I DID IT!! I finished my first official half marathon in 2:34:42 (The Empire State Marathon) and I could not be more proud of myself.
This little “runner” who could barely run a 5K in February of 2010 finished her first half!
The race took place in Syracuse, NY and the course ran through a familiar path, the Onondaga Lake Park, home to my first (and only) 5K race. As I pressed through the park passing mile 3 I had such a sense of euphoria and accomplishment. Just 3 years prior I ran this same path full of jitters and a similar eagerness, but with no sense that I would be capable of conquering any distance greater than that. And yet there I was, I was in it with 10 miles left to go and I felt great.
I was pacing ahead of my normal training pace and was carefully monitoring my HR to settle at 160-165 BPM. Based on my prior training runs I knew that I could comfortably maintain this HR for this distance and was letting my body set the pace. The first 2 miles of the race were slightly uphill, but the majority of the course was flat and very similar to what I had been training on.
At the halfway point, my body began to feel the stresses of racing and my HR hovered between 170-175 BPM. I tried to slow down a bit to get back down to the 160’s, but found that it REALLY brought my pace down so I change my plan and aimed to keep my HR as close to 170 BPM for the remaining distance. I was able to speed things up a bit towards the end, but when I hit mile 12 my feet began to ache. I could feel it with each step and was looking forward to finishing the race so I used the cheers from the crowd and every ounce of adrenaline I had to push myself through that last mile.
Soon enough, the stadium was in sight and I could see the finish line. I was greeted by my biggest fans, my husband and son and they cheered me on in that last stretch. I sprinted to the end and crossed the finish line with dead legs and a pounding heart. I DID IT! I ran a solid 13.1 miles at my fastest time yet.
I still get excited thinking about what I had accomplished and what I still have to accomplish. The full marathon still intimidates me a bit, but I am miles from where I was and I have faith that I can make my way through it.