First half marathon story

I think most runners have a love/hate relationship with the activity.  I started running 5Ks six years ago to kick my bad occasional cigarette habit.  After my first run of the season in 2016 – I thought, why not train for a half – sort of a bucket list item hidden away.  A friend told me if you can run 8-9 miles, you can run a half.  I went on Pinterest and starting pinning like a mad person and also joined a sub forum of a forum I frequent dedicated to running/races.

I used a variation of this training – 13 weeks, incremented my long runs by 1 mile until I reached 12.  Once I hit the 10 mile run, I started adding three honey stingers at the 5 mile mark and three at the 9 mile mark.  I also carried a water bottle and added around a tablespoon of tailwind for the extra kick.  I almost always ran first thing in the morning (this was a struggle as I am not a morning person) and didn’t eat or drink prior to the run.

On April 12, I registered for the Marine Corp Half on May 15th in Fredericksburg, VA.  No turning back now.  My training was going great – my lungs weren’t the problem it was my body – my knees were killing me, so I had to remember to stretch more.  I was averaging 11 minute splits.  My shorter runs I was pushing my self harder and was able to PR for the annual 5K I ran May 7th.

People told me the Marine corp half was hilly, but I figured I would be OK, as some of my runs had small hills.  They posted the elevation of the race late, and mile 10 showed a huge uphill.  I later learned it was referred to as Hospital Hill.  This made me super nervous – wasn’t sure how I was going to manage a mile-long hill so late in the race.

Another first half recommendation – don’t set a time goal – set the goal to finish and enjoy it. With my consistent 11 minute splits, I wanted to run it in 2:30.

Sunday Race Day – I only got about 4-5 hours of sleep – not a good idea.  The weather was cool – mid to upper 40s with a breeze.  I wore shorts and a t-shirt and had a sweatshirt up until the race.  We got to the race 40 minutes early – I found the port-a-potty and then waited in my time coral.  I was excited and nervous.

Mile 1-2 was crowded and I had to weave around people to settle into a pace…there was also a short steep hill in between the two miles which was a tough…map my run told me my splits were around 10:30, but as the race went on the mileage markers were not lining up and my splits increased.  Mile 2-10 smooth, the crowds were amazing, funny signs and the scenery was great . At mile 10 the hill didn’t start until about midway through around a bend…it was a gradual incline for about half the mile…I never stopped!  I kicked hospital hill’s ass.  Midway through mile 11 there was a steep bridge hill – tough and mile 12-13.1 was the hardest – my knees/legs were tired – I had run the entire way – only stopped to use the port-a-potty at the halfway point.  Net finish time: 2:31!  The medal is beautiful.

Thanks for reading!

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