Friday, March 29, 2013

Half Fanatics

After finishing both the Disney Half Marathon and the ING Miami half marathon, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I had now done something that I never really believed that I would be able to do, and while not good at it, every time I was out there I felt myself being challenged in new and exciting ways.

At the ING half marathon, while we were getting ready to go to our starting corrals, my friend Shannon met up with her friend Tracy and some of their other friends who were wearing shirts from a group called Half Fanatics.

At the time I asked about it, and was just basically told that it was a running group for people who enjoy half marathons, and I didnt think much more of it.

Later that morning, around mile 5 of the ING Miami race, I caught up to a man who was wearing a half fanatics singlet. He heard me huffing and puffing (my asthma was acting up and I was just coming off the flu). As a veteran runner who had run dozens of half marathons by following the Galloway interval program, he gave me some tips about how to regulate my breathing. Before he left me behind, I asked him about who half fanatics were. He explained that half fanatics are runners who just may be a little crazy when it comes to running half marathons, and gave me their website. I was intrigued and looked forward to getting home to look them up.

According to their main entry page on their website, one just might be half fanatic material if they answer yes to any of the following:
  • Do your thoughts switch to the next scheduled race immediately after finishing a Half Marathon?
  • Are you signed up for more than one race right now?
  • Do you know specifics about many of the Half Marathons? Dates, courses, years run, etc.?
  • Do you know the story of how the Half Marathon got started?
  • Do you read books on running like Marathon and Beyond?
  • Is book marked on your computer? Do you look at the race schedule more than once a week?
  • Do you start to feel down when you haven't run a race in a while?
  • Are your closets and dressers filled with race t-shirts?
  • When asked about your racing from none running people, do you find yourself talking with great passion to the point that the person that asked the question regrets ever asking?
  • Have you run races on back to back weekends? Or better yet back to back days?
  • Have you run a Half Marathon as a training run? Or just to pace a friend?
  • When asked by loved ones what your plans are for the weekend, you feel guilty telling them your running another half marathon so you tell them "it's only a 10K this weekend"?
  • Do you plan all your vacations around a races? 
While I certainly can't answer yes to all of these questions (like seriously, there is a book called Marathon and Beyond, and it might be important to read?), I felt myself really enjoying the 13.1 mile distance (at least the first 13 miles, because the last point one will getcha!), and easily envisioned 13.1 becoming the distance of choice for my running.

Within this club, the degree of fanaticism is measured in moons, and runners must qualify for their membership. Qualifying at the lowest level of membership is a One Moon membership (or a Neptune level membership) and this is achieved by running either 2 half marathons in 16 days OR 3 half marathons in 90 days.

Well, crap. I actually qualified by running my first 2 half marathons in less than 16 days! I hadn't been so excited in a long time. This was a chance for me to be a part of something much bigger than myself. It excited me almost as much as getting my vest for the varsity ski team in high school, or getting my jacket to go to the National Karate Tournament in 2007. 

This was my chance to (if not be good at something) be the best that I can possibly be at something. This was my chance to join a group of people who would  nurture my desire to better myself. This was a chance for me to find support when my husband or my local running friends couldn't be there for me.

And this was exciting. 

I registered with them and was assigned number 3593. What does registration get me, you might ask? Really, it just amounts to bragging rights. And knowing you have a support system at any half marathon you go to, because even if you go to a race alone, there may be other fanatics there. Because really, Half Fanatics is a group of thousands of running friends that you haven't quite met yet.

I ordered a race singlet, and I anxiously awaited my next half marathon opportunity so that I could proudly wear it, and start meeting new people.

And it wouldn't take long. I'd already signed up for a couple more... because, yeah... I'd already become half marathon crazy.  
Half marathon crazy enough to think that maybe it might be fun to do 13 half marathons (13.1 miles) in 2013. Yeah, my membership to half fanatics came with yet another ridiculous goal. Will I be able to do it?

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