Monday, June 4, 2012

She knows she can run a half marathon

You know the feeling of satisfaction you get when you cross an item off of a list? That was me on Sunday, x 100. A few years ago I set the goal to run a half marathon by the time I turned 30, and this past weekend, I accomplished that goal 4.5 years ahead of schedule.

Three months of training finally paid off. I’ll admit, I wasn’t strict to my training plan and missed a lot of runs. But I also completed a lot of them. I have been running since I was in track & field in junior high, but never to this extent. The training program encouraged me to run 3-5 times per week, varying in distance and pace. While I ignored the suggestions for pace, I ran as fast as I could each day which sometimes meant a 9-minute mile and other times meant closer to 12. I learned that I could run different distances, that I wasn’t a failure if I couldn’t go faster than 10 minutes per mile and that some days were good and some weren’t and that was okay.

As the weekend approached, I realized this was all becoming real. With a Saturday night carbed-out meal and an early bed time, I felt the jitters for the next day. Then Sunday came, and I felt oddly more calm. I started out toward the back of the pack and felt at ease as I crossed the start line, listening to The Naked and Famous. The first mile was the easiest mile ever, I couldn’t believe it passed so fast.

Then after mile 3, the faster-paced runners were looping around so I got to pass my boyfran Zebulon, and friends Leigh, David and Micah as I ran to the turnaround. Miles 3-6 really felt like nothing. I couldn’t believe this because a 10k used to seem unattainable to me and yet here I was, completing a 10k without feeling any boredom or pain. And then, there was a slight incline and the knowledge that I would soon be seeing my family and friends and the whole thing got a little harder. And then I heard the tambourine and the shouts of my name and I couldn’t have been happier. 

A mile later I saw my sister, her husband and my two nephews and that gave me the push I needed to get to the second turnaround. I had my name taped to my shirt both on the front and the back for the purpose of getting more encouragement from strangers. You would not believe how encouraging strangers and other runners are! I found a lot more bounce in my step once people were talking to me, cheering for me, urging me to continue.

Feeling great as I approached mile 12, I stumbled on my foot and rolled my ankle. OUCH. And then I hit “the wall.” I wanted so, SO bad to walk and just get this the H over with. And I slowed my pace and just as I was about to switch from a jog to a walk and let my body give in, my mind took over and said, “There is no way you are walking at this point. Not after you worked this hard. You get yourself in gear.” And so I did. And the last mile was probably the toughest. But then I saw my cheerleaders once again as I approached the end and that jolted me into a full-on sprint. I even heard spectators comment about how fast I was finishing, and that felt good. And then I drank some water. And then I wanted to puke and die. So that was how my half-marathon went.

To recap:
Training is good. Hal Higdon knows what’s up.
If you set a goal and you work towards it, by golly, you can do it!
Pace yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others. Do it for you.
Encouragement is highly encouraged.
If you hit a wall, let your brain take over and propel you forward. One foot in front of the other.
Drink water. Eat food. Don’t throw up.

Musings on the future:
Will I run a full marathon ever? No. I do not wish to.
Will I run a half-marathon again? Maybe. But not for a while.
Should you run a half-marathon? If you would like to.
Will I run a 10-mile, 8-mile, 10k, 8k or 5k? Yes.
Do I feel like a million bucks even though I’m sore as a mother effer? Yes.
Is it weird that I’m now picturing a million male deer? Yes.
Am I an oddity? You bet.

The annotated version:

Thanks for reading! I know this was a long one! TWSS.


  1. Congrats, Jennifer!! You're awesome, you little half-marathoner you! ;-)

  2. YOU GO! Awesome job. I love reading other people's race recaps because I always get a little tingly thinking about that race nervousness or the crazy high that you get when you see your cheering family along the course. So exciting.

    I ran my second half-marathon this spring, and though there are always those moments during training and during the race that you kind of want to die (plus I have TERRIBLE pre-race nerves) and wonder why you ever thought this was a good idea - there is nothing better than the amazing feeling of accomplishment when you've done it. And knowing that your hard work - and mental toughness - got you there. (And most parts of the race really are pretty fun, even...) Which all has me kind of addicted.


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