What I Learned Running a Half Marathon

On the ride back from Easter with my family, I decided that I wanted to run a half marathon. I asked my mom if she would run it with me and she said, “Sure pick one out”. I pulled out my phone and googled “Half Marathons in New England". I picked the Gansett Half Marathon on October 21st. It was picturesque and relatively flat, so it was my kind of half marathon. Back in April, I had never run over three miles. I have exercise induced asthma so even if I did run three miles, I would have to stop and take a breath. So running a half marathon was a lofty goal but I was determined that I would do it. And I did do it! Two hours and thirteen minutes last Sunday and I can finally put a 13.1 sticker on my car with pride. (Please enjoy this photo of my mom pulling me across the finish line as we sprinted the final bits of the last mile).

I thought I would have a hard time fitting running into my schedule. However, I found that it was actually pretty easy. I'm definitely not a morning person, so I tend to go for a run in the early evening before it gets dark. Over the summer however this was difficult. It was really hot and humid when I started training, so that meant running had to be done in the morning or after work. A couple weeks in, I felt very exhausted after work and running was the last thing I wanted to do. Unfortunately, that meant summer running was done in the morning. Once I was used to it, waking up at 6:30 AM started to be OK. Overall, I found that depending on your mileage it is really easy to get in a run. If you’re running 3-4 miles you only really need 30-40 minutes of your day. The best part for me about running is that when you’re done, you’re done. You don’t have to wipe down any machines or put away any equipment. The only thing you need to clean is yourself.

Before training, I never understood the concept of “runner’s high”. I thought it was more like, you’re not breathing enough so you’re probably delusional because how do you enjoy running??? Turns out its real. I didn’t figure this one out until I got to my long runs in training, about 9+ mile runs. One major thing to keep in mind about long runs is that you’re not going for time, it’s all about endurance. You should be running at a pace that you could comfortably talk to someone. My first solo long run I went to the bike path that runs from Providence to Bristol so I would not get overwhelmed by hills (I had enough of those on my short runs around campus). It is definitely a beautiful place to run if you can get transportation to where the trail begins. Around my sixth mile I just felt amazing. I had a lot of frustration from the week pent up and then all of the sudden it felt like all of the emotional baggage was lifted off my shoulders. Basically, Elle Woods was right.

Finally, the biggest thing that I learned in my training for the half marathon is that mindset is everything. After every marathon that my mom ran I could count on at least three people to ask me when it was my turn to run one. I always would reply “HA never. I’m not a runner I could never”. Running used to be a really scary activity in my mind, but in reality the only difference between running five miles and three miles is around twenty minutes. As long as you keep a positive attitude, really any running goal is achievable. Anyone can be a runner because everyone can run. The most important thing to remember is that no run is the same, one bad run does not define your future runs.