my first half-marathon (eeee!)

Why hello there, friends! How do you do on this fine Tuesday night? I’m kind of slap happy right now from lack of sleep, just in case you couldn’t tell from my exuberant opening.

So.. let’s get down to it, shall we?

Overall, a great first half! I still can’t really believe that I did it. I don’t consider myself a “runner” {will I ever?} and have never been very good at it, so this is a big accomplishment for me. It feels kind of surreal to train for something so hard & anticipate it for so long and then have it over with in an instant! Well, not quiteeee an instant. I WISH I could run 21.097 kilometres in an instant ;)

I had wanted to try the half last year, but ended up getting stress fractures during my training so was unable to do it. This year, I made sure to give myself a TON of time to train (seven months, which is a little much I know) so I could build up my mileage gradually & not stress my legs too much at once. Ultimately, I’m very glad I did this; that said, it did make the training process seem a little more daunting and obviously very long. I tried to run 3x/week, with one being my distance run, one focused on speed & one focused on hill training. The other days I did my regular weight training & yoga.

OKAY. SO.. the run itself!

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is the biggest Canadian run & attracts athletes from all around the world! This year, 25,000 people came out to run the 5k, half-marathon & full marathon. Ed Whitlock, an 81-year-old man, broke yet another world record by running the fastest marathon in his age category .. 3h 30min. CRAY CRAY!!! Last year, Fauja Sing also completed the marathon at age 100. 100! This guys are so inspirational! The run is filled with so much energy, partially due to all of the incredible spectators that come out to show support, hold hilarious posters & all. It’s a beautiful course, taking runners through the downtown core and around the majority of the waterfront.

As I mentioned in my morning-of post, I had an absolutely horrible sleep the night before the race. Isn’t it ironic that the nights we need sleep the most we can’t get it? Ha! Life! Luckily all of the adrenaline far outshone my tiredness, so I was feeling okay!

The weather was supposed to be humid & rainy – not exactly the optimal conditions for running. I lucked out, though, as it ended up stopping just in time for the race to start! However, it was raining literally up until my corral was off, so my shoes (& feet) got absolutely SOAKED. Soaked shoe & feet syndrome = blister city. My feet were absolutely COVERED in the nastiest blisters known to human kind, so it made the latter half of the run very painful.

Duncan ended up walking to the starting line with me & saw me off JUST IN TIME for my corral to begin the run {I usually arrive pretty last minute as I hate standing around .. it makes me nervous!}. As soon as I crossed that finish line, I had the goofiest smile on my face thinking how much I LOVE races. They just make me feel so happy and ALIVE (excuse the cheese). Kilometres 1-7 were pretty damn fantastic – I was rocking out to my playlist, keeping a steady pace of about 5:35 km/hr., and stopping every 2.5-3 km at the water stations. When I passed the 5k marker at 28 minutes, I was feeling really good & thinking (in the back of my half-marathon-virgin mind) that there was a possibility of running a sub-2 hour half marathon! Ha! Wishful thinking for sure.

Around the 8k mark, I started getting a nagging cramp in my side that would.not.go.away. It lasted for about 15-minutes or so & definitely slowed me down. GRRRR. I think I kind of got in a bit of a daze after that ‘cause I can’t really remember in detail what happened .. but I guess running over 21km can get a little monotonous after a while ;)

Kilometres 10-15 were pretty good, though I was definitely starting to lose steam. And then after 15k, it allllll went downhill (not literally .. THAT I could have dealt with!). My knee started to REALLY hurt, my feet were super blistered + my hamstrings had just had enough. For the most part I stayed mentally upbeat, but my body was not pleased with me. I ended up slowing my pace quite a bit & had to take more walking breaks than I had initially planned. I ended up crossing the finish line at 2:08:03 with absolutely nothing left in the tank! I pushed and pushed and pushed as hard as I could and am really happy with my result :)

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The best part? My incredible boyfriend rented a bike & basically followed me along the route and cheered me on wherever he could! He ended up spectating at kilometres 5, 8, 10, 17, 19 and again at the finish line! It made me SO happy to see him & gave me something to look forward to between each kilometre. It also motivated me to NOT walk, as I didn’t want him to catch me slacking off ;)

{this photo was taken by Duncan’s dad & REALLY was candid. I swear}

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And the second best part?… seeing a pumpkin run the FULL marathon. I kid you not. A man was dressed in a full-body pumpkin suit (we’re talking lower body too!) running 42 kilometres. I tried to snap a pic, which you can marvel at below.

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It was a great run & I’m so happy I did it. Hard work really does pay off & I’m confident that anyone can do a half-marathon if they put their heart to it. It’s such a great feeling to cross that finish line & know that you’ve given it your all.

What will I do differently next time? I’m really proud of myself & know that I really did give this race my all. However, I did see a physiotherapist the day after the run about my nagging knee issues & learned that I have the classic “runner’s knee” (could they not have come up with something a little more original?!) caused by a tight and over-worked IT band. Knowing this moving forward, I’ll emphasize stretching and strengthening my hips, glutes, hamstrings & IT band as part of my training plan next time around. I MAYYYY even consider foam rolling, but let’s not get too carried away just yet ;)

I apologize for this super long post. If you’ve made it this far, CONGRATULATIONS and thank you for sticking with it .. you PROBABLY have the stamina to do a half-marathon yourself (if you haven’t already) ;) I’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, etc on running.. so let’s get chatting!

Have you ever run a half-marathon? Or a full (EEEK!)? Would you like to?

What is your favourite race distance? Have you never done a race but want to try? Tell me all.

Love,

A xo

3 thoughts on “my first half-marathon (eeee!)

  1. CONGRATS!! Reading re-caps of half marathons always makes me re-live my half as well – so exciting!! AMAZING AMAZING time for having a cramp and all those sill blisters, ugh, blisters are the worst I find. Your boyfriend is awesome, talk about being the best guy ever! I found that seeing friends and family during the race gave me a huge energy boost (and like you, couldn’t let them see me be a slacker, right?) hahahaha THE PUMPKIN rocks my world.. how? I always wonder when people wear crazy things and run.. I’d collapse after about 2km if I wore anything but spandex-y type clothing.

    Woohoo!!! Onto the next half marathon!!

  2. Congrats! I love half marathons because they are challenging but you feel pretty descent afterwards! Love the picture of the pumpkin too : ) I watched the Chicago marathon earlier this month and there were so many great costumes. I don’t think I could run 2 miles as a pumpkin let alone 26…ha ha!

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