The day has finally come that I can say I am now a half marathoner! I can’t believe this journey has been completed. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t really sure I could even finish a half marathon. I set this goal for myself last fall and have been training since March. It’s been quite the roller coaster. There were many days that I thought of giving up, but regardless of how I did at the actual race, I knew that training hard for such a big challenge would be good for me.
On Sunday I woke up bright and early at 4:30am, ate some oatmeal, drank some coffee and watched an episode of The Office before leaving for the race at 6:30. The race started at 7am. I didn’t use an iPod so I could focus on my breathing and stride, and it was just one more thing to deal with during the race. I hit every water station along the way up until the last couple miles. I alternated between water and gatorade to maintain a steady stream of hydration and replenish my body with carbohydrates and electrolytes. I thought I would have to take a walk break or stop at a bathroom at some point throughout the raced but I didn’t stop even once! Many people started the race running as fast as possible (I know it was too fast for them cause I saw a lot of them walking by mile 2!) but I concentrated on starting at a manageable pace and maintaining it throughout. On most of my long training runs I averaged 10+ minutes per mile, but my average pace during the race was around 9:25 min/mile. I was very encouraged to see that I could maintain a pace faster than 10 mins/mile. Although I ran the race alone, I had many supporters that stopped to see me along the way. My mom and sister were walking in the half marathon so I didn’t see them at all, but I saw my dad at two points throughout the race. M saw me around mile 3 and 4 and then jumped into the race around mile 9 and ran with me til mile 12. Then he jumped out and let me finish the race on my own. It was great having that little extra support when I was starting to run out of steam a little bit.
I ran it in at the end and finished in 2:02:19! I can’t believe I did it and I did it much faster than I had anticipated. It feels great to have accomplished my goal. I remember three years ago, as a spectator of the race, I made the goal to run a 5k at some point in my life. Even that seemed like a lofty goal. Looking back I can really see how far I’ve come and it gives me inspiration to keep going. I don’t know exactly what my next challenge will be, but improving my time for next year will definitely be a goal. I think I will set my sights on improving my time from last year’s Santa Scamper 1 mile road run in November. I’m not sure if I’m going to keep blogging that much either. But it has been a great journey and I’m very pleased with the results. Thank you to everyone who reads my blog and has supported me along the way. I appreciate all of you!