For a few years I’ve wanted to run a half marathon, but the idea of it was really intimidating. This summer, I decided to go for it and started training!
I planned on signing up for the Rock and Roll Savannah after hearing good reviews and that it had a flat course.
I signed up for a training plan on RunKeeper and 3 weeks in, my body was yelling at me to quit (there wasn’t much rest built into the plan). I took a few days off, and reevaluated. Over the years, I had read about Hal Higdon’s plans on different occasions, and finally decided this was the plan for me because of the cross training options.
Fortunately the training, although a little time consuming, was doable and much kinder on my body.
Until the month before the race. October happened to be one of the craziest months of my life, and I don’t think I trained at all. Not good when you’re planning on running 13 miles straight.
After much encouragement, I decided to still try, but to readjust my goals for the race. Originally I wanted to finish under 2:15 and run the entire race. My adjusted goal was 2:30 and to complete, even if walking was required.
We arrived to the start line that morning about 30 minutes prior to start time. What I didn’t know was that we’d be started in shifts and really wouldn’t start until about 30-40 minutes later. This turned out to be good news because I may have had to use the bathroom twice while we were in our corrals. #BlameItOnTheNerves
So a little while later, we were off! Some of our friends from church were also doing the race but I couldn’t find them prior to the start. About two minutes in I was able to catch up with one of them and we stayed with each other for most of the race.
As you’ll see in the picture below, it was extremely foggy and humid – even at our early start. By mile one I was already really sweaty, and even had a stomach cramp – which I didn’t have the entire time training.
Mile after mile, I felt pretty good and happy with the pace I was running until mile 10. At one of the water tables they had an ice bag sitting out, and I remember scooping up some, not caring about how unsanitary that probably was, just to get something cold in me.
Along the way, I saw people sitting down but this being my first half, I didn’t think much of it. Later I learned that because of the warm temperatures they had a lot of people falling out on the course and needing medical attention. Eventually they started turning around the full marathoners on the course because of the temperatures.
Around mile 11, I noticed that my heart rate was up more than normal and I felt a little lightheaded. Obviously it wasn’t worth the risk of passing out. It was a little bit sad to stop running and walk but I felt confident in my decision – until I started running again and I realized my legs were pretty much dead at that point 😉
As I got closer to the finish line, I was so happy that I had almost finished a half and overcome something that I feared to try for so long. I think more than anything, it was a mental accomplishment, knowing that I can push myself to do things with hard work.
Crossing the finish line was a wonderful feeeling – and not just because they had ice cold water and Gatorade available – but that was pretty exciting. 🙂