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Training for my first half marathon


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I can empathise.  I had a poor one yesterday and cut it short - partly feeling uncomfortable, and partly worrying about the park's new earlier closing time. I've been tapering in advance of the HM on Sunday, and I'm not finding it easy.  I've just got to have faith that I'll have the fuel in the tank for when I need it.  I've done the training, it ought to be there.  One more run before the big day.  Fretting is pointless.... all I can do is have one more run, eat sensibly, get a lot of good sleep over the next few nights, and then do my best on the day.  It'll be fine.  It'll be fine for all of us HM first timers if we've trained right, and if we don't get carried away in the first few miles.

 

Yesterday I ran my first ever half marathon.  I had three goals - Finish; Finish in under 2 hours; Finish under 1hr 50.  I finished in 1hr 46:03.

 

I can honestly say I loved every moment.  A few nerves at the start, but have some good chats with the people stood around me, and with my new hero, the pace runner for 1hr 50, who had the target time on a banner sticking out of a pack frame.

 

It felt like a long wait at the start... I wanted to line up early to make sure I was within sight of the pacer, and then of course it took a while to get the wheelchair race, the elite runners and the other seriously fast boys and girls off and running.  But then we walked forward... and kept walking... until a little space started to open up, and the walk became a trot and then a run as we crossed the start line.  We were off, spectators were cheering, music was booming out, and I found myself grinning like an idiot.

 

I've run 5k park runs and 10k events and thought I was relatively used to running in races, but I've never experienced numbers like this.  While it never felt dangerous, I did feel it took a lot of concentration to run safely and considerately while keeping within striking distance of the pace runner.  Especially as there were a fair few people doing this, so I think there was a more crowded pyramid of runners with the Pied Piper of 1hr 50 at the tip than elsewhere on the course.  I'm amazed that people run these things with headphones in.  The first few miles went by pretty quickly - surprisingly quickly.  I usually struggle a bit early on, with my body protesting noisily as an energy levels drop (think I posted about that earlier in this thread), but not this time.  I heard someone from the crowd shout that we were one and a half miles in, but didn't believe it until I saw a 2 mile marker shortly afterwards.  Miles confuse me - I train in KM!

 

I guess long slow runs in training don't have much in the way of distractions, so it's just me, other park users, and whatever podcast I'm listening to.  On raceday, I've got to manage my road position, which kept my mind busy, and there were a lot of spectators cheering runners on.  Lots of people cheering for friends and relatives, lots of people cheering for anyone and everyone. Live music outside the Irish club, a few troupes of cheerleaders making pyramids (we don't really do cheerleaders in the UK), little kids going absolutely nuts when mummy or daddy runs past, charity fundraisers cheering runners in their charity vests, and everyone else.  The final few miles looping around the race village, finishing past an actual grandstand.

 

But I get ahead of myself.  2 miles, 3 miles, 4 miles.. tick over and tick by... nice flat course helps, as do well marshalled water stations.  It's a warm, sunny day for an English September, and I'm aware that I'm drenched in sweat, but I'm feeling fine.  Better than fine.  Great. Before I know it, I'm running around a part of the city near where I work, and which I know very well.  It's also very pretty.  In my early, too-ambitious plan, I was thinking of breaking with the pacer at 7 miles and seeing how far ahead I could get.  But the pacer had got me to halfway... having a pacer held me back in the first few miles, and dragged me forward in the next few as I got a bit complacent and dropped the pace a little without noticing.  

 

But halfway through halfway back, I notice I'm having to work harder not to overtake the pacer.  So I decide to ignore him unless he got in front of me, and ran my own race from then on in.  I knew this part of the city well, and I could imagine virtually all of the last few miles.  So I struck out on my own, not holding myself back up the last uphill as I powered towards the city centre.  I noticed the runners around me seemed to be slower, or slowing.  This held me back a little, as I get nervous if I'm going too much faster than those around me.  I realise now that it was more a case of me having too much in the tank, rather than them having too little.  I could have gone faster earlier, but I'd calculated that 1hr 50 was as good as I could realistically expect.  I underestimated myself, but I still think my strategy was right given what I knew at the time.

