My first half-marathon EVER!

Before I do my recap of my very first half-marathon, I want to point out three things:

  1. Before this race, my last race was a 5K in high school–approximately 10 years ago.
  2. As of Jan. 1st of this year, I couldn’t run more than 5 minutes without stopping.
  3. The fastest mile I have ever run EVER, was 8:50 in 6th grade (yes, sixth grade)

Half Marathon PR Time

2:24:40

(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!

half marathon 198x300 My first half marathon EVER!

Yes, that’s right. My very first finish-line photo and I CLOSE MY EYES!!

Can’t win’em all I guess.

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.

Mile 1-3

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.

Mile 4-8

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.

Mile 9-10

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.

Mile 11-12

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.

Mile 13.1

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.

half marathon 2 My first half marathon EVER!

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.

half marathon 3 My first half marathon EVER!

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.

People sometimes ask “Why do you run?” …well, this is why I run:

 eat1 My first half marathon EVER!

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42 thoughts on “My first half-marathon EVER!

  1. May 16, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Yayyyyy! You did it. CONGRATULATIONS :-) You should be so proud. You rock girl!

  2. May 14, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Great post! I just signed up for my first half marathon as well and was looking for some inspiration…. I too am a newlywed and love your blog. It’s nice to know I am not alone navigating through the craziness that comes with budgeting, combining household incomes and still making sure your relationship survives.

  3. May 12, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Good for you! I ran my first one in 2007, and have been hooked every since. Work at it bit by bit, and if you want it, you’ll get to 2 hours. Breaking 2 hours is my goal for this year, my current PR is 2:03:57… so close!!

    Congratulations on a huge accomplishment!

  4. May 12, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Congratulations! That’s such a huge accomplishment and very inspiring!

  5. May 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Congrats!! This is quite an accomplishment. You ought to be proud. Don’t forget to celebrate with your hubby. It’s very important to celebrate every success no matter how small or big it is.

  6. May 11, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Congratulations – this is not an easy feat. I hate running and prefer windsprints because they take less time :)

  7. May 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    that was such a great read! congrats! you look beautiful as you’re about to dig into that delicious plate of goodness. do you have a training method/plan you’ll be using to cut your time?

  8. May 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Congrats Erika!! This is so amazing!

    INTERNET HIGH FIVE!

    I’ve just recently started trying to get into running, in the past couple of weeks, and this is such an inspiration. I’m terrible at running, but I’m trying to build up my endurance. In a moment of insanity, I totally agreed to do a 5K this summer, and I don’t think I’ve ever run more than 1K without stopping in my LIFE…and that just about killed me. Haha. Gotta get training.

  9. May 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    First, love your post-race celebration outfit. You look adorable!

    I am really impressed that you’ve done all that training since Jan. 1. It makes me think that we are all selling ourselves a little short in the goals/personal fitness category!!!! What an inspiration!

  10. May 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Well done; and not bad time at all. As to running, a friend of mine who is from Trinidad keeps telling me that she can’t undertand this running without being chased business. I still keep going – running Lausanne marathon this autumn to celebrate my birthday.

  11. May 10, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Way to go! That’s a great time for your first half! My goal for my next one in June is to go 2:30:00. Not sure if I can do it, but I’m going to try. I’m super slow. :-)

    And I totally hear ya about the food! Being able to indulge without guilt is the best part about running ;-) Is that a giant Dutch Baby?

  12. May 10, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Awesome job!!! Whatever you are eating looks so good. I’m planning on doing my first 5k since high school and want to be doing half/full marathon soon after so I’ll just keep on doing what I do now. I love running even though by nature I’m a lazy person.

  13. May 10, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Way to go, Erika!! I’m planning on training for my first half, too, and TOTALLY freaked out but excited at the same time. Wish we lived closer so we could run together. :-)

  14. May 10, 2012 at 9:06 am

    This is a very beautiful and interesting article
    The most glamorous one i have read today!

  15. May 10, 2012 at 8:55 am

    That’s so awesome. What an awesome goal to accomplish. Running seems almost as much a mental test of endurance as it is physical. That bowl of deliciousness at the bottom-don’t know what it is but it looks good.

