Friday, October 7, 2016

Half Marathon? Check.

I ran my first* half marathon: the Harrisburg Half on Sunday, September 11, 2016.

Mom and Dad camped out by the Walnut St
Bridge to watch and take pictures :)
*To clarify, I participated in a trail half marathon in February, but the trail was covered in snow and ice so I kinda ran slash hiked slash tiptoed slash sloshed through that one. I also participated in a 25K trail run, but I hadn’t trained for that except for five-mile increments on the treadmill a few times a week, so I hiked at least half of that and couldn’t walk for days after.

This was the first time I had ever run that far. And I ran the whole thing. No walking. No stopping. I slowed down at the aid stations for water, but even then I drank on the move, splashing half down my throat and the other half down my chest.

Within the first 5K of the race, as I ran down the middle of the Harvey Taylor Bridge – which was kind of a surreal, post-apocalyptic experience after having driven across it hundreds of times – I realized I had to restrain my typical racing instincts. There were plenty of people in front of me (and even more behind), but I knew I wouldn’t try to catch up to them because I had to stick with, or at least near, my goal pace, the one I had been practicing for the past two months.

And I did it! I kept with my goal pace – very consistently – and finished in an hour and 55 minutes, about five minutes under my goal time. I was something like 200th overall and 15th in my age group, but I was so proud of and impressed with myself for begin able to run that far, especially considering my litany of prior running-related injuries.

I still feel uncomfortable calling myself a runner. That term seems reserved for people who have made running a long-term part of their lifestyle. Maybe that will be me one day, but not yet; every time I run a race I think: “If I were swimming right now, I’d be winning.” So, I’m still a swimmer at heart.

My next step(s)? Running in the Harrisburg Marathon. Stay tuned.

Fleet Feet Half Marathon Training Group - Pre-Race Photo

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