 

So the last two miles... along the river, a big, flat, cruel loop going within sight of the race finish for an out and back.  We're running along fairly narrow riverside paths now, not wide traffic-cleared roads.  I take the brakes off, treat it like a 10k, and pick my way through the field.  I know I've done well.... know this will be quick.  And then I catch sight of the official clock... I've got about two minutes to cross the finish line to finish under 1hr 50... I know that's 'gun time' not 'chip time' (in fact it wasn't gun time either - possibly the start of the wheelchair race, not sure)... but I want it anyway.  So I embark on a frankly ridiculous sprint finish, picking my way through and around people, trying to hurl myself over the line.  That last sprint hurt a bit, but the rest of it.... didn't.  A few miles previously, the marathoners turned left where the halfers turned right, and while I didn't think I could have gone left, for the first time I felt running a marathon was something I might concievably do.... with the right training.  Maybe next year.

 

Afterwards... I've felt worse after a 10k, and after one particular 5k than I did after this.  I made sure to hang around and thank the pace runner, who said he got in bang on 1hr 50.  That's an amazing skill to do that, especially running at an even pace.  I was a little sorry not to see the moment when his followers all broke for the line, but probably most of them either dropped off the back or struck out on their own.

 

So, what did I learn?  I'm really proud at what I achieved, especially as I used to need 42" trousers (34" now) a few years back.  I made my basic goal, my "disappointed if don't get" goal, and comfortably exceeded my "stretch" goal of 1hr 50.  But it raises the question of how fast I could have gone if I'd have followed a different pace runner, or struck out on my own earlier.  And of running a full marathon.  But I'm also aware that maybe yesterday was a "perfect day" in good conditions when I was at some sort of peak and things went well - I don't want to assume that's typical.  But I think I can do better.

 

What would I say to other first time half marathoners?  If your race has pace runners, use 'em.  Tapering works, or at least worked for me.  If you've put in the right training, then all being well, you'll be fine.  Enjoy it.  Look around.  Smile.  Take in the atmosphere.  Grin like an idiot.  Enjoy every step.  And tell us how it went!

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 Level 4 Human Adventurer / Level 4 Scout, couch to 5k graduate, six time marathon finisher.

Spoiler

 

Current 5k Personal Best: 22:00 / 21:23 / 21:13 / 21:09 / 20:55 / 20:25 (4th July 17)

Current 5 mile PB: 36:41 35:27 34:52 (10th May 17)

Current 10k PB: 44:58 44:27 44:07 44:06 43:50 (29th June 17)

Current Half Marathon PB: 1:41:54 1:38:24 1:37:47 1:37:41 (14th June 15)

Current Marathon PB: 3:39:34 3:29:49 (10th April 16)

 

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That sounds incredible!  Goose bumps reading it and am so proud of you!!!  I mean that sounds absolutely fantastic!!!  You put in the work and everything came together that day even things like the weather.  It will be so amazing to hear how it goes from here for you.  

 

I have not done official 5k and 10k races prior to this event this year.  Yep I have lost weight too.  My main goal is finishing and having fun.  I am shooting for 3 hours however I would like to do better.   I know through the winter with continued running and weight loss it will certainly get better and next spring I just may have a time goal in mind based on how my training is progressing.  Okay I got it: have fun, grin grin and grin some more, use the pacer, and simply enjoy the experience.  

 

My legs are tired today so no biking to work and resisting the urge to ride the stationary at home.  My current challenge involves 450 miles covered.  As great as that is for me I need to be sensible this week since this goal has been in the works for a while.  More of a priority.  This week I will have to chill on doing too much.  I think I may run 3 miles tomorrow but will skip the lunch time walk since I will bike to work.  No biking Friday.  I am also backing off the strength training I have been doing for lower body.  May still do some abs and upper body work but again keeping it at body weight and not going to increase anything.  All I have done today is walk 3 miles at lunch.  Keeping at that for today's miles in addition to some push ups, planks, and stretching.

