The post you've all been waiting for is finally here!! Well...maybe not all of you, but here is my half marathon experience. Starting from my training and the program I followed to my recovery and where I'm at now. I'm also going to touch on my experience last year and compare the two. If you've been following along on Instagram, than you know that I am now injured...we'll get to that later.
Follow this link to see the program that I followed both this year and last year. There are various training programs on this website that are all a little bit different in length, so just look them over and choose one that best suits you!
This is my friend Deanna and I post race!
Despite any injuries or sickness I felt, I highly encourage all of you to run a half marathon if you're even thinking about it slightly. I never used to be a long distance runner. Growing up I played soccer and ran track, the longest distance I ran in a track event was an 800 meter run, and I did that one time. I was more of a mid distance sprinter, so 400's and 600's. I HATED running more than 2 miles and let me tell you, it was a struggle. If my coach sent us sprinters out on a distance run (which meant about 2-3 miles) I would complain the whole time. Then, after my senior year season of collegiate soccer, I just decided I was going to run a half marathon.
It was my second semester of college when I ran the Hyannis Half Marathon for the first time. Going to college and training for a half marathon was actually easy. At the time I didn't think so but after training while working a 9-5 job, I realize I had it so easy then. My first time running the Hyannis Half marathon I finished in 1:58:59. I was so happy to break two hours and pleasantly surprised by my performance. My training for that run was fairly consistent. The number of times I went out for a run was higher than this year, but my distances were shorter. My first half marathon I consistently ran eight miles and had no problem doing that. Due to weather and other obligations, I was only able to get my mileage up to 10 miles, three weeks before the race.
This year I would do my long run on the weekends and run shorter mileage during the week. I usually only ran once or twice during the week and would do spin class twice a week instead of running everyday. I ended up getting up to 11 miles two weeks before my race, which was better than the previous year. I did this run in Florida and it was TOUGH. I seriously thought I was going to pass out and that made me feel nervous about how prepared I was for my race. I think it was because it was so hot out and I wasn't used to running in that heat. The weekend after that I went on an eight mile run by my house. Where I live it is extremely hilly and I wasn't used to running outside considering most of my training had been completed on a treadmill or a bike, with a few exceptions. So, this final long run was also very difficult for me, which made me even more nervous because it was less mileage and similar conditions to what I would be running in the half marathon.
That final week I went to spin class on Tuesday and ran three miles on Wednesday. Those were my only two cardio exercises the week prior to my race, I had planned on running more but life just go in the way! The weather on the day of my race was HORRIBLE. It was around 35-40 degrees and rained the whole time, along with 15 - 20 mph winds. For someone who did most of my training indoors, this was not ideal. Their were literally puddles up to my ankles that I was running through. BUT, it could have been much worse and I honestly think the rain motivated me to run faster. I finished the race in 1:56:13, which is about an 8:52 pace. That is a great time and I am so happy with that but it wasn't all great throughout the race.
Towards the end of the race I began to feel sick and could feel myself almost throwing up. Now just so you know, I have a very weak stomach and if I eat something that doesn't sit well with me, it will come up if I run. It used to happen all of the time in track, especially because I never paid attention to what I ate back then. Now, it's a little bit different and I was so surprised when I first started feeling like this. I didn't eat a anything out of the ordinary the night before or morning of, and I was drinking a lot of water. Then it dawned on me, maybe I drank too much water. It wasn't until right before the finish line, and I mean right before, that I threw up. I couldn't hold it in any longer and it wasn't even that I was feeling sick like I had the flu, it was just something wasn't sitting right with me. This was seriously one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, I mean right in front of the crowd cheering everyone on and I just had to yack haha I laugh at it now because I can only imagine what that looked like. I could also hear everyone go silent in awe at what just happened...I don't know who was more surprised, them or me! On top of that minor setback, I now unfortunately have a hurt foot and I think that is from trying to jump over the puddles and avoid mud at times. I also think that I should have ran more outside rather than on a treadmill. The doctor put me in a boot for two weeks and if that doesn't work than I will have to get an MRI. According to the x-rays I did not fracture it, it's just a mix of tendinitis and an overworked foot; but sometimes you can't see a minor stress fracture until you get an MRI.
Well, if you've made it this far I guess I haven't scared you off yet. As bad as this all sounds, running the half really wasn't that bad. To my surprise, throughout this race I felt like I was in great shape and that I trained really well. There were positives and negatives to it all, but at the end of the day I walked out with a wealth of knowledge about myself. I learned how tough my body really is, being able to still run across that finish line; and I learned how much mental strength I truly do have that can get me through just about anything in life. I do plan to run another half one day and take the knowledge that I gained through both races and hopefully make my third one the best one yet!
If you have any questions please reach out via this site, Instagram, or email. I would be happy to help you with your half marathon training!