Month: August 2014

I completed my first Half Marathon! Does that mean I am a runner?

San Francisco Half MarathonIf someone had told me a few years ago that I would run a half marathon, I would have just laughed! I honestly never though that was something I would be able to do, but on July 27th, 2014 I did! I ran my first half marathon, 13.1 miles or 22 kilometers!

When I was a kid, I was very active and participated in almost any sport genre you can think of. My days were usually spent climbing high and low on my way home from school and straight into playing soccer or some kind of hide and seek game with the neighborhood kids. I have always been a tall drink of water but, when I was eleven my body grew to fast for its own good and I ended up having major back surgery. Even though I am very grateful that this happened early on, it was a scary thing at only eleven years old. I could not do any sports or bend my back for six months. After my recovery, I was as good as new and should have been able to do the same things as any other eleven year old, but I was scared. Worried that I would do something to break it back up, I became a lot more careful and didn’t do the same activities as before. Throughout my teens and early 20’s I was perfectly happy not doing any kind of exercise. It wasn’t until 2011 when I was a little heavier set, I realized that maybe it would be a good idea to keep my body in shape somehow. I started going to the gym and could maybe run 2 minutes on 5.5 mph at a time on the treadmill. I did not think in any way that it would improve from that point, because I was not a runner.

I unintentionally started running for real back in 2012 when I did my first Color Run. You can read all about my first “race” here.  Coming home that saturday I couldn’t help but thinking maybe I could be a runner after all? If I could jog a 5K, maybe I could actually run? I started doing intervals on the treadmill and eventually started jogging outside. Even though I ran pretty often, I never seemed to get any further than 3-4 miles. I figured that was my limit and slowly lost the motivation to push any further. If I could do 3 miles, maybe that was enough. After all, its not like I could ever do a half marathon or anything so what was the point? I just wanted to stay in shape.

For the past year I feel like everyone from my best friends grandmother to my next door neighbor ran a half marathon. Was this just something people did now? Just casually run a half marathon on the weekends? I still didn’t think that I could, but I would always ponder the though when I saw all those glorious race photos on Facebook. The competitor in me wanted to go for it and I talked about it, but I never truly meant it. For Christmas this year, I got a fitness diary/calendar from my friend and filled with the “New Years Resolution” spirit, I started jotting down my fitness goals for the upcoming year. I put down, “Run a 10K” and I didn’t know how I would, but at least now it was written down on paper. I stared at it for a long time and even though I never really though I would do it, there was a glimpse of maybe. Just maybe I could. The day before New Years Eve, I went out for a routine 3 mile run and ended up running 6.2 miles, also known as 10K! I have no idea where I got the strength or stamina to do that, but I did. I don’t know if it was because the goal was now in my head or what happened, but something clicked. Did this mean I was a runner? It’s not like I would do a half marathon or anything, but I mean 10K was something. It was more than my usual 3 miler. I had pushed myself to do more.

After a few weeks, I picked it back up and started running on a regular basis again. Still just 3 miles, 3 times a week but I was preparing for something bigger because now I knew I could do more. In March I signed up for what would be my first half marathon! And on July 27th 2014, I finished it! I didn’t have the best preparation and I didn’t finish with the best time, but I finished! I completed my first half marathon.

During the race all I could think was, why would anybody do this to themselves? Why would I pay to do this? This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever done and I will never do it again! As soon as I saw that finish line I was thinking to myself, oh this wasn’t really that bad. I am kind of enjoying this! I am actually loving this! I will definitely do this again! Is that what they call the runners high? Was I in a state of delusion or does this just mean that I am a runner now?

Yes I am a runner! In fact, I have been a runner since the first time I stepped on that treadmill, but this is the first time I will admit it if someone asks!

You can read all about my actual race experience here.

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I ran my first Half Marathon!

San Francisco Half MarathonOn the last weekend of July, I ran my first half marathon! 13.1 miles, 22 kilometers. I know a lot of people run half marathons these days, but to me this has been and still is a big deal! I signed up back in March and at that time I was in really good shape. It turns out after months of vacation, pollen allergy, starting a new job and lack of motivation, not so much! You can read more about my last weeks of training here. After a three day conference, stomping around on concrete floors with flat sandals, with limited sleep and some extra wine I set my alarm to 4.30AM on a sunday morning to run my race.

Before the race, I had run 10 miles at the most and even though I was confident I would finish, I was still nervous! Once you start telling people you’re doing something like this, they feel compelled to tell you all the horror stories! Why is that? I have heard stories of people getting injured, having the “runners run” both before, during and right after the race (Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is!) and many more disturbing scenarios. I was actually more worried about anything weird like this happening, than actually running 13.1 miles!

So back to my race morning, I got up at 4.30AM (why would anyone do that?) and after gobbling down an egg, I walked down to meet my friend Jenny at the starting area. We thought we would be running together but turned out we were in different waves, major bummer! I got lined up in my wave and took a look around me. It was 6AM and the sunrise was beautiful! I tried to just take a moment to really appreciate what I was about to do even though I was filled with butterflies. The start gun went off, and I started running.

San Francisco Marathon

San Francisco Marathon

The one thing everyone has told me was to go slow in the beginning. Go slow and steady, that’s how you win the race. So, I tried not to be discourraged by people passing me and held a steady pace.  Mile 1-3 was pretty easy, flat and comfortable. Then at mile 3, my knees started to ache. What was this? They hadn’t really done that during training. Probably those concrete conference floors…Not being able to do anything about it, I just kept going and tried to change up my stride once in a while. Mile 4-5 was pretty good and I felt like I had found my stride. The first hill was in front of me and I powered through it. The change in incline was actually doing my knees some good.

San Francisco Marathon

After mile 5, I started the steepest incline up to the bridge and decided to walk fast during the steepest uphill instead of jogging. I actually think I was able to keep the same pace as the rest of the people because I am 5.9, with long ass legs. Win! I had imagined in advance that running over the Golden Gate Bridge would be somewhat magical, and it was the first time it did it for training, but during the race it was a little different. They blocked off three lanes on the right side of the bridge for us to run both going there and coming back. In other words it was kind of crowded and so far down from the sidewalk edge that you couldn’t really see anything…

San Francisco Marathon

After the bridge I knew we were at 10 miles+ and it was just for me to finish! That’s really when the big portion of the uphills really start (insert face palm) Although, there is one long downhill in the middle there! People told me to go slow on the downhill so I wouldn’t hurt my knees, but I figured I was hurting anyways and I just wanted to finish, so I killed that downhill! This is when I started to realize that I was almost done! I had ran 12 miles all by myself!

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That’s San Francisco for you…

San Francisco Half Marathon

I had my Fitbit tracking my distance as I was running, but I knew it was a little off so when it hit 13.1, I still had a little to go. In my mind though I thought I had a lot longer than I did, so when I saw that finish line, I felt a huge relief! I was done! I had completed 13.1 Miles, a half marathon! And then all of a sudden I didn’t feel as tired anymore! Weird huh?

San Francisco Half Marathon

Key take-aways?

– It’s all mental!

– Unforeseen things might happen!

– Testing out the entire course in advance (in pieces) was the best thing I ever did in training!

 Have you ever done a half marathon? How was it?