Before I do my recap of my very first half-marathon, I want to point out three things:
- Before this race, my last race was a 5K in high school–approximately 10 years ago.
- As of Jan. 1st of this year, I couldn’t run more than 5 minutes without stopping.
- The fastest mile I have ever run EVER, was 8:50 in 6th grade (yes, sixth grade)
Half Marathon PR Time
(Yes, I totally get to say this is a PR)
For the past 4 months, I trained for my first half-marathon ever. I was not a runner. Running is still very hard for me–you can read about how much I struggled with running at the beginning. But I signed up for a half-marathon because I love proving myself wrong.
I actually wrote “run a half marathon” as one of my 2011 goals but I quickly crossed it out because I was too scared that I was setting myself up for failure. Well, failure no more, because I am officially a half-marathon runner!
As I woke up at 4 a.m. Sunday morning, I thought to myself: What kind of an idiot pays to run and get up at 4 a.m.? *This girl!*
I had to sit through 30 minutes of traffic just to park my car. Then I had to get shuttled on a bus with other people to the start of the race. It sucked–I couldn’t carry anything with me so I had to freeze my little butt off. I even had to tie my car key around my shoe lace.
I was super nervous going into this race. There were several times I asked myself what the hell I had been thinking. But I paid my damn $80 and I was going to at least try to run this race.
The first three miles flew by. I knew I was running faster than my normal pace but I couldn’t slow down. Then when I caught glimpse of the 2:30 pacers, I made it my mission to stick with them. I was almost positive that they were in the corral ahead of me though (meaning they started before I did), but I wasn’t sure. I decided to stick with them just in case.
I was feeling pretty good all the way through mile 8. I think 8 miles is a perfect long distance run for me. I would have scoffed at 8 miles four months ago, but I really like running that distance now.
I started slowing down at miles 9-10, while still trying to keep the pacers within my site. I had grabbed water or gatorade at every station and felt fine but I was getting tired.
At mile 11, I felt like I hit a wall. The saying: “So close but yet so far away” seems like it was based off mile 11 in a half marathon race. I knew the end was so near. Up to this point , the only time I had stopped to walk was during two minor hills. At the middle of mile 11, I couldn’t take it anymore and I walked. All of a sudden, I could feel all the pain. The sides of my thighs were killing me. It hurt to walk and hurt even more when I lost sight of the 2:30 pacers.
When I reached mile 12, I walked and half-jogged. By the middle of mile 12, I forced myself to keep jogging. I told myself it was almost over, that I could do it, that I was almost done. It definitely became more of a mental thing, and fighting through the pain.
When I saw the mile 13 marker, I knew I only had a tenth of a mile to go. I had had these high hopes of sprinting through the end, like I had done in high school during 5K finishes. At this point, it was taking everything in me not to walk. But I pushed myself and I can honestly say I sprinted, even if it was only probably a 12 minute pace at this point.
And I did it. I finished. And I pulled over at the end, and almost started hyperventilating. I wanted to cry–I think I did a little bit.
I tried to walk but everything hurt. I mean, EVERYTHING.
It’s three days post-race now, and I am STILL sore. After the half-marathon I went to get a massage, and I think it helped, but I still walked around like a mannequin the next day, trying everything possible not to bend my legs.
Am I happy with how I did?
I had no expectations for my finish time. Three weeks ago, I was thinking I could maybe shoot for a 2:30 but after my hip flexor injury and not training properly the three weeks before the race, I would have been happy breaking a 2:45. Knowing I got a 2:24 (an 11:03 average pace per mile), I was thrilled.
I’m the kind of person that likes to set my goals low, so that when I actually surpass my goal, I can be thrilled with the results, rather than sad that I didn’t do better.
So what’s next?
I am going to keep running. My next half marathon isn’t until October 7th in Long Beach and I have a long time to train. I’m going to work on speed this time. As much as I hate–like seriously, loathe–pushing myself, I want to one day be able to break 2 hours, which is a little bit more than a 9 minute per mile pace. Considering my fastest time ever was 8:50, it’s going to take me a while to get to a nine minute pace…
I never thought that I could be a person that says they enjoy running, but honestly, I do. Some days it’s more of a struggle than others, and I am by NO means fast, but it calms me down. To this day, the first mile is always the hardest.