I write a lot about following your dreams, stretching yourself and facing your fears on this blog. That’s because I believe that in order to be truly great and live life to the fullest, we should be continually improving and challenging ourselves. Back around the beginning of the year, I set goals for 2013 and encouraged you to do the same. One of my goals was completed this weekend … On Saturday, May 4, 2013 at approximately 10:45 a.m. ET, I completed my first half marathon.
I feel AMAZING and so proud of myself for actually accomplishing this goal. This goal that really scared me because I had no prior running experience to speak of and wasn’t quite sure I’d really be able to do it. One thing I was sure of was that if I declared running a half marathon as one of my goals and shared it with all of you, I would HAVE to do it if only for my pride. And, I DID. Here’s how it went down …
I trained for about 6 weeks. I did a couple shorter runs and then one really long run on the weekends. The transformation that happened in this training still amazes me. I want from not being able to run a couple miles without walking intervals to running 3 miles, 7 miles and finally (race day) 11.1 miles without stopping to walk. That just demonstrates the power of training and practice.
I should have trained more but it just didn’t work out that way. I would definitely recommend more training if you’re aspiring to do a half marathon. I know my body is going to take longer to recover and I have a bit of a hip injury now that I’m sure could have been prevented with a couple more long runs.
I received some great advice from a random lady at Target that stuck with me …
- She said, “The key to running a half is to not stop. Even when you’re grabbing a drink from a refueling station, just grab it and keep running. If you stop, you’re done.” I decided that would be my approach for race day.
- Also, I got advice from my sister-in-law, Melissa, who has run plenty of races. She said, “Just do what it takes to finish. Run, walk, whatever. Just enjoy the race and don’t feel bad if you have to walk.” SO my technique was to follow advice from Target lady but revert to Melissa’s advice, as a backup plan, without feeling guilty.
Race day came more quickly than I thought it would and the day before I really thought I would barf. I waited until the day before the race to look at the route because I didn’t want to freak out about it. I’m glad I waited. OMG. It looked so long and covered so much area that I was basically taking a tour of Columbus from dowtown, to OSU, through the Short North into the Arena District, back through downtown, into German Village and finally back downtown. Here’s what the route looked like:
The morning of the race, I was able to eat a little bit … I made a shake with almond butter, frozen bananas and coconut milk. The weather was absolutely perfect — a little chilly in the morning and then sunny, clear and mid-50-60’s during the race. I prefer it to be a little chilly/cool when I run so I don’t feel like I’m over heating so I was really thankful. Honestly, if it had been really hot I’m not sure I could have done it because I hadn’t trained as much as I thought I would.
Here’s a breakdown of how I was feeling by mile:
Miles 1-4: “This is fun! I can do this. Mind over matter. I’m so glad there are lots of distractions like bands, DJs and people cheering us on!”
Miles 4-5: “OK feeling good. I even have some bursts of energy. I’m so glad I made a kick-butt playlist!”
Mile 6: “Alright, I can see the city again, that means I’m almost halfway. Just don’t stop. Keep moving. Keep breathing.”
Mile 7: “Um, these miles are starting to seem longer. I can’t believe this is just Mile 7. I thought for sure it was 8 …”
Mile 8: “Uh … this is officially hard. I’m getting tired.”
Mile 9: “I need a refueling station. Where are the bands? What mile is this? I’m tired.”
Mile 10: “OK this is mile 10! I can do this. I can run the whole thing. This is really, really hard. Just keep breathing. Keep moving.”
Mile 11: “OK I think it’s time to walk some … Maybe I can push a little longer. This SUCKS.”
Mile 11.1: “I need to walk. I’m proud of myself for making it this far and now I will walk a bit. Holy crap walking is harder than running. OMG. My legs feel like someone pumped them full of heavy jello. I think I’m going to cry. OK no crying. I want to cry. This feels horrible. Walking is WORSE than running.”
Mile 12: “Alright, back to some running. I can see the finish line up ahead. I can do this. Run for a while and then walk. I got this. I’m almost there. I can do this. I will make it.”
Mile 12.6ish: “I can do this. Just keep running. Run faster because there’s not much left. Don’t cry. Just run. Finish strong.”
13.1 – SUCCESS.
As I reached the last .1 miles of my journey, everyone was cheering and surrounding me and I ran all out. It felt amazing and exhausting at the same time. What an experience! I finished with a time of 2:45:47 with an average time of 12:40 minutes per mile.
- I now consider myself a runner.
- I don’t hate running anymore.
- I’m on my way to being a gazelle.
- I am a champion.
I couldn’t have done it without …
YOU. You shared in the journey and saw my updates on Facebook and here on the blog. Thank you for bring part of my accountability and encouraging me through sharing your stories and experiences. It’s been really, really cool.
- What goals have you accomplished so far this year?
- Are you working toward your goals?
I’m proof that when you set out to do something and accomplish it, you are left feeling like a champion. And, that’s exactly what you are.