Thursday, October 11, 2012

I did it! Musings of a Half-Marathon Runner

After twelve weeks of training...

I did it!!!! I ran 13.1 miles and lived! Hooray! 

Morning of the Race 

Nervous as ever. I really felt prepared for the race, but my body was kind of freaking out on me. For breakfast, the hubs and I had a bagel with peanut butter and a protein smoothie. I was surprised I could even eat as early as it was and as nervous as I felt. We parked, and got to the start line area - total chaos of people walking around and it was freeeezing! It was about 53 degrees, give or take, and I was cold! This made me even more nervous because then is started questioning my clothing choices and wondered if it would make the run harder. After we waited in line for a long time to use a lovely port-a-potty, we lined up for the race. They organize people by pace time (ex: 9-min mile pace). We got into our designated spot, but people just kept piling in. I started to feel like sardines in a can right before the race started. There was hardly room for me to turn around. There were over 6,000 people at this race!

And they're off! 

When we started to move, at first all we could was walk because we were still too close to everyone else. But when I started to run, it was the most surreal feeling in the world. I was like, Okay, I'm running. Wait! I'm running! It was just so odd because I had thought about this race in my head so many times - and there it was, in reality, happening. The first five miles of the race went really well. We had really good pace, but then we had to stop for another port-o-potty around mile 6. This threw us off a little because stopping and then starting again is so hard. I also had to wait in line to go to the bathroom, which was awkward to run for 6 miles and then just stop suddenly. We picked it up a little again, but miles 11 and 12 were pretty rough. Mile 13 seemed to last forevver because this particular mile winded runners through a zoo, and there were all these loops and turns. It was also really narrow in spots, so it took runners longer to get through at that point.

Weird Race Things 

I can't really come up with a better heading than that, but there are some "weird" things about races like this that I didn't expect or realize, and just some other cool facts.
  • Volunteers provide water and Gatorade. At this race, it was every two miles. The volunteers just stand holding a cup out to their side, waiting for someone to grab it. It was so weird to just grab a cup of liquid from someone and keep running! It seemed rude, but that's just the way it works. 
  • Then after you drink the water/Gatorade, you can just throw the cup wherever you please! 
  • There's photographers. I didn't realize this before hand. It didn't bother me at all, but you'd see one and be like, Oh, I bet that was a great picture... when I wasn't paying attention. Yes, they caught some lovely pictures of me. No, you can't see them. 
  • Other people didn't get in my way at all. I was expecting to be cut off or trampled or something, but it was all fine.


We finished in about 2 hour and 19 minutes. This is definitely not a fast time, but it was better than I was expecting. I am actually thrilled with that time because it's less than 2 hours and 30 minutes, which is what I thought I would run it in. I am just so glad I finished. I could care less about the time!

I will say, the one bad thing about the race was stopping. Oh. My Goodness. My body was just screaming What did you just do to me?!?! I kind of wished I never had to stop, just to avoid that feeling... Right where we stopped, there was also a medic tent with tons of people getting ice bags taped to them, which just made me feel even worse, like all of us runners were broken or something. Both the hubs and I agreed that we felt "broken" afterward. But volunteers also gave us medals, and then we got to walk through a bunch of tents of free stuff, so it wasn't that bad.

Among the free stuff, they had bagels, bananas, trail mix, Power Bars, granola, and probably some other stuff I didn't see. And of course tons of water and Gatorade. I can honestly say the Gatorade I had afterward was the best Gatorade of my life. Never had any tasted so good!The broken feeling did go away after the Gatorade, a banana, and a Power Bar. :)

Why it was Awesome 

Honestly, it was a great race. Nothing went wrong. Imagine that! My shoes never came untied. I never got too hot. And the cold went away after about two miles. The weather was actually perfect - no rain, not hot, not freezing after a bit. My iPod magically played all my favorite songs, and the music really kept me going. The hubs ran by me as much as he could (I am a wee bit slower than he). When I felt like my legs were going to give out, I kept going. When I saw mile 12, I got a huge rush just thinking about how close I was to the finish line. When I saw mile 13, I was overjoyed! The hubs and I finished the race holding hands with our arms in the air!

Overall, the race was like nothing I ever could have predicted. It was actually very different than I thought it would be. I had twelve weeks to envision the race, but what the race was actually like was so much cooler and not as scary as I envisioned. This race proved to me that I can do it. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I can push myself that far. When most the time my mind is saying Stop! I don't want to do this! or my body feels like it can't possibly go further, I remember that I am in the one in control - I am the one with the power inside me. The completion of the race gives me so much power and hope for my future progress. If I can commit to twelve weeks of training and running an awesome race - I can do anything then, right? That's how I feel anyway: empowered. Strong. Determined.

Of course, now that I've done it, I've already been asked if I would do another one. My answer is: absolutely. If I can do it one, I can definitely do it again, and hopefully better than before. Would I do a full marathon? I'm still not convinced on that one!

Have you run a half-marathon? Would you ever want to if you haven't before?


  1. Great job! Congrats! I'm glad that I found your blog -- we do have a lot in common!


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