Last week I looked at some support groups for widows, just to see what's out there. There was one for people who looked a lot younger than me. There were a couple that had activities such as bowling, bingo, and bridge--none of which I am any good at and am not likely to take up now. There were some for people who looked a lot older than me.

I decided instead to register for a half marathon in my hometown this fall. I stumbled across this opportunity in the back pages of an old Runner's World magazine from last summer, which announced the very first such event (a combo of a 10K, half- and full-marathons) last fall. I discovered it will be repeated this year.

Committing to this particular race seemed appropriate, even though the idea sort of takes my breath away. It's been since last November since I ran with any regularity, so it's not quite like starting over but sort of. I certainly have never run that far, but by the end of the last couple of summers I've been running six miles without trouble. I've picked up a couple of pounds but more disturbing than the pounds is the underwear muffin top, which of course means muffin top with everything. Muffin top means flab, so I don't want to lose pounds as much as I want to lose flab. I like running and want to get back into it with discipline. I am experiencing (or was--I seem better now with some stern mental admonishments) anxiety, for which we all now know exercise is one management technique.

Finally, I wanted to see my hometown/homestate relatives again before I get really busy with all the plans and contingencies I have created as another approach to counter anxiety. I plan to be busy before then, but I can plan around a trip I schedule now in almost all scenarios I can foresee, especially if I plan to travel light and cheap and put the money aside now.

Preparing for this half-marathon will be an adventure I expect to inform and possibly transform my whole life. I know from this last year that life can change without warning. For just this reason, the race sponsor has a special small "stuff happens" fee in case one can't make the race for which she has registered, but can do another put on by that same sponsor. I think that's a really good idea, but my real point is that I'm a little skittish about making plans these days, certainly any plans very far into the future. I can just hear God laughing.

Signing up for this race made me want to get started getting back into shape right away. I will be using the training program from Chi Marathon by Danny Dreyer of Chi Running fame; I am planning to use the beginner's training for a half-marathon which is 16 weeks. I'll have to start that the first of June, so between now and then I just wanted to get back into the routine and build my distance back up. Since then, we have had at least two spring snowstorms (including one right now) and some pretty serious cold and/or wind. I am a sissy about running on ice or in extreme cold, especially windchill. I suppose this weather is considered a roadblock. I will have to have an alternative training plan for such times. There is a gym in my complex I have never used, so I can check that out even though I dislike running on a treadmill. I also have Zumba DVDs, which I can probably jump around to even though I haven't learned the moves yet.

My goal is to be back up to running without walking three miles by the first of May (yikes! two weeks!). I can run and walk that far now, mostly running.

It seems like a new experience, planning events and travel without having to think about DH and how it will affect him. I do have to plan for a kitty sitter, which of course was his job when I was gone in the past. There is no backup anymore, and that is truly a new feeling. Even before I married, there were parents and grandparents for moral and emergency support. They are all gone now.

As I'm writing the end of this post, I have been watching the disturbing breaking news about the explosions at the Boston Marathon. Such news does not make me fearful, it makes me sad and angry and rebellious. My thoughts are with those who were injured and the families of those who were killed.
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