Lessons from my first half marathon

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here, friends! Life got super crazy, as it tends to do, and I unfortunately didn’t have time to keep up my blog in addition to everything else going on. I am almost 1 year into my program and am around 60 pounds down give or take. As I have mentioned in previous posts I have taken up running, and part of the reason for not updating this blog was because I was training for my first ever half marathon!!!

For those who don’t know, a half marathon is 13.1 miles long. I signed up for the Pittsburgh half marathon on May 6th, which has a pretty strict time limit on it if you are a slow runner (more on that later). Since I didn’t want that kind of pressure, I decided to sign up for another half marathon 3 weeks before to get a feel for the distance. I’m so glad I did, even though it was a miserable experience. So, with the Pittsburgh half just around the corner, here are some lessons I have learned since I began training in November:

1) It’s okay to have a bad training day, or to end a run short, or to just not run at all for a day (or a week if you get sick). Self-care is so important in general, and at first I would beat myself up over not going as fast as I did before, or cutting a run short if I really wasn’t in the mood. Once I learned to cut myself some slack with the training program, I found my other non-running self care skills started to improve as well!

2) It’s good to train outside in bad weather. Due to the rough winter we had I didn’t want to risk running outside most of the time, and 40 degrees was my outdoor cutoff. Well, wouldn’t you know it race day was a steady rain all day with temperatures falling from 39 degrees. I had to play a guessing game with how my body would react and just hope for the best.

3) Keep moving forward. Probably the best advice I read on the internet prior to my race was that no matter how slowly you are moving, keep moving forward during the run. “Forward progress” became my mantra for a good while while I was freezing my butt off.

4) Your muscles cramp up way easier in the cold. I knew this before from track in high school, but I had forgotten just how fast it could happen. I thought for sure I had messed up my knee quite bad around mile 8, but it was thankfully just a really bad upper calf cramp that went away after a few days.

5) You can get hives from taking a hot shower after being so cold for so long. I was definitely not expecting to get hives all over my back, and by far that was the most uncomfortable part of the race!!

6) The finish high is really strong when you’ve finished something for the first time. I may have been miserable, but I crossed that finish line super proud of myself and what I accomplished!

In addition to the above, probably the most important thing that I learned is that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. Last year at this time I never would have imagined that I would have completed a half marathon, yet here we are! And I finished in 3 hours, 42 minutes!! The time limit for Pittsburgh is 3:30, but I am confident now more than ever that I will cross that finish line!

I definitely could not have come this far without your support and love and friendship! I cannot wait to share about the Pittsburgh half marathon!

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