My First Half Marathon Experience

On January 20th, 2013 I ran my first half marathon in Nassau, Bahamas. Marathon Bahamas.  It was an awesome experience.  I have been wanting to run a half or full marathon for about 15 years, and I am still wondering what took me so long to do it.
The hardest part of the training was keeping up with my runs over the holidays.  I never missed a long run, but I probably should have gotten in more base miles thru the week.
I had run 9 miles two years ago, before I got my mystery injury last year, so I knew I mentally had it in me to get thru the mileage.  Some people do not know how to mentally push themselves.  You might not want to hear what I tell myself, but I can push myself thru it.
During the half I mentally lost it around mile 9.  It got really hot, my feet felt like they were on fire and I, quite frankly, just wanted to stop!

In my training I learned some great lessons about endurance running.  The first day I went out and did 10 miles I packed my handheld water bottle, but decided at the last minute not to carry it.
“you’ve done 9 miles and not needed to drink along the way”, I told myself…..BIG mistake!  Luckily I run with my iPhone for music, so I was able to call my husband and ask him to bring me my bottle.
Something else I had to learn how to do was eat before running.  Again, I had done 9 miles and been fine.  The day I did 10 miles it took me 2 days to recover, and that shouldn’t happen.  But the thought of eating before I ran made me sick to my stomach!!  A few times, over the years, I had done some afternoon runs and my body just didn’t respond well to a tummy with food in it.  I also knew if i wanted to do longer runs, like a marathon someday, that I would need to eat before and during.  So, I started with a few bites of a banana and just kept increasing and experimenting.  Now, of course, I don’t know how I ran before without food.  I feel so much better now after a long run.
I am now also been schooled in the world of energy drinks for endurance, and re hydration.  Let’s not forget about the wonderful world of energy gels!!!!!  Where have they been all my life?  I didn’t use the gels on my half, this is something new I am learning about.
So race morning, after only about 4 hours of sleep, my friends and I are lined up at the start line.  The energy of all the runners at 6am is just surreal!  I keep looking at the port-a-potties wondering if i should go have a tinkle one last time.  “I’ll be fine.  I’ll sweat it out once i start”, I thought……my second epic mistake!  At mile 4 i HAD to pee. right after the mile three aid station I asked where the port-a-potties were and was told they were at mile 4.  When I got there, there was a line!  GREAT!  I looked around considering going behind a wall, it even crossed my mind to pee my pants!  BUT i waited in line.  It cost me almost 6 minutes.
I could not have made it without my beautiful compression socks.  I have NO muscle fatigue in my legs after long runs with these and they have taken away my leg cramps, which were a symptom of my mystery injury from last year.

My first goal was to finish the half marathon.  My second goal was to finish by 2:30.  Well thanks to the bathroom break my finish time was 2:38.  I could have made up the 2 minutes and beat 2:30, but there is no way I could make up 8 minutes.
I beat myself up quite a bit about this, but it was my first long race and I am sure that with every race I do, I will learn something new.
So my final thoughts after my amazing experience……

EVERYONE should be a runner and EVERY runner should run a half marathon!
My next race is a sprint triathlon on March 23rd.  This will be my first triathlon.  Something else I have wanted to do for 15 years and I have always let the quarter of a mile swim hold me back.  I’ve been doing swim training since November and now LOVE swimming.  Now I am dreading the bike!
I am on the hunt for what will be my next race, after the triathlon.  I have been bitten pretty hard with the racing bug! 
I would really love to do a full marathon, but I need to find somewhere cool.  One race I am considering is the Disney Goofy Race and a Half Challenge.  On the Saturday you run a half marathon and the next day, Sunday, you run a full marathon!  You can even run a 5K on the Friday before the half!  Sounds like fun, right?!  I think so!
OH! AND…. this will be the weekend before Marathon Bahamas in 2014, which I plan to do again!  If anyone would like to join me on this journey, let me know!

3 thoughts on “My First Half Marathon Experience

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