  16. May 10, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Congrats ERIKA!!!!!!! That is an amazing accomplishment, and I’m proud of ya! I’m the same way when it comes to running… I like it, but hate those times when I feel like I’m dying, but I do it so I can eat or I do it because I eat a lot of junk.

    Btw, is that pic with the pancake from Original Pancake House? If so, I’ve been wanting to go there!!!

    Hopefully we can run a 5k together some time :) I don’t know if I can do a halfie yet!

  17. May 10, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Congrats!! wow! what an accomplishment. I’m sure you’ll remember that one forever.

  18. May 10, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Congrats! This is so inspiring! My first 10k is in a week and a half, I’m so excited and nervous. I’m planning on doing a half marathon this time next year, seeing this post got me really excited about that. You rock!

  19. Kim
    May 10, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Congrats!!!! You should be so proud of yourself! You ran a half marathon in the same time it took me to run 10 miles!!!! Well done.

  20. May 10, 2012 at 5:19 am

    Wow, I am SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!! You did amazing!!! I am so so impressed. Love that last pic of you, so cute ;-) Congrats!!

  21. May 9, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    I am soooooo happy and proud! It sounds like you had a great first race (all that pain and misery is to be expected, obvs) and I’m so excited you’ve got another one already lined up. :) Awesome job, girl!

  22. May 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    This is a fantastic accomplishment! You should be so proud of yourself. I also workout so I can eat really good food and sweets. It’s totally worth it! :)

  23. May 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Great job! Congratulations to you! All that hard work paying off.

    I highly recommend epsom salt baths after long runs. It really helps. You need to put in a good 1-2 cups in the bath water and stir it around so it dissolves.

  24. May 9, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Amazing!!!! I am so happy for you! Congrats on a great time and a strong finish =)

  25. May 9, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Great, great, GREAT job on the half marathon!!

    I remember my first one (a couple of years ago) – and what a feeling, crossing that finish line…and having COMPLETED it!! (oh…and the soreness, too…I know that one as well!)

    Here’s to an awesome summer ahead, training for October!!

  26. May 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Oh You look great girl!!! Good for you! So proud of you!!

  27. kim
    May 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Congratulations! When I ran my first (and only) half marathon, I went through the exact same things! And mile 12 was uphill (evil evil course planners). But the beer, donuts and pizza at the end were so unbelievably wonderful. 2:24 is a damn good time! Looks like you’ve got the running bug!

  28. May 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Congrats times a million on the PR/finish!!! :) Just keep running, there are always going to be struggles but each race gets better and better :) :) <3

  29. May 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Yay! Congrats girl! What an accomplishment.

    And yes, I run so I can eat too. :)

  30. Ana
    May 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Oh my, congrats!!!

  31. LBC Teacher
    May 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Awesome!! Btw, the 5k got measured wrong, it was only 2.7 miles, and finding people after was a nightmare! I hated the organization, but I’m so excited for you! I’ll probably run something in long beach too, so let’s look for each other in the crowd!

  32. Lily
    May 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Congraulations! I ran my first half marathon on Saturday as well….and I hope you feel just as elated! And please tell me what that delicious item on your plate is.

  33. May 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    OH my gosh, I remember when you signed up, and now YOU DID IT! Way to go girl! I’m proud ;) But seriously, it’s HARD WORK. We ran about a 13 min/mile, which I think was awesome for our first half marathon. I don’t care what they say, completing it was totally a hard core achievement.

    I completely agreed with every single explanation you gave. I felt exactly the same at each point in the run. We started walking around mile 12.

    I love that you’ve already signed up for another, we’d so be there if they weren’t so expensive annnnnnd if we’d been running… you know, at all lately!

    Keep up the great work!

  34. May 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Congrats! Sounds like a difficult but rewarding first half marathon! If you want a sub-2:00 finish, you’ll get there. It just takes time. For now, you should just relish in your achievement. Way to go!*

  35. May 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I am so proud of you. I can’t wait to tell my friends I know another woman how does half marathons. I hope you ATE IT ALLLLLLL!!!

    Congrats
    Congrats
    Congrats.

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