let me know if you need a running partner sometime.

Comment by Aaron — June 1, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

Way to go Whitney! Very inspiring post. I want to come run with you!

Comment by Erin — June 1, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

How cool! My husband and I are training for our first half marathon in October. I have that same relationship with running. The longest I’ve run so far is 6 miles and that was tough! I’m interested to see your program.

Comment by Jo — June 2, 2010 @ 3:22 am

Have you tried the Arbonne Protein Shakes? They are vegan certified!! If you’re interested, you can order through me and it will be shipped to your door.

Comment by Lynn Hogan — June 2, 2010 @ 5:29 am

It’s all about tempeh! YUM
lentils and rice too.
You’ve mentioned you’ve ran halfs before, maybe your mileage is a little low to begin with? Your goal race is only 12 weeks away, you don’t want to start ramping up the miles too fast later in your training because that might bring on injury. Unless you’re coming off of a break or injury?
Keep your runs easy, not all out fast at first. You don’t want to burn out (or get injured!)
it’s great that you’re incorporating cross training and yoga :) I recently bought the ‘Yoga for Athlete’s DVD’ on
it’s a great DVD and is a nice cool down workout for after runs (long or short) and is nice on rest days when I need a morning pick-me-up
Good luck with your training!!!
What half are you training for?

Comment by Steph — June 2, 2010 @ 6:15 am

Thanks for all of the tips on mileage and food everyone, I am definitely taking all of these into account!

@Jo if you can run 3 miles today, you can run 13.1 in October no problem! Best of luck to you!

@Steph, AMAZING, thanks for your tips. I am increasing my miles by 1 mile on my long run each week, so that I can run the miles at hand as fast as possible. But I will try a few more longer runs during the week see if that doesn’t help!

You guys rock, keep the training tips & food suggestions coming!

Comment by Whitney — June 2, 2010 @ 10:37 am

Speed is what will wear you out faster than milage. If you are aiming for a personal best time in this half, I’d keep your runs to only 3 or 4 times per week and make them quality miles. Work on your speed on the short days and really take the pace easy on your long runs. I have never heard of someone getting injured from running too slow. On race day, all the different workouts will join together to give you your time. All the yoga is going to be a HUGE benefit to your training.
As far as the vegetarian advice, I would not be the best resource, but I know of a couple books by Brendan Brazier that would have some awesome ideas. He is a vegan Ironman Champion.

Comment by Brian — June 2, 2010 @ 9:23 pm

awesome I can’t wait to follow this! I am starting my own half marathon training soon :)

Comment by callah — June 3, 2010 @ 12:00 am

Awesome..I’m looking for a half marathon to start training for soon! Silly question, what is the nail polish you have on in the pics? Really like it.

Comment by Kerri — June 3, 2010 @ 12:18 pm

Amazing! I’m doing my first half this Sept and I’m scared! What was I thinking?!

I ran the Sporting Life 10k last month and since then took time off to rest my knees. Am biking 25k this weekend to raise money for Heart & Stroke then it’s full on 1/2 marathon training.

My worries? Like Whitney, I’m not a runner. My mom has very bad RA so Whitney I feel for you. I have little injuries (a bum wrist and knee) that don’t seem to heal and act up on me so I keep getting blood tests to see if I have developed RA as well. So far, so good!

As this is my first marathon I’m not sure how I should be training and what is an acceptable time. I run 10k in 75 minutes. I’m not exactly the fastest runner. I’m not sure I can keep up that pace for…what…21k or so?

Any advice? Will be watching this blog closely for training tips!! G’luck Whitney and all the others training this summer! Remember to keep yourselves hydrated!

Comment by Aleksandra S — June 3, 2010 @ 12:25 pm

Thanks for all the tips and inspiration everyone! So happy you guys can help me out in this journey!

P.S. @Kerri, my nail polish is made by OPI and it’s called Midnight in Moscow. Glad you like it! :o)

Comment by Whitney — June 3, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

Way to go Whitney! I am so proud of the steps you took to own your health by reading up and practicing good nutrition! As a food/exercise/wellness buff myself, I think that it is so important to take care of your body. Have fun with your training, you’re going to have a blast!

I would recommend Quinoa as an ideal vegetarian protein to eat. It is a complete vegetarian protein, gluten free, high in fiber, magnesium, iron and phosperous and can be eaten any way you like it! Check it out:

Basic Quinoa Recipe – Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups cold water
Optional: 1/2 tsp salt
Quinoa Cooking Directions:

Soak the quinoa for 15 min in the cooking pot. Soaking helps quinoa to cook evenly, and loosens up the outer coating of saponin, which can give a bitter taste if not removed
If you don’t have time for a longer soaking, use hot water and soak for five minutes
To Rinse: Stir the quinoa with your hand, and carefully pour off the rinsing water, using a fine mesh strainer at the last
Drain quinoa well in the strainer, transfer to the cooking pot, add 1 1/2 cups water & 1/2 tsp salt if desired
Bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid, and turn the heat down to simmer
Cook for 15 minutes
Remove quinoa from heat and allow to sit five minutes with the lid on
Fluff quinoa gently with a fork and serve

Some of my favourites include, cold quinoa salads (cook day before or refrigerate same day), quinoa in place of rice for stir-frys and quinoa cereal (again cook day before and refrigerate) reheat next morning with your favourite sweetener and milk). There are so many other uses for it too! Pilafs, desserts, you name it!

Let me know how things go!

Comment by Mea Jyn — June 3, 2010 @ 10:27 pm

My friend Emily is a vegetarian and 5-time marathon, not to mention an all-star blogger! She has a blog full of amazing protein-rich recipes and lots of tips for getting nutrients pre and post-workout. Check her out at!

I started training for a half this week, too! Yahooooo!

Comment by Mary Ann — June 7, 2010 @ 8:47 am

awesome goal whitney! good luck with the training!
Quinoa is hands-down one of the best sources of protein available for vegans. AND, it’s so quick and easy to prepare. I add steamed veggies (esp. sweet potato) and black beans for a delicious meal. For quick smoothies with a nutritional punch, i love Braziers’ Vega powder (whole foods carries it).
Can’t wait to follow your journey!

Comment by Jenn — June 7, 2010 @ 9:37 am

If you’re looking for some vegetarian recipes, you might want to check out the cancer project for some ideas. It’s basically about using nutrition to avoid cancer and other illnesses – sounds right up your alley. They just sent out a recipe today with Quinoa Burgers…a great vegetarian source of protein.

Comment by Keri — June 11, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

Perfect timing! I’m starting to train for my first ever half marathon. I’m wondering if you have any recommendations for training plans for people who haven’t run much before.

Comment by Lauren Hayslett — July 15, 2010 @ 1:26 pm

Hey Whitney…just came across your blog and wish you luck on your 1/2marathon next week. I’am a runner and this will be my first training season for a 1/2 with my newly found RA! My pace is close to yours and I was wondering how your body has handled running that fast? What pace do you do your long runs at?

Comment by Jen — August 4, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

Take this Sub 2 hour half marathon, in 12 weeks :)

Comment by sub 2 hour half marathon — February 25, 2013 @ 7:03 am

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