How I Survived My First Half Marathon

I almost bailed on my first half marathon.

In the last four months running has become a challenge. A pain, you may even say. Last fall, I signed up for the Indianapolis Mini Marathon, the biggest half marathon in the country. I even convinced Michael to do it with me. In January, we started our Mini training, which wasn’t really mini at all, but felt great. My first half marathon. I’m going to be a real, hardcore runner now.

In the meantime, the March time, we planned to go to Chicago for the 8K Shamrock Shuffle. I had plans to finish that race in 42 or 43 minutes, beating last year’s time of 43:59.

I’ve read around the internets that it’s a runner’s Murphy’s Law that as soon as you get into the groove of training for a big race, you injure yourself. One gorgeous Friday evening, we went out for a light jog. I took a wrong step and sprained my ankle. Guys, really. Do you know how torturous it is to watch your boyfriend take off for an 11 mile run and have to sit at home with your foot on ice? Guys, really. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d utter. “Do you know how torturous an 11 mile run sounds” would be more accurate. But no, once I started training, doing the longer distances, it felt right.

So, ankle barely heals for Shamrock Shuffle, which I finish in a respectable 45:53 without having run three weeks prior. Time to gear up for the Mini Marathon bitches!

I almost bailed on my first half marathon.

I couldn’t run for weeks on that damn sprained ankle after the Shuffle. I tried to swim, I biked a bit, even ran on the elliptical. What do you do to cross train? How do you stay in shape when you’re injured? I was at my wits end.

The week before the race Michael convinced me. Just do it, he said. Get your money’s worth, he said. Cross the finish line and get your medal, even if you have to do it walking, he said. Fine. I’m convinced. I’ll run 13.1 miles after not having run more than 7, and that only on an elliptical.

I am so glad I did. I don’t even care that I’m right back to limping around the office. This past Saturday I finished my first half marathon in 2:21:14. (Let’s not discuss my original goal finish time. It’s irrelevant.) I ran through the first hot and humid day of the year with 40,000 other runners and walkers, around the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and across the finish line. I earned my medal.

No run has ever been so hard. Nothing I have done physically in the last few years has pushed me as much. I honestly felt light-headed at a few points (at which I walked, because above all, you must listen to your body). This huge wall appeared out of nowhere at mile 10. It forced me to walk a lot right at the end. But nothing can compare to the feeling of running across that finish line, of having tucked 13.1 miles under my running shoes. A completely addicting high.

I want to do it again.

That’s what running is for me. It’s this really hard thing, this thing that I have to work at and that I push myself to improve on. But I love it. It feels so good. It hurts so good.

What is running for you? A stress reliever, the one thing that you can do easily and without thinking? Something you do for yourself, noncompetitively and at your own pace?

I finished my first half marathon. I’m so proud.

Next stop, the Chicago Ragnar! Go Team Dairy Queens!


One thought on “How I Survived My First Half Marathon

  1. Pingback: Race Recap: Wine at the Line 5 Mile | Piebelly

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