When I Run a Half-Marathon

All my life I have wanted to be a runner. Several-month-long spurts of running on my parents’ treadmill every morning has happened all throughout my life, and I remember the only time I felt like a successful runner was when I ran an 8:30 mile in middle school. But even during the months of no running (which were, quite honestly, most of the months out of the year), the desire to be a runner never want away.

Who would have thought that it would be the discovery of the blogger world that would push me to actually become a runner? Here’s how it happened.

Step One (2011): Discover A Foodie Stays Fit, love it for its humor, interesting details, and discussion of clean food and running.

Step Two (2011): Keep reading A Foodie Stays Fit on a daily basis. On days when Teri hasn’t posted something new, I find myself reading multiple posts from the past until I am finally caught up on the entire blog. No shame.

Step Three (2011): Discover other blogs about running. Read them on a regular basis. Keep wishing I am a runner.

Step Four (January 2012): I make two goals for the year: 1) I will live out of my best hopes rather than out of my worst fears. 2) I will learn to love exercise.

Step Five (March 2012): Buy my first pair of Vibram FiveFingers because Teri, Ashley (from Edible Perspective), and the Vibram FiveFingers website have convinced me that they are more than worth a try. Promise myself that I will actually use these shoes . . . by running a half-marathon!
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Step Six (March-April 2012): Run several minutes each day each week, gradually increasing the number of minutes each week. (Sometimes this happens; sometimes it doesn’t. I am mid-semester of college, after all.) Create a Wish List of running clothes and set another goal: if I have been running consistently by June and can run up to 3 miles by then, I will buy myself one item from this list.

Step Seven (May 2012): My parents surprise me with gifts from my Wish List (early birthday presents!). By this time, I am well-versed in “runner’s food” and “runner’s clothing” and “how to get into a running groove,” but it’s time to actually put that knowledge into practice. No more excuses – the semester is over! I start running, increasing my mileage each week . . .

MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS during this month: I run two miles in under 20 minutes in Kiawah, South Carolina (the most beautiful place to be and to run, I am convinced); I run two miles on the beach without dying; and I register for the Bass Pro Half-Marathon.

Step Eight (June-August 2012): Set a goal to keep increasing my running mileage each week. Fail: I’m a residential camp counselor at one of my favorite places in the world. Ain’t nobody got time to run!

Step Nine (August-November 2012): Get serious about increasing my running mileage because I seriously feel guilty about now owning what’s on my Wish List without having much to show for it – plus, I’m not going to waste a $50 half-marathon registration! Start training with my friend Ciara (who has run one half-marathon before). We use a Hal Higdon Training Plan. Write each workout into my planner IN PEN; it’s part of my day, and I can only scratch it out of my calendar under extreme circumstances.

MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS during this time: I meet my second 2012 goal of learning to love exercising; I somehow/sometime fall in love with running and begin to look forward to the scheduled runs; I make time for training; I work up to being able to run 10 miles, and I finally feel comfortable/confident enough to go out and run 4 miles alone.

Step Ten (November 4, 2012): Run the half-marathon!!!
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I am overwhelmed by gratitude for having been able to run this half-marathon (and do all the necessary training for it beforehand). Until I find a more appropriate place of honor for my medal, it will stay looped over my bedpost, a daily reminder of a childhood dream accomplished. I still feel grateful, content, and humbled today when I think about this whole experience. So, so grateful.

(. . . I don’t have much encouragement to offer as to how much I’ve been running since the half-marathon, but let’s just say that I’m working up to it.)

I’d love to hear your running story! Please comment below. 

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8 thoughts on “When I Run a Half-Marathon

  1. I am so excited for you and your running journey! I love running so much and it makes me happy when other people become runners too! (even if I don’t know them)

    I have some vibram five finger shoes and I did not ease my way into them properly and ended up with a stress fracture in my foot. Because I was so impatient to run in them I ended up not being able to run at all for 6 weeks. Be careful!

    I’m nominating your blog for the Liebster Award: http://myhealthychef.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/the-liebster-award/

    1. My Healthy Chef, I am totally with you about the excitement. I’m still in shock that I can call myself a runner, so I get particularly excited about the running community in general as well as new additions to it. 🙂

      I’ve heard that it’s tricky working your way into Vibrams. It was for me too, so I was on-again/off-again with them for a few months. Sorry to hear about your stress fracture. No fun at all.

      Thank you so much for nominating Powerfully Quiet! I am honored.

  2. Saw your inspiring blog because I am friends with Kelly Bevill! This is amazing and a very similar story to my own. I ran my first half-marathon in October and did far better than I ever imagined. Being able to run 10 miles straight two weeks prior to the marathon was the best feeling I’ve ever had. It is addicting, I can’t wait until I run my next one. I too had the goal of falling in love with exercise and using food as fuel instead of mindlessly putting stuff in my mouth! I’m so happy for you! I feel the same too, it’s as if I can’t believe I’m an actual “athlete!” Would love to hear more about the Vibrams…I’m in the market for new shoes as I have worn serious holes into my Pumas and now have to wrap my ankles in moleskins anytime I run to avoid serious blisters. WAY TO GO!!! You should feel super awesome 🙂

    1. Thanks for reading! Kelly is wonderful. 🙂

      Congratulations on running your first half-marathon! I’m glad we get to share the excitement of being in the same boat.

      I am a huge fan of Vibrams. I did a lot of research about them before purchasing them (through the Vibrams website as well as through the two blogs I mention in my post: A Foodie Stays Fit and Edible Perspective), which is what convinced me that the barefoot running technique is legitimate and worth a try. The basic run-down is that Vibrams lets your body do the work by strengthening your ankles, for example, rather than preventing your feet from getting naturally stronger the way that traditional running shoes do (through things like over-cushioning). I have absolutely found this to be true as I compare the way I run in Vibrams versus traditional running shoes. However, this does mean that if you switch over to Vibrams, you will really need to ease your way into them. I’m talking start walking around in them all the time to get used to them, but don’t run more than half a mile in them the first week. That kind of slow transition :). I experienced an immense amount of soreness in my calves the first few months I was breaking in my Sprints, but they are so worth it! I feel that I can run better (more quickly, more easily, and less distracted) because there is less material on my feet and because, yes, my feet have become stronger – so, theoretically, I should be able to run barefoot nearly as well as I do in Vibrams. Also, I have had my Sprints since March and have trained for the half in the them, and I haven’t gotten any holes in mine yet, so that’s a good sign! I’m not sure when they’ll wear out, but I just wanted to throw that out there since many people are concerned that Vibrams don’t have enough support and will get worn down easily.

      Whew! That was much longer than expected. I’d encourage you to do some research on the Vibrams so that you can get a more in-depth explanation about the barefoot running theory than what I just gave you.

      Thanks for commenting! And, again, congratulations on definitely becoming an athlete! 🙂

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