I have only known Laura since earlier this year, but we became quick friends with her love for sports, beer and her newly found interest in distance running. As she got further into her training it made me think of my own 1st half marathon. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember much about it, so I asked Laura if she might want to guest blog and talk about her 1st!
Hi everyone!! I am super excited to share my first half marathon experience with you all!
Let’s start from the beginning. I originally bounced the idea of a half marathon around for almost six months! After going back and forth, I decided to talk with friends who already done a half and realized, maybe I can do this too! Only a few select people knew I was planning to run the Baltimore Running Festival Half and I didn’t even tell Matt! I wanted to start training and get my confidence up prior to telling him. I was afraid of disappointing him or myself! But, I had multiple training plans to chose from and once I finally picked one, I got started training right away.
Training, training, training! Blah! There were so many times when I was running I thought – holy crap I’m not going to be able to so this! Why did I sign up for this again? But I stuck with my training plan (loosely) and kept going. The best thing for me was having 13 weeks to train and a 10 week training plan, therefore I had extra days to play around with!
Moving forward to Race Day–Talk about nerve racking! We got into the city and parking took forever! Matt had to jump out of the car while we were in traffic to make his 5K start and get to the front of the line to go sub-20. Cori and I found a bomb parking spot and off we went to watch Matt finish! We were super pumped that he went under 20! The morning went by so fast and then it was our turn to get ready for the race…
The lines for the bathroom were forever long and the sheer anxiety of not making the start of the race was eating at me! All I wanted to do was pee, get to the start line, run, and run fast. After a quick pep talk from Cori, she was off to the front of the half runners. Matt and I met up with Becky (who ran by my side the whole race) and we began walking toward the start our race! Matt gave me a last minute pep talk that ended with me happily saying, “I wanna run fast.” I smiled and was off.
The first mile of the half seemed like it was forever away! I thought to myself, holy crap this is gonna be tough! As we scooted around Patterson Park I kept busy by looking for some friends and co-workers in the crowd, reading the signs people were holding, then laughed about the signs, and enjoyed the water/Gatorade stations! Becky was by my side the entire time to keep my wanting to run fast under wraps. She gave me extra words of encouragement–especially on the uphills! Let’s just say mile 5-7 = woof! Talk about struggling!
We got to lake (mile 7) and swung by the medical tent for some Vaseline to save my rib cage from the major bra chafing! Then we passed through a few neighborhoods, up and down more hills, then the final turn toward the last 3 miles! I definitely experienced a runners high, because I had an itch to run faster, started running faster, and couldn’t stop smiling! What crazy person smiles during a half marathon?! Apparently this girl!
At mile 12, I felt some tightness through my hips and quads, but Becky and I just kept truckin’! We finished in an awesome time of 2:16.14, close to Becky’s PR on that course, and way faster than I thought I would go! The free beers and snacks at the end made this girl a happy camper!
After the race I quickly took off my running shoes and put on my sandals. The aftermath of the half was blisters and having two bruised toenails – pretty colors to say the least! I had blisters on both my little toes and big toes!! And I would do it all again!!
I can’t thank my family and friends enough for all their love and support! A special thanks goes out to Cori for going on long, hard, sweaty, hot runs with me; Becky for being awesome person to run the race with and keeping my mind from doing math problems the entire 2+ hours we were running; and Matt for being a loving and supportive husband and believing in me.