 

I have been mad with stairs actively avoiding elevators.  I can cover several flights a day (16-38 on any given day) so for this week only I will drastically reduce my stair use.  They do still tire me a bit and yes tax my legs but not as bad as they used to however I think that is one less stress for my legs if I temporarily back off the stair use.  Boy that will freak some people out at work.  LOL 

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LOL no online tracking that I am aware of and we are a bit old school.  We have old flip phones for regular emergency use and my old smart phone is merely a glorified gps device I can track distances and routes.   I had to transfer to Run Like a Girl which is hugely ironic since there is nothing girly about me.  My daughter thinks it is hilarious but it fit my schedule.  http://www.runlikeagirlcolumbus.com/

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Well I am proud to say I did it despite many problems!  Yep I managed a full 13.1!  The night before it rained so the course was littered with wet leaves, bark, and branches.  It was a whopping 43 degrees out with little bouts of rain when it was not sleeting for 30 minutes of the run and a good solid rain for 30 minutes of the run.  Not exactly ideal.  I had a pretty bad sinus thing going on so it was tough to breath.  So in reading all this and what is yet to come you have to be wondering if I enjoyed it.  Yes I did.  I had a lot of fun.  I met a neat lady that helped me through.  I made many mistakes and learned a ton.  I got to see my husband who knew I could do it and was an awesome cheerleader the entire time at the finish line with our daughter.  I got to show her that despite being sick for a couple years (RA) that it is possible to do these amazing things.  That even though I was not feeling well I could get out there and do it.  It may not have been a good run for me, in fact it was slower than my slowest long run, I did not give up and I finished.  All that made it worthwhile. 

 

So I found for that weather there is no good way to dress.  My jacket was soggy so putting it on when cold was not fun but it was better than being plain cold.  I think I had started to get frost bite.  I forgot to mention that it started to snow at some point.  I got home and discovered that cold water was too hot for parts of my skin.  Ouch.  Still managed a soak in a nice warm bath....aaahhhh.  So last minuted I decided to leave my watch/hr monitor at home.  Figured they would be distracting.  Big mistake.  There were no pace groups.  That was shocking.  Therefore I went out way too fast because I was nervous and happy to be there in the drizzle.  Uh oh.  Ran the best 3.5 miles I have ever run but then my pace really suffered the rest of the time.  Oh my gosh, it was the hilliest course they could have chosen.  At least it felt that way.  Okay I am a creature of habit and for a change decided to listen to the radio.  It was raining and no one was talking.  We were miserable.  That was distracting.  I should have listened to what I normally listen to although I was using one ear bud so I could pay attention around me and not appear anti-social.  I did use my inhaler in the morning but it wore off and never having to use it twice during any run I left it at home.  Big mistake.  Exercise induced asthma, in my case, does not like cold and wet.  Also I did not consider the fact I used it an hour + before the race and I would be able to use it again during the race.  About the time my lungs tightened up I would have been able to use it no worries.  So by 6.5-7 it was a steady routine of run some at an easy pace, walk break to cough/hack, walk to blow my nose due to massive congestion, run, and repeat.  About this time I was considering dropping out.  Hard to run when breathing was not so enjoyable.  It was at mile 7 I met this lovely lady named Brenda.  Brenda was on her second half.  In fact we determined that I volunteered at her first half and actually gave her a banana and congratulated her.  Very cool.  She said she had been sick all week like me and considered not doing it like me.  She had a group she was with but she told them they could go ahead when she had a restroom stop.  As a result we met up and since it was my first and I was by myself she took it upon herself to be my buddy for the remaining miles.  We kept each other going.  Run flats and downhills, walk uphills, and just do not stop moving.  By mile 10 she was cramping and slowing way down.  She was not wanting to run anymore but focus on finishing.  She wanted me to go ahead but I refused.  She kept me going when I was on the verge of stopping.  I was not going to leave her just to be able to finish 30 minutes faster.  Believe it or not I would have made it in 3 hours if I had not stayed with her.  It is not like I was going to set some amazing personal record or place.  At this point it was about getting it done.  So we walked the last 5K running the last 1/10 of a mile to the finish.  We walked slowly but we kept moving.  The course was really pretty at points and we saw some neat things along the way.

