I’m constantly inspired by my fellow runners. Whether it be someone who just ran an awesome PR, conquered a new distance, made big progress in their training, etc. Today I want to take a moment to recognize my friend Emilee who has been a huge inspiration for me as she has made huge progress in her running in the last year. Last weekend, Emilee completed her first half marathon and did an awesome job. Here is her recap of the experience and what she learned from it.
So, half marathon completed. I totally cried at the end, not because I hurt or was completely exhausted, but because I was so ridiculously happy and proud that I actually did it. I ran for a full 13.1 miles, I didn’t let myself walk even up the annoying hills where it looked like EVERYONE around me was walking. I cried because I was amazed at just how far I’ve come since I started running last August – I wore shorts in full view of thousands of complete strangers, and I just didn’t care! When I passed the mile 11 sign, I remember thinking to myself “Oh good, only 2.1 miles to go.” And then immediately thinking, “I just said ONLY 2.1 miles!” Back in August, running 2.1 miles was a near impossibility. I cried the first time I ran for 10 minutes without stopping in October. Yet here I am, not even a year later, and after having run 11 miles, more than 2 hours non-stop, I was still able to think of 2.1 miles as a pittance, a short distance to the finish. So, WOOHOO!!!
I did learn a few things about myself and distance running that I realize I should remember, and emailing them to you seems like a good way to record it and seek advice.
1) I need an energy gel once every 4 miles rather than every 5 like I thought. I’d been doing one every 5 with my running buddy, but I noticed significant lag in my pace after 4 miles without a boost. I think I could have made my goal of running the half in 2.5 hours had I upped my intake. I might even consider once every 3-3.5 miles after more experimentation.
2) I definitely seem to need more water than everyone else, so carrying my own was worth the extra weight. A water station every 2 miles or so seemed to work for a lot of the runners, but I happily went through nearly 32 oz of my own water, and felt better for it. I do think I should add nuun to one of my 8 oz bottles before the run, so I have more of that. Some of the water stations had Gatorade, and it helped, but I think I needed a little more.
3) I really felt like I hit my stride during miles 6-7. That was when I felt the best. I felt like my lungs, legs, and head were all in sync. I was able to really enjoy the run during those couple miles. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the rest of it, but miles 1 and 2 are always the worst for me. Starting out, I always feel like my legs hurt and I’m tired, that’s when I’m the most discouraged. I surprised myself at mile 10 getting sort of a second wind and able to pick up my pace a bit, but at mile 11 the balls of my feet started to get sore. Not sure if there’s anything I can do about that except work up some endurance. My awesome new shoes (new meaning 3 weeks old and run in multiple times). I didn’t just pop on a brand new pair and hope for the best) definitely made a difference – no more knee pain!
4) Shallow regret – I wish I’d worn a different bra. I LOVE my sports bras. Being on the busty side means that a lot of sports bra brands don’t come in my size. Moving Comfort technically doesn’t go quite big enough on the cup size, but since it’s a sports bra, I can match the band size and go down a couple cups and feel fine. If you have any friends in my situation, I completely recommend the Moving Comfort Fiona: adjustable straps, easy clips, and they pass the bounce test. However, I only have two of them and one is white the other is blue with green piping. I wish I’d gotten one in black so that it wouldn’t have looked so weird under my red and black top. Lee got a pic of me crossing the finish line, and it would have been so much better if my bra straps had been black instead of white.
5) Bathroom strategy is hard. I went as soon as we got to the site, but then still had 45 minutes to kill before we started. I wanted to go again right before the race began, but the lines were ridiculous. As a result, I had an annoying feeling of sort of having to go for most of the run. I looked for bathrooms along the path but didn’t see any. This was another thing that I feel may have affected my run. I think I could’ve done better if I hadn’t needed to go.
6) I had a fruit salad saved for after the race, and I’m SO glad I did. I was really hungry when we got back to the car, and we still had a 40 mile drive back home, so having that was a lifesaver. Having said that, I do wish I’d planned food at home better. We ordered out when we got home, and I got a burger. I wish I’d had something else because it really just made me feel sick after eating it. I’m not sure what I should have had instead, but it definitely wasn’t that.
So, now that I’ve successfully completed a half marathon injury free, I’m ready to look forward to next year and doing a full marathon. I never thought I’d get to this point, but I’ve made it, and I’m ready for my next goal!
I want to send a huge congrats to Emilee for her amazing achievement and I’m excited to see her progress towards running a marathon next year!
Who inspires you?