Reflecting on my first half marathon

I can’t believe more than a week has passed since I ran my very first half marathon. I feel like I’ve needed the time though to fully digest the entire experience. While to some of my more experienced runner friends, running a half marathon may not seem like a big deal but it was a huge milestone for me.

I started running only eight months ago, in March, the goal of running a 5K. When I started running I didn’t expect to fall in love with it like I have but I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I was actually getting good at it. So, in June, after only having been a runner for four months, I decided to register for the 2012 Hampton Rockfest Half Marathon.

Many of my friends and family tried to discourage me from registering because they thought I didn’t have enough experience as a runner yet. My dad, a 16-time marathon veteran (3:09 PR), said I needed more experience racing and building up mileage. But, I ignored their opinions and decided I had the capability and drive to build up my mileage to be able to run the 13.1 miles and cross the finish line on Sept. 30.

After months of training, some injuries, and some amazing runs, I crossed the finish line without stopping once. The race was amazing and the course was a breeze. Although the weather was awful, it was the most amazing experience.

When I hit the 11-mile mark I even started to get emotional and thought I was going to start crying. I couldn’t believe how far I had come as a runner in just eight months. In eight months I went from being able to run 0 miles to running more than 13 miles. Not only did I develop into a “runner,” I’ve noticed other changes in myself over the past eight months. My body has changed quite a bit, my muscles are much for toned and I have a much higher level of endurance but I’ve also changed emotionally. I’ve learned to use running as an outlet for when I’m angry, stressed or happy and excited. While I may not have started running for the best reason, it has literally transformed me into a different person and I love it.

As I started to speed up during the last 2 miles of the half marathon, all of these thoughts were whirling around in my head and just then, I saw my parents with all of the spectators and nearly lost it. I feel so lucky to have had such an amazing support system throughout this journey and although they had their reservations in the beginning, they never doubted me. The same goes to my friends who have also supported me through all of this and showed up at the finish line to congratulate me.

As I said in my last post about the half, my first thought upon crossing the finish line was I can’t wait to do it again and I’ve been looking for some more to register for in the near future. I think once I get a few more halfs under my belt, a full marathon is not too far off :)

What was your biggest race accomplishment? How did it feel when you crossed that finish line? Please share your stories in the comments section below!

20 thoughts on “Reflecting on my first half marathon

  1. Awesome, awesome, awesome. So glad you can’t wait for future races! Welcome to the club! :) My biggest race accomplishment was the Goofy in 2010. (half marathon run on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday) at Disneyworld. Ha…we even threw in a 5k on the previous Friday! (aka dopey). I don’t think I could ever outdo that race. I may take it on again one day. It definitely was a great experience.

    • That’s great to hear! I was smiling ear to ear also when I crossed the finish line and it was definitely all a blur!

  2. Congrats again on your race! In august of 2011 I ran 2 miles straight without walking for the first time, and in May of 2012 I ran my first half marathon. It was a HUGE accomplishment! Every time I think of it I still feel a bit of a high. I still smile and feel shocked that I did it! I’m running my second half in a few weeks:)

    • That’s so exciting!! I’ve actually never run an official 10K but I hear they are a lot of fun! Good luck with your race and run happy :)

  3. I get overwhelmed with emotion every time I finish a race…the last.1 or .2 miles I start to well up with tears. I survived another race, something that I am so fortunate to be able to do, and I never take that for granted. Running is such a gift, it truly makes me feel alive.

    But my biggest race accomplishment was probably my first sub-4 hour marathon. Never in my life did I think I would achieve this goal, and I never even attempted to try it, it just happened on its own. It was one of the most amazing moments crossing the finish line with minutes to spare, and I was so proud that day.

    Second, I’m with Urban Running Girl…Goofy Challenge is a blast and a fantastic accomplishment! I really recommend you make the trek some year, it’s truly magical.

    • Don’t you just love when you do better than you even intended to do? It’s the best! I’ve never gotten emotional at a race but I definitely did with this one. I think it’s the combination of realizing how far you’ve come and like you said, being thankful you’ve finished. With all the hype over the Goofy Challenge I’ll have to look into it!

  4. Congrats! You have so much to be proud of! I’m excited that you have the running bug and are ready to tackle some more halfs and a full someday! :)
    Though I’ve been running a long time, including marathons, I think my greatest accomplishment was a 5 mile race earlier this year. I felt bad from the start, but I made sure to keep myself in the “pain spot” the whole time. I realized I can push through and have a fast race even when I don’t feel 100%.

    • Thank you! That’s such a great story! While it’s important to listen to you’re body when it’s injured it’s also important to realize when you have more to push. Congrats to you and that fantastic race!

  5. Congrats! Running a half is definitely a huge achievement. Although I run, I’ve never raced. I think I enjoy the solitariness of running but I’ve been wanting to try a color run. Have you heard of those? Sounds like tons of fun!

    • Thank you! Even though you don’t race it’s great that you run! For me, I look at races as a race against myself and what I’m capable of rather than a race against the other runners. But I actually did do the Color Run this summer and it was tons of fun! You should definitely look into it!

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