My first half-marathon EVER!

by Erika Torres

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


(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.Β  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.

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.

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.

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homegym July 28, 2015 - 9:50 am

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[…] was the year I ran two half-marathons and took barre classes. But then I got bored–as I usually do with workout […]

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[…] have signed up for the Long Beach Half Marathon October 7th. Today is the official start day of the 10-week training plan. This time, I won’t be alone. Eric will be running too!! And so will three more of my […]

Babybluewater May 16, 2012 - 7:32 pm

Yayyyyy! You did it. CONGRATULATIONS πŸ™‚ You should be so proud. You rock girl!

Ashly May 14, 2012 - 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.

SB @ One Cent At A Time May 14, 2012 - 4:36 am

Congratulations, I know I can’t even run 1/4th marathon. Great achievement!

Kris @ BalancingMoneyandLife May 12, 2012 - 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!

Lisa May 12, 2012 - 5:10 pm

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

Shilpan May 12, 2012 - 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.

John | Married (with Debt) May 11, 2012 - 7:03 am

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

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Jessica @ Budget For Health May 10, 2012 - 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?

Melissa May 10, 2012 - 5:38 pm

Congrats Erika!! This is so amazing!


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.

Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals May 10, 2012 - 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!

maria@moneyprinciple May 10, 2012 - 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.

Stevie May 10, 2012 - 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. πŸ™‚

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

bogofdebt May 10, 2012 - 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.

Tabitha May 10, 2012 - 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. πŸ™‚

GED Online May 10, 2012 - 9:06 am

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

CeCe @Frugalista Married May 10, 2012 - 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.

shopping2saving May 10, 2012 - 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 πŸ™‚ I don’t know if I can do a halfie yet!

Paul @ The Frugal Toad May 10, 2012 - 7:09 am

Congrats! What a great accomplishment!

Emily May 10, 2012 - 6:37 am

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

Jordann @ My Alternate Life May 10, 2012 - 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!

Kim May 10, 2012 - 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.

jobo May 10, 2012 - 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 πŸ˜‰ Congrats!!

Travis @debtChronicles May 10, 2012 - 3:05 am

WAY TO GO!!!! πŸ™‚

Sarah OUaL May 9, 2012 - 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. πŸ™‚ Awesome job, girl!

Careful Cents May 9, 2012 - 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! πŸ™‚

Little Lamb May 9, 2012 - 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.

Teacher Girl May 9, 2012 - 7:03 pm

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

Lance May 9, 2012 - 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!!

Shannon May 9, 2012 - 6:47 pm

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

kim May 9, 2012 - 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!

Heidi May 9, 2012 - 6:21 pm

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

justrealhappy May 9, 2012 - 5:41 pm

Yay! Congrats girl! What an accomplishment.

And yes, I run so I can eat too. πŸ™‚

Ana May 9, 2012 - 5:14 pm

Oh my, congrats!!!

LBC Teacher May 9, 2012 - 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!

Michelle May 9, 2012 - 5:09 pm

Good job!

Lily May 9, 2012 - 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.

Adrienne May 9, 2012 - 4:23 pm

OH my gosh, I remember when you signed up, and now YOU DID IT! Way to go girl! I’m proud πŸ˜‰ 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!

Army Amy* May 9, 2012 - 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!*

Jai Catalano May 9, 2012 - 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!!!



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