It takes alot of guts to sign up for a long distance run, like a half or full marathon. 13 and 26 miles are nothing to sneeze at. For those of us not blessed with speed are looking at running for 2 hours plus for a half marathon and 4 hours for a full. A grueling experience to say the least, to have the guts to say I want to experience it takes alot. So Laura deserves alot of credit.
It takes alot of commitment to get geared up for it, including, long runs on the weekend, tempo runs during the week and maybe speedwork once a week. Tough stuff. I am looking at the Broad Street Run this Weekend, 10 miles of fun. My ten mile experience last Sunday was grueling. The course will be easier for the Race but it is tough once you get above 8 miles, or atleast that is true for me.
Like Laura I plan on registering for, and running in, a half marathon for the fall. Laura picked up a book on the prep required and there are alot out there. I like Hal Higdon's book on marathon training. I found his advice very helpful and it gives you a complete idea of what to expect during training. Runnersworld.com also has an interactive program that allows you to put in your race length and time of training and comes out with a program for you. It is nice but I like something a bit more detailed.
I wish LJ the best in her training and hope to hear from her on her results and trials during her training. Good Luck.