Crazy, stupid runners: #9Fitness writer goes from home to a half marathon in 31 days

CINCINNATI - I’m not an impulsive person. Still, I’ve been known to make spur-of-the-moment decisions like taking a random road trip or buying some really expensive. But pounding the pavement for 13.1 miles? That would be a first.

So, why did I wake up on March 12 and decide I’m going to sign up for the Athens Marathon and tackle my very first half marathon on April 13?

Well, I’ve placed a half marathon on my 2014 to-do list. But the irony surrounding this one was just too good to pass up: as an Ohio University graduate, I’m both obsessed with the little town of Athens and slightly bitter that the Athens food and nightlife helped me gain the “freshman 15," and then some.

I could potentially celebrate my post-grad fit lifestyle by crushing a 13.1 mile run in the place that destroyed my high school figure.

NOTE: I’m a runner. I’ve competed in races before and regularly run long distances. If you’re not a runner or aren’t currently engaged in regular fitness activities, I would advise against prepping for a half marathon in one month.

Read on as I chronicle my couch-to-crazy journey of prepping myself for a half marathon in 31 days.

Day 1 (Mar. 12)

I decide to register. That is met by a positive response from my friends.

“Will you run the half with me?” I ask my friend Julia, an Ohio U undergrad.

“That sounds like work,” she replies. Whatever. I don’t like running with a buddy anyway.

There is an Arby’s delivery in the newsroom, and I am really excited about the sandwich. But in another crazy move, I opt for a spinach salad with strawberries, almonds and feta cheese instead. I’m no longer hungry after eating the salad, but I’m pretty sure I’m not as happy as I would have been after curly fries.

Day 2 (Mar. 13)

I kick off the morning with a nice six-mile run. The only soreness comes from me jamming my shin into my bottom drawer while getting ready for work.

My coworker offers to buy pizza for lunch. I thank him and politely decline: I have a salad and some veggies in the fridge. Wow, it’s like the curly fry regret all over again. At some point, I think a donut is mentioned. I don't pay attention, because I'm still a little sullen about yesterday's Arby's.

Day 23 (Apr. 4)

Every first-time runner needs some tips from fellow runners, so my latest #9Fitness story includes a few tips that I'm finding to be especially helpful as I enter the home stretch of training. Give these 8 tips a read , and let me know what other tips you have for half marathon runners!

Day 25 (Apr. 7)

Surviving the training is the hard part, right? Right? After comfortably getting in my required miles and training on a variety of turfs, I only have 5 days until the big race - and you know what? I feel pretty confident. The forecast looks good for Sunday, and I've looked over the course topography religiously enough to know that the hills I'm conquering now will make this relatively flat half marathon a breeze. This last week is going to be a mix of a few runs, rest, ice, pumped-up jams and mental encouragement and accolades. The countdown is on...

What happens next? Stay tuned for more updates as I prepare for my first half marathon on April 13. And, connect with me on Twitter (@jennyfromthebak ) for more #9Fitness news.

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