The next race I wanted to look back at was my very first half marathon. To give you a little background before this half, I had been running off and on for about 7 months. Three months were college cross country (around 40 miles weekly) and three months were during hard college swimming season (10-20 miles weekly…if that) and then another month of around 40 miles. Prior to this race I had done two long run of around 10 miles (one on Christmas with dad and one the week before) and that was my longest ever. Hard to believe I normally run 10-12 now daily.
There was a somewhat local half marathon to my college, the Plattsburgh Half so a few of my friends and I decided to train for it and do it. I was using this race as a long run as well to prepare for the next weekend of the Flower City Half Marathon in Rochester. Though your first half marathon, you are destined to be nervous. I was.
I remember being afraid that I would get hypothermia because it was pretty chilly and slightly rainy so I ended up racing in a hat, leggings and a long sleeve. (I’m pretty sure it was roughly 40 degrees so that was entirely too much).
When the race started I immediately found my groove. I just kind of ran. I remember not knowing what to expect…if I would get tired. Or if I would immediately die after mile 10 because that was my longest run. I kept plugging away.
Since this was before my GPS watch, I don’t have data to provide splits or anything (not that it matters) but I do remember getting progressively faster and starting to pass people. Around mile 4 I delayed my famous Burton hat (I love that thing…super warm) and was nervous and sad someone would take it (but we ended up finding it post race).
Mile 10, I took a gel because “that’s what you were supposed to do…” and I finished strong. I remember nearly crying through the finish line. Me? Complete a half marathon? A year prior I wasn’t running, had no interest in running let alone half marathons. I had just completed 13.1 miles in the ice and rain. I finished my first half marathon in 1:41. It was a huge accomplishment for as I came in 99th place out of 1000.
Every half marathon I’ve done has a special spot in my heart and running moments. They have all taught me something about racing. This one is obviously special because it was my first half marathon proving to me I could train and accomplish anything I put my mind too.
Questions for you:
What race has a special part of your running journey?
What have you recently accomplished that you never thought possible?