It’s done!

I ran 13.1 miles and survived!

The first half marathon running ottawa half-marathon
Recap posts sometimes goes through all the details of the day, the blow-by-blow of the race. Mile by mile. I could do this too… the logistics and the prep, but really I don’t want to talk about it. It’s done. And right now I don’t think the intricacies of what I did is important.

What is important is that I want to do it again. Now that its been a week since Ottawa I look forward to training again. I liked following a schedule. If you would have asked me as soon as I finished… crawling across the finish line… I probably would have said never. But right now, just back from a 3 miles run, I’m thinking about when I can find my next race.

I finished with a time of 2:45.. just about where I had expected. I had used one of those online calculators when I first signed up and it told me that based on my 5k pace I was looking at 2:45 for a half marathon. And you know what it was right…. Mr. McMillan’s formulas work.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to talk about my time here. I considered just telling you about my run and telling you how great I feel now that it is done. Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud. I’m proud I finished. Very happy that I’m under the 3 hour mark. I’m proud to say I finished a half marathon. 10 minutes before I signed up I thought I didn’t have the guts to try. 10 minutes before I crossed the start line I was considering walking back to the hotel. But then I thought about how hard it would be to explain to everyone expecting me to run that I decided not to, so I ran.

I decided I would tell you about my 2:45 because there are other women out there like me that have never ran a half marathon before. They are afraid it’s impossible and they shouldn’t bother unless they can do it under 2:20 or 2 hours or something like that. Let’s face it, most bloggers that blog about running are really good at running. They can run faster than me. A lot faster.

I’m sharing my time because when I started thinking about running a half marathon I couldn’t find very many stories from women who ran 13.1 miles in over 2hours and 30 minutes. I found lots of stories from people who were trying to break 2:20, or 2 hours, or even 1:45. People who could run 8 minute miles – and run 13 of them in one go. But I couldn’t find many people like me. People that weren’t on the track team in high school, who hadn’t taken up running in college, or who weren’t always athletic. There are even stories of people who never really ran at all but then signed up for their first half marathon and ran it in 2 hours and 10 minutes. Like it was no big deal. I know I’m not unique. But I was looking for proof that a half marathon was possible for someone like me and that proof was hard to find.

So here is what you need to know:

  • 10 days before my 40th birthday I ran my first half marathon and it was really hard. 
  • I followed a beginner’s training plan, and did the bare minimum. For the most part I got in all my runs in each week – which was about 3x per week. But when my plan suggested cross-training or an optional run I usually skipped it.
  • I also skipped most of the strength training. I regret this. I know that I would have felt stronger half way through those 13.1 miles had I spent more time with weights and putting in more total miles in each week. But I was afraid weights would cause muscle soreness and mess with my runs. Not so smart.
  • I work full time and juggling training with the demands of work and 2 young kids was challenging. Not my excuse for missing the extra workouts.. but a challenge nonetheless and worth noting if only to make the point that there is a time commitment to training and you have to be ready for it. 
  • Prior to starting my training my longest ever run was about 4.5 miles. 
  • My longest run during my training was 10 miles, which I only did once. And at this point I wish I would have gone further…. the last 2 miles were the hardest. I walked a good part of them.
  • I followed a run/walk method… run 10 minutes / walk 1 minute… which I used during my long training runs too. I found with the run/walk method that my overall pace is better, when I tried any run over 6 miles without run/walk intervals, my all-over pace was slower than when I did the run/walk thing.

So yes there will be more half marathons in my future. I want to keep running and I like having a goal to work towards. I also want to improve and I have found some things to work on for next time.

The best part of my experience in Ottawa was all the support I felt from family and friends. My Facebook page was flooded with comments and encouragement and that was really amazing. I didn’t expect it. And everyone deserves a special Thank-you. I can’t tell you how awesome it felt.

My husband. Oh wow! My husband is amazing. My husband ran the full marathon. He started at 7 am. My corral for the Half started at 9:30. He was on track to finish his full marathon at around 4:15, but instead he waited for me about 1 mile from the finish line so we could finish together. He waited almost an hour for me. Standing there ignoring the by-standers telling to “Go, You can do it!” He got stiff and tired. And this meant that his finish time was 5:15 as we crossed the line together. I am so grateful that he did that. We finished together. And that is the best thing ever about my first half marathon. I needed him at the end. And I’m in awe that finishing with me was more important to him that getting “his time.” Best gift ever.

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