Today I ran my 2nd half marathon. I’ve been training for about 6 weeks and I have been looking forward to race day. I ran my first half last November, so I felt a little more confident going into this one. I’ve been using a Fitness Magazine training plan ( http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/running/training-schedules/half-marathon-training-intermediate/ ), but I followed it loosely and adapted it to fit my schedule.
I woke up to rain this morning and I was hoping it would let up by the race start. Unfortunately it just rained harder, making for a wet and chilly run. I got caught in the rain on several of my training runs and I was glad I had gotten used to running wet. Despite the weather, it turned out to be a great race. We started just as the sun was rising, and ran through Blacksburg and onto the Huckleberry Trail. The leaves are all changing colors and falling, which made for beautiful scenery along the way. There were spectators, volunteers, and bands all along the course to cheer us on and provide water and gatorade. I felt great the first half of the race, but started to tire near the middle. There were a few rolling hills on mile 6 and 7, making it tough to push through that soreness. However, after mile 8 and 9 I was able to pick up a little speed and caught a second wind. I ran with the Nike+ running app on my phone (which was in a Ziploc bag inside of my armband to try to keep it from getting wet) to keep track of my pace. Near about the 10th mile I realized that I was getting really close to my goal finishing time, so I really tried to pick up my pace on the last three miles. The 11th and 12th mile both had a hill and I had to walk a little, but my legs were so cold that I couldn’t feel them by then anyway. I finished 3 seconds under my goal time. I was hoping to be able to stick around after the race, but I was freezing and soaked. As soon as I had walked and stretched a little and downed some water I hobbled for the car, anticipating a hot shower as soon as possible. At the start the only thing I could think was “I’m waking up at 5:30 in the morning to run 13 miles in the cold rain, why?” But when I crossed the finish line every blister, sore muscle, shin splint, and hard training run paid off. Every time I cross a finish line after a hard race I remember why I run. There’s a sense of joy in completing something you had to work for. I’m thankful that I’m able to run and for God’s strength to get me through the tough miles. Overall, I had a great run, but I do have to admit I’m pretty excited to have the race behind me and take it easy for a couple of weeks.
What I learned from my 2nd Half Marathon and training:
1.) Good shoes and socks are a must
2.) Water, water, and more water
3.) Watch out for roots and crab apples on the trail (Ouch! ankle sprain)
4.) Check the forecast, if its calling for clear skies, it will probably rain anyway
6.) Foam roll, yoga, and stretch
7.) Cherish sleep and rest days
8.) Running with friends makes running much more exciting
9.) Pinterest and Runner’s World are your friend
10.) Remember why you run, enjoy it!