 

I wanted to be disappointed but I am could not be and I am not.  I learned so much.  I know what I want to do in my training.  I was questioning my sanity around miles 5 & 6.  What was I thinking?  Then I realized that I so want to do this again and do it better!  Spent all of Sunday sick in bed since the sinus issue then settled in my chest.  Still feeling cruddy today.

 

So I leaned:

1.  Have to work on the dressing for the weather thing....need a water resistant jacket if nothing else.

2.  Do not count on the race having pace groups.

3.  Do not break routines.  Keep with the hr monitor and watch (ties into lesson 2) and keep with other routines such as music.

4.  Do not pace with others that you sense are going way too fast for your normal paces.  If your first 3.5 miles are way beyond what you could do on any given day then perhaps you are going way too fast for a half.  If I had been running a 5K it would have been amazing!!!

5.  Perhaps not to run when sinuses are so aggravated or try not to get sick before a race....LOL

6.  Always take my inhaler.

7.  I loved the experience and want to do it again.

8.  Having someone to chat with was really nice.  Not used to running with anyone.

9.  Being someone not comfortable in a crowd I did not melt at the idea and getting to the race early was a nice way to adjust to the entire situation.  Being alone there was not bad (family dropped me off and went back home for a bit which considering the weather was a good thing).

10. Seeing my two favorite faces smiling and cheering me on at the finish made me feel absolutely amazing.

 

To celebrate my husband made me the best burger ever.  He also made plantain chips that were perfectly crispy!  Unfortunately he had to spend the entire next day taking care of an extra sick wife.  I forgot to say before the race he made breakfast.  Avacado, a piece of pork tenderloin, and scrambled egg.  Awesome pre race meal.

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Really well done.... that's a terrific effort to finish and to enjoy it under those circumstances.  Hope you're feeling better.  What's your next running target?  Or is it too soon to think about that?

 

I ran a 10k over the weekend and broke 45mins for the first time over a really tough course, which was astonishing.  I'm still trying to work out how it happened, but I think it might just have been a case of trying to keep up with faster people and generally managing it.  I've entered another half marathon in a few weeks.... this one is "undulating" with at least one nasty hill, no pace runners, and while my first half marathon was on an unusually warm autumn day, the weather has now broken and it's autumn with a vengeance. I'm not expecting to run faster than last time, but it would be good to get round another one, and apparently the scenery is spectacular.

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 Level 4 Human Adventurer / Level 4 Scout, couch to 5k graduate, six time marathon finisher.

Spoiler

 

Current 5k Personal Best: 22:00 / 21:23 / 21:13 / 21:09 / 20:55 / 20:25 (4th July 17)

Current 5 mile PB: 36:41 35:27 34:52 (10th May 17)

Current 10k PB: 44:58 44:27 44:07 44:06 43:50 (29th June 17)

Current Half Marathon PB: 1:41:54 1:38:24 1:37:47 1:37:41 (14th June 15)

Current Marathon PB: 3:39:34 3:29:49 (10th April 16)

 

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All in all it really was a unique experience.  I do not think any one mistake I made or weather issue was enough to make it bad but the combination that came together that day certainly did make it challenging.  Glad I did it and look forward to more in the future.  I did finish with a smile!  So my main goals where accomplished:  finish and do it with a smile.

 

Right now I have no other races lined up.  Wish I did but $ is way too tight at the moment.  I was only able to sign up for this back in the Spring due to tax return.  I definitely want to sign up for a couple events next year.  Maybe another half to do better and a full in the fall.  If money permits and a 5K or 10K  comes up sooner I would like to do one.  In the early spring my work has a 5K to raise funds to help students afford textbooks.  I am going to do that one.  It was the first one I did 2 years back.  I walked it with a friend and that is when I decided I was going to work on running again.  Cleared up some health issues and well here I am!  I had a coworker invite me to run a 15K but that event is $70!  Ouch.  It was awesome to be invited.

 

Still pretty sick but am doing better so right now is just a break.  My legs are still a little sore.  Since autumn has arrived here too I am going to keep my base of around 8 miles for LSR and work on improving in general.  I have been doing a lot of reading.  Has anyone tried MAF?  

