My Half Marathon

I did it! I completed my first half marathon! The thing I have been training for since October! And I am pretty pleased with myself for finishing strong. When I set out to do this, I had only one goal for myself: to finish the race knowing I did my absolute best. Goal accomplished!

I finished in 2:16:06, which is about 15 minutes quicker than I thought I could do. The weather was perfect, which was definitely an answer to my prayers, as it has been quite chilly for the past two weeks. The entire course was packed with cheering crowds and quite a few bands, both of which really kept my spirits high. My mom was able to come visit for the weekend, and I really liked having her there to cheer me on, too.

I really did not know what to expect, so I decided to run as much of the race as I could, knowing that I could stop to walk or have a quick break if I needed. Surprisingly, I did not walk any of the race!

The first couple of miles were really hectic and crowded. I wanted to run faster, but I could not get ahead of the crowds. I started in a slower pace group (14 min/mile) than I should have, but at the time I signed up for the marathon I was barely running...definitely not running enough to know that I can keep a 10 min/mile pace.

By the time we got to the Heights the runners had spread out quite a bit, and I was able to run at a steady pace for the rest of the race. I sped up the hill at I-10 and Studewood and people were cheering for me as I passed other runners! I did not want to slow my pace on the hill because I did not know if I would get my momentum back. When I crossed Montrose and Westheimer I felt somewhat overwhelmed about running all the way to Richmond and back...but before I knew it, I was already back at Westheimer. The Allen Parkway stretch was fine, but all of a sudden I hit that dreaded wall and felt like walking. I just slowed my pace a tad; when I saw my mom and David watching for me at about mile 11, my spirits picked back up and I sped along.

When I saw the big sign announcing that I only had 1.5 miles left, I actually said aloud, "You have to be kidding me! I am so ready for this to be over." Out of nowhere an older man came up beside me and said, "Well come on!" We sprinted (well, as much as we could with the wind blowing against us) the last stretch and crossed the finish line together. I never knew that all the way across downtown is only 1.5 miles. I think they measured incorrectly or something. It seemed much further!

I was tired after the race, but not exhausted. I could have jogged a few miles if someone had asked me to do so. And I was HUNGRY! We went to Chuy's for a margarita, guacamole and lots of carbs!

I followed a beginner's training program from Hal Higdon, but I did not follow it religiously. I skipped a couple of long runs and rarely did the strength training. I usually did not manage to get all of my short runs in, either. Yoga on Mondays was key to keeping me motivated and helped to loosen up my muscles after long runs. I did not use any supplements. I just drank a few sips of Gatorade every two miles at the water stands. I trained well enough to know my body and what it needs, and to know what pace I could keep without tiring out too soon.

If you have any questions about my training or running in general, please email me! I only started running three months ago. In June, I could not run an entire I know with minimal practice, anyone can do this and be able to finish in a respectable time.

Here are my race times so far:

  • Heights Fun Run 5K, June 7, 2008 - over 33 minutes, and I had to walk a couple blocks
  • Komen 5K, October 4, 2008 - 29:55.49
  • TXU Turkey Trot, November 27, 2008 - 1:00:15 (9.42min/mile)
  • Houston Half Marathon, January 18, 2009 - 2:16:06