“I can’t promise I’ll ever do this again, but it was so worth it.”
Prior to November 19th, 2016, I had never ran more than 10 miles. Two weeks before the race, I had never ran more than 7, and a week before that no more than 5. If you do the math, that means in the last three weeks leading up to my race I went from 5 miles to 10.
This is where I want you to stop doubting you would ever be able to do this, and reread my first paragraph if you’re having second thoughts.
I played soccer in high school and ran track as well (though only short distances). Throughout college I went on leisurely runs by myself or with friends, maxing out at about 3 miles each time. Running any longer than 30 minutes bored me, and quite frankly it hurt. Because after 30 minutes I am tired, and want to stop.
At the persuasion of my boyfriend, I was encouraged to sign up for this half marathon. The race was in November, and I signed up/started training in May. Training over the summer months sucks, but it does wonders. It felt like my body was used to working in overdrive as I sweat and gasped in the relentless heat. As fall approached, and the temperature dropped, the running became easier. The four mile run with a break in the middle turned into six miles without stopping.
I had a 50/50 mix of training by myself and with others, and that is exactly what I’d recommend. Running alone gives you the opportunity to find your pace and rhythm, while running with someone gives you energy and motivation to keep going when your feet are begging you to stop.
The night before the race, a group of us went to Maggiano’s in the city for a pre-race carb overload. The pasta was incredible, and offered the perfect boost of energy. I went to bed around 9:30 that night and was up the next morning at 5:30, ready to rock n’ roll.
The beginning of the race wasn’t bad, as I knew in my mind I had to run the full 13.1 miles. I started to get tired around 6 miles, which is where I lost track of my boyfriend. I RAN THE REMAINING 7 MILES BY MYSELF and will always be so proud of that! I finished in 2 hours and 20 minutes (10 mins behind the bf), which is roughly a 10:45/minute mile pace. My parents and close friends were signed up for text alerts, so even my rents knew three hours away when I made it halfway and finished. The congratulatory texts and calls poured in, and the finish line was the most amazing sight of 2016.
After the race you have to keep moving. Stretch your legs, drink water, walk around, squat and stretch some more. It’s necessary. Then get your ass to a brunch spot and hog out on stuffed French toast like I did!
So that’s my story and how I conquered 13.1 miles. It was not easy, but it was not the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. I may have taken the subsequent month and a half off, but I’m itching to start running again and getting back into shape.
Please share below in the comments if you have a similar story about running your first race! It’s a worthy accomplishment, and you can do it.