 

Our area is hilly and it seems the courses in general around our city are always going to be on the hilly side.  Those darn race directors need to plan routes I like to run...ha ha ha!  So I need to work on hills and strength.  On my LSR I could not avoid hills but I also tried to not run a route that had that many hills either.  Also I am taking this time for general strength training, biking more, and continuing to loose weight.  That is the game plan at the moment.  For variety I do want to incorporate HIIT once a week.  It is looking like that may be better to save those workouts for my bike for now.  While in the "off season" for running (I will certainly be running even in the snow or indoors) I am going to work on building up for a 100 miler on my bike just for the fun of it.  Yes that is my idea of fun.  Either way I know I am at the point I can and need to push myself in regards to running.  Perhaps I have just a little bit more confidence to get it done.

 

I was so surprised at how many medals were left when I finished.  Since the route had a couple out and backs I knew approximately how many people would be coming in behind me and there were definitely way too many medals left.  I have to wonder if others decided not to participate due to weather or drop out during the event.  I did see a few leave the course and head back throwing in the towel.  The big advantage of out and backs in the route was we kept cheering each other on since the weather definitely kept people away from the event.  I also got to see some very impressive runners.  I saw the leader at one point and as I clapped for them they turned smiled and started to cheer me on too.  Very cool.  At this stage they were about 4 miles ahad of me.  LOL  There were a few people not cheering others on but we all do what we need to do to finish.  The weather was tough.  I am going to keep an eye out for a decent rain jacket I can wear running.  Cold wet jackets are not fun to put on when you are cold and wet too.  LOL  Oh so many wonderful lessons learned!

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Really well done.... that's a terrific effort to finish and to enjoy it under those circumstances.  Hope you're feeling better.  What's your next running target?  Or is it too soon to think about that?

 

I ran a 10k over the weekend and broke 45mins for the first time over a really tough course, which was astonishing.  I'm still trying to work out how it happened, but I think it might just have been a case of trying to keep up with faster people and generally managing it.  I've entered another half marathon in a few weeks.... this one is "undulating" with at least one nasty hill, no pace runners, and while my first half marathon was on an unusually warm autumn day, the weather has now broken and it's autumn with a vengeance. I'm not expecting to run faster than last time, but it would be good to get round another one, and apparently the scenery is spectacular.

Congratulations on the 10K!  That is fantastic!  You may be one of those faster people yourself now and you simply did not realize it.  I look forward to hearing about your next half.

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Well done- now for the next one?

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I am excited to work on my next round of training so I can smoke the next event I am able to do!  Working on a tentative plan this evening so I can start when I am feeling better.  Tough part is trying to figure out what I want to utilize training wise.

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I'm just shooting for better times in the 5,10,15k and Half, I really have no desire to train for a full

 

So I highly recommend the Mohawk Hudson Half for anyone in this area; beautiful course, awesome crowds, a few pep bands, awesome volunteers; finished in 1:43 so my goal is going to be to break that time next year.

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I'm just shooting for better times in the 5,10,15k and Half, I really have no desire to train for a full

 

So I highly recommend the Mohawk Hudson Half for anyone in this area; beautiful course, awesome crowds, a few pep bands, awesome volunteers; finished in 1:43 so my goal is going to be to break that time next year.

That does look like a great hm.  That is a great time!  Wow.  I know 2 people that came in at 1:43 and 1:45 at the half I volunteered at and it was amazing to see them at the finish.

 

I am working on better times for sure.  The hm I ran was tough so mentally I am a bit shy with training for a full I have to admit.  That was a goal set for late next year.  We have one in October for Nationwide Childrens Hospital that would be a good one but the course is not exactly scenic.  If I do put it off one more year then I am thinking the Air Force Marathon.  I know some folks that have run that and said it was great despite the hills.  But then they lament about the hills.  LOL  Therefore right now I am focusing on improving what I am already able to do and then I will consider building distance.  It would be great to have a 2 hour half.  Believe me the day I run 13.1 in 2 hours (or less) I will be jumping for joy and posting it here!

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Okay I have a confession.  LOL  I do not run for medals and certainly did not pay and enter the event for a medal.  The sense of community was what I enjoyed from the experience.  However now I have the darn thing and once in a while I still want to wear it for fun at home.  It is hanging in our living room so my kiddo looks at it and touches it and well I think about wearing it just because I can.  Anyone else do that?  I am surprised at how much that trinket of a reminder means to me.  I look at it and recall the sense of satisfaction of completing my first one.

