I started running this year, first I did a sprint triathlon, then a 10K with friends, and now a half-marathon with my friend/coach/cheerleader Morgan. (She is faster so she runs with a different group but we get together for brunch afterwards.) I decided that my goal was to run a half-marathon and I did it! It was so nice to see people cheering and encouraging one another. I’m especially grateful for the man who saw me slowing down at mile 13 and paced with me the rest of the way. My mom and sister are away but my dad was there, in the rain, watching and cheering from the sidelines. It was so great to see him smiling and cheering when he spotted me running to the finish line. It really reinforced the importance of being surrounded by supportive people — whether it’s for a mile or forever. And that you can do (almost) anything you set your mind to if you’re willing to put in the work.
I trained for about three months using RunKeeper. (I’m going to write a post next week about my training plan.) I hadn’t run a full 13.1 miles before the race, but I ran about three to four times a week. Honestly, up until mile 13, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it. I signed up for the race in July so I’d have a goal to work toward — even if I didn’t end up running the race. I had a bad cold a week ago and took the week off, so I was even more nervous because I had planned to run at least 11 miles that week to train. But, in a way, I’m glad I didn’t because I would have known how hard it is and it’s so much harder when you’re running by yourself, not with the adrenaline and support from running a race with other people.
I woke up at 6:30 am, had some cereal and coffee, and drove to Staten Island with my dad. The walk from the parking area to the race was about a mile and a half and I went through security then waited for our section to get to the start line. I had downloaded a Spotify playlist, appropriately named Confidence, opened RunKeeper and chatted with some of the other runners. Then it was our turn and I started running…in the pouring rain.
I had read that it’s important to take the first five miles somewhat easy so you don’t lose your energy. I really wanted to stay under a 13-minute mile so until the 11th or 12th mile, I ran or jogged the entire way except for when I stopped for water and Gatorade. I kept counting down the miles to stay motivated. The last two miles were really tough and I walked a tiny bit but, when I crossed the finish line, I saw that I exceeded my goal. I ran it in two hours and 29 minutes and 56 seconds at about an 11-minute mile! I still had a lot of adrenaline after the race and felt fine on the one and a half mile walk home. I have a feeling I’ll sleep well tonight and feel sore tomorrow though! Now off to have a Levain cookie (an appropriate reason for a gluten-free cheat day!) with my roomie, dinner with my dad, then an early bedtime.