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Training for the El Paso Half Marathon

Training+for+the+El+Paso+Half+Marathon

The El Paso Marathon has been one of El Paso’s biggest events for the past 17 years, as it is a qualifier for major U.S. and World Marathons, including the Boston Marathon, the New York Marathon and the London Marathon.  

Some veteran runners take on intense training plans rather than taking workouts one day at a time, but becoming a runner is no easy feat.  I began my training in the summer of 2016, for the cross- country team at Cathedral High School.  

My best memories from high school came from my cross-country team, who pushed me harder than I thought I could go. Up until my senior year, I did not take the sport seriously, but more as an excuse to work out and get in better shape with my friends.   

Senior year was most memorable for me, because I became someone the younger guys looked up to. I pushed myself harder than before, even running a race with one spike on after the other came undone from the terrible laces that came with them. Needless to say, I replaced the laces with those from an old pair of spikes and had a good season, running three out of town races that year.   

The Nike Desert Twilight XC Meet in 2019 was my fastest of the season, at 17:23.77 for the 5K. The 2019 TAPPS State Meet was my best, because although it was not my fastest time, it was good considering it took place on a hilly golf course in Waco, Texas. I ran 17:36.7, placing 17th overall and leading the Cathedral cross-country team to a 4th place finish. The final major cross-country race was Nike South in 2019, where I placed 206 out of 833, with a time of 17:47.57.  

Track season was great as well, as I was running sub-five minutes for the mile, and sub-eleven for the two-mile run. I was projected to run these events at both the TAPPS regional and state meets, until the U.S. was ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the few weeks following spring break, I kept running on my own until regionals and state were officially cancelled.   

I took a break from running for a while during the pandemic and fell out of shape. I would only go on runs for a few miles, but rarely did anything more than six, never maintaining a daily routine. I had a change of heart in these past few months, realizing that I had been running more for my mental health than physical.  

Now that the El Paso marathon loomed, training for the half marathon involved getting back in decent running shape. After my classes, although not daily, I would park at the UTEP Recreational Center, leave my things inside in a locker and run in the neighborhoods around Mission Hills and Madeline Parks, making my way up the Billy Rogers Arroyo and down Rim Road back to the recreational center. I knew my arms had thinned out too, so I would do upper body weights as well. This became my routine, as I would end up with about six or seven miles.   

Running the half marathon Feb. 12 was a big step up for me, but spirits were high, and my nerves were nonexistent. My original goal was to finish in under two hours and my loose mentality helped me achieve the goal, running a time of 1:34:21, winning first in the 20-24 age group. I performed a lot better than expected, as I easily settled in with the playlist I had made during training, containing mainly 90s grunge bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.  

Post-race was not easy, as I am currently still recovering from the brutality of running that distance, which was almost double what I had been running in the past few months. I ignored my legs during the run, as the last three miles were physically the hardest. My goal was to run eight-minute miles minimum, but I ended up running 7:15, pushing myself a lot harder than I thought was possible.  

Any form of running is not meant for everyone, but for those who are willing to try it, it takes more than physical strength. Mental strength is important and the sport itself gives strength to the mind and heart. What worked for me was listening to music during the run, as it kept my mind occupied, erasing any doubts from my mind.   

Although I will likely never be as fast as I was in high school, I am always going to strive to be faster and stronger than I am today.   

Nicholas Maes may be reached at [email protected] 

 

 

 

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About the Contributor
Nicholas Maes
Nicholas Maes, Editor-in-Chief
Nicholas Maes is the editor-in-chief for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in history with a minor in commercial music. He plans to continue his academic career in history after earning his bachelor's degree.
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Training for the El Paso Half Marathon