A few weeks ago, I completed my very first Half Marathon (13.1 miles, 21 kilometers), at the Brooklyn Half. I steadily trained for a good 6-8 weeks (originally it would have been 12 weeks of training, but I had to cut my weeks short because of minor injuries, and last minute race registration).
The day of the race came and I was excited, nervous, clueless as what to expect, it was my first race period. My previous 10k earlier this year, was a virtual run, so there weren’t a large group of people running with me. This time it was a large crowd, about 20,000 or so. The good thing was that I wasn’t running alone.
The energy for the half marathon started from the moment we got on the train, the immense crowd of runners early in the morning was truly amazing. Runners are really friendly people. I love talking to other runners and learning about how they got here, how long they’ve been running, etc… It is great to hear their stories.
I met a young lady at the Pre Race party that talked about her running history, and how she loves it, loves the adrenaline, the crowd, and the spectators. She mentioned how she’s been running for a few now, and how she is now a Boston Marathon qualifier! That’s awesome! When she started running she never thought of being a Boston Qualifier. Look how far she came. Before I left her, she mentioned one thing that really stuck with me, she said, running can be addictive, be careful, lol, then she said, after you finish the BK Half, you will either love running and want to do it again (as in register for more races), or hate it and never want to do it again. I think I love it, because after that, I decided that I wanted to start training for a Full Marathon, which will be happening this October. :D
“After you finish your first race, you will either love it and want to do it again, or hate it and never want to run again.”
The first few miles during the half marathon were my toughest, I really need to stop thinking about them, while I’m running, because they get to be really debilitating at times. From mile 1 through 4 I was wishing I didn’t have 9.1 more miles to go. But once I reached mile 4, I was ok, my body loosened up, legs felt great and I was ready to go.
Around mile 8, we are now on Ocean Parkway, one straight road to the finish line, this was beautiful. I grabbed some Jelly Belly Sports Beans, (without caffeine), I had placed in my Nike Handheld Running Water Bottle, and chewed some up. Then grabbed some plain water from the water stations and I was ready to go.
The last few miles went by fast, I was loving my first half, loving the crowd, the cheering squad, running alongside pushing you harder, keeping you smiling and motivated. Loving how the last mile was called the smile mile, I was cheesing all the way to the finish line. It was fabulous!
image source: NYRR.org
The ultimate euphoric moment for me was going up the boardwalk and looking at that finish line banner. This is where we gave it whatever little energy we had left and sprinted the rest of the way. I finished with a 2:31:25. I think I could’ve done better, but it is a great time for a first time.
This summer I’ll be training for my full marathon (26.2 miles/42.1 kilometers) which will take place in San Francisco. I was tempted to register for the half marathon just to try to beat my PR, but I felt motivated by my peers that encouraged me to do the full marathon. Therefore, I am trusