My First Half Marathon Finish

Goal: Finish a Half Marathon

I started this year saying it was my year to be fearless and conquer my first half marathon. I accomplished that goal on Saturday August 23,2014! I didn’t just finish it, but I finished it well! My time for the 13.1 miles through a course full of rolling hills was 2 hours and 16 minutes.  I learned a lot about myself during this race.10374447_702624669080_1012517932516174359_n

Confident in my Training

I knew that the training I had done up until this point had physically prepared me for what I was going to endure during the race. I felt prepared and was in a great place mentally. It was foggy, and humidity was at 100% which is worse than the temperature that day of 80 degrees. The air was thick, so breathing was somewhat more difficult than normal. The race started at 6:30 A.M. This was nice, so we missed most of the sun during the race. Around mile ten, the sun was beating down, but there were a lot of trees and shade along that part of the course. I had a belt on with some extra Gatorade to drink in between water stations.

Race Day Play by Play

Mile 1: Slow and steady finishes the race. This was my thought at the beginning. I knew I had to hold a comfy pace so I could finish. Starting out too fast would have been a big mistake.

Mile 2: I always feel good when I finish mile 2. This was just about me loosening up. I had a water station here. My strategy at the water stations was to stop, and walk quickly while I finished the small cup of water, then start running again. I did this for most of the water stations.

Mile 3: I always feel good at the start of mile 3. I was trying to wrap my mind around the hills though. I don’t train in hills, so this was something new for my body. I just kept going.

Mile 4-Mile 5 : I felt strong, solid, and comfy. My legs felt awesome at this point. There was a water station at mile 4. This time the cups had gatorade in them.

Mile 6: I could feel a slight leg cramp in my right calf. It wasn’t terrible, so I decided to run through it. I knew I was almost half way which is always an exciting point in a race. My body was cooperating nicely at this point. I also hit a water station, and was able to get hydrated. I knew I had to press on hard, and stay at this pace if I wanted to hit my goal of 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Mile 7-9: I don’t remember any details. I just kept running, and I remember  feeling relieved I was on my way back to the finish line. The sun was starting to beat down on us.

Mile 10: Water station first, and then I remember running next to a lady who had a nice pace going. We didn’t talk,but knowing I wasn’t alone made the run even better. I knew at this point that I was going to have a medal soon, and that I would be able to finish strong.

Mile 11: I stopped thinking. I kept my head up and just kept looking at the scenery around me. I was starting to get physically tired, and knew I had to kick up my pace a little.

Mile 12: This was the worst mile of the whole race. I was tired, and thirsty and beat down. I knew in order to meet my goal of 2 hours and 15 minutes, I had to speed up a lot. I felt like I still had some energy in me and dug deep.  Meanwhile, my friend who had already finished the race, came back to finish with me. He didn’t say much, but he ran next to me. He had to have been exhausted, as he ran his first half in 1 hour and 55 minutes. He kept going with me, all the way to the finish. I ran hard, and I finished my race at a pace that was 2 minutes faster than my pace the entire race.

The Finish Line

BEST FEELING EVER! I finished! I didn’t hit my goal, I missed it by a minute, but how can I be upset with that!? I earned my medal and was now an official half-marathon finisher. Never in my life did I ever think I was capable of doing something like this. It made me see that I can do whatever I put my mind to.

While this may have been the end of my first half marathon, I know it is the just the beginning.  Next on my list is my full marathon! I continue to train knowing that if I train hard, then I will finish well.

What is something you have always wanted to do, but never dreamed you could actually do?   Make a goal, have a plan, and execute it. You can do it!