Health & Fitness

My First Half Marathon

Finally… the recap from my first half marathon!
On October 23rd, I ran my first 1/2 marathon in St. Louis, MO. The most important thing? I survived. While my time was anything but stellar, (3:28) I finished. All the training, running, getting up early, it was all worth it.
Something about running with 20,000 other people is just so exciting. The run started downtown facing the Arch. The race began in waves, and you were lumped in corrals with other runners based on your estimated finishing time. It was still dark out when it was time to line up at 6:30am.

I started off at a good pace and finished my first two miles at an 11 minute mile. Honestly the first 9 miles weren’t bad and flew by pretty fast. My goal was to maintain a 13 minute mile throughout the race.
One of the most amazing things about the race was all the support from spectators. Complete strangers were cheering you on and offering words of encouragement. Whether it was waiting at street corners downtown or on their front porch in the suburbs, people were there the entire 13.1. When I found myself getting tired, their hoots, hollers, and signs pushed me further and I found myself having to hold back tears at one point. It was just such a great experience.
And then I hit mile 9. I was ready to be done. In order to push through I counted down the next 3 miles one at a time. I told myself only three more miles. If I could just get to mile 12 then I was almost done. If I could just get to mile 12 I only had 1.1 miles to go. Those next 3 miles were the longest 3 miles ever.
I had expected to get tried, but I thought it would be more of a cardiovascular type tired. You know the out of breath, lungs burn, holy crap I’m running 13.1 miles kinda tired, but for me that never really happened. Where I really started hurting was my hips and calves. By mile 10 I was stopping almost every 1/2 mile to stretch. Keeping my pace was now out of the question. Now it was just about finishing.
Mile 11.5-12.5 were huge hills. Who does this? Hills at the end is just cruel. I wanted to cry. I told myself I was never doing this again. I was going to die. They are going to have to come pick me up in a golf cart. I can’t make it. I’m not running into the finish line. I’m honestly walking through the finish line and I don’t care what anyone thinks.

And then I saw it. The 12.1 mile marker. 1 mile left to go and I had never been so happy in my life. And what do ya know? My legs started picking up the pace and before you know it I was running across the finish. I had done it. And I was so proud and so glad to be done.

Even though the race was over, I still had to walk to my family. I literally thought I could not walk anymore. I just wanted to sit down and never get up again. Ben was so happy to see me and he told me that he kept saying, “run mommy run” the whole time.

I had expected to be sore the next couple of days, but the race day was the worst of all. So what did I learn from all of this?
I will never love running. People always say that once you do it you’ll start loving it and want to do it all the time. Not true for me.
If I set my mind to do something I can do it. It wasn’t easy, but I did it.
Despite what I thought at miles 9-13, I will do this again. Because although I don’t love running, I do love the atmosphere surrounding races and I love feeling strong and having a goal to train for.

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