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Love that race bling!  On my wish list is a race medal hanger so I can display mine with pride.  Something like this, maybe:

71hYap-puLL._SL1500_.jpg

I can't say that I wear many of mine (except one awesome 5K where the finisher prize was a silver nautilus necklace!)  But I like to see them.  Right now, mine are hanging in the bathroom mirror where I can see them everyday and remind myself, "I did that!"

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Love that race bling!  On my wish list is a race medal hanger so I can display mine with pride.  Something like this, maybe:

 

I can't say that I wear many of mine (except one awesome 5K where the finisher prize was a silver nautilus necklace!)  But I like to see them.  Right now, mine are hanging in the bathroom mirror where I can see them everyday and remind myself, "I did th

Oh that is cool and a nice way to display them.  Looking at it is a nice reminder.  It is in the living room by the exercise bike, weights, and some running gear.  I can see it from the couch too.  Good way to help motivate on those days that are hard to get going for sure.

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Love that race bling!  On my wish list is a race medal hanger so I can display mine with pride.  Something like this, maybe:

 

I can't say that I wear many of mine (except one awesome 5K where the finisher prize was a silver nautilus necklace!)  But I like to see them.  Right now, mine are hanging in the bathroom mirror where I can see them everyday and remind myself, "I did that!"

 

My wife bought me one for my basement mancave\exercise area that says beast mode across it. She wants a his & hers (not exactly saying that just one for me and one for her) to hang over our fireplace. 

 

She wants this one for hers I honestly can't remember which one she wanted to for me, it was either the skyline of our city or this one. But it will change 152 times between now and Christmas.

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My wife bought me one for my basement mancave\exercise area that says beast mode across it. She wants a his & hers (not exactly saying that just one for me and one for her) to hang over our fireplace. 

 

She wants this one for hers I honestly can't remember which one she wanted to for me, it was either the skyline of our city or this one. But it will change 152 times between now and Christmas.

I have seen his and hers displays, in fact, one that was particularly nice displayed the race bibs as well as the medals, which was neat since the numbers were so close from registering together. Would be cool if my husband was a runner, but he is definitely not.
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Life before Death

Strength before Weakness

Journey before Destination

 
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My wife bought me one for my basement mancave\exercise area that says beast mode across it. She wants a his & hers (not exactly saying that just one for me and one for her) to hang over our fireplace. 

 

She wants this one for hers I honestly can't remember which one she wanted to for me, it was either the skyline of our city or this one. But it will change 152 times between now and Christmas.

OOOO I like the one for you.  So freaking true!

Food Fight - current challenge

Yeary Bug Count 0... if you are out and about then you are probably eating bugs. :onthego:

2015 - 22.5 bugs consumed

Chasing down the most awesome version of myself one step at a time.

The Character Battle Log 1 Daily Mile

 

 

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I have seen his and hers displays, in fact, one that was particularly nice displayed the race bibs as well as the medals, which was neat since the numbers were so close from registering together. Would be cool if my husband was a runner, but he is definitely not.

Mine is not a runner either.  He does like sprinting but lately has not done it at all.  I would a long run with the spouse.  He knows me so well he would know how to push me when needed and how to do it.  Then again I do like to mental battle at times.  It feels so good to know I got through it on my own too when it was a tough run for whatever reason.

Food Fight - current challenge

Yeary Bug Count 0... if you are out and about then you are probably eating bugs. :onthego:

2015 - 22.5 bugs consumed

Chasing down the most awesome version of myself one step at a time.

The Character Battle Log 1 Daily Mile

 

 

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We don't actually run together, she hates running with me. We go to the park in the same car and run different ways. I run about 3-4 minutes per mile faster than her and usually 2-3 miles longer as well. I was going to keep pace with her in Florida but she told me not too. We both believe that running is a solo sport we can enjoy together....after the race! 

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Level 6 - Scout

 

Challenges - Lost Diary of a Scout

 

#5#4#3#2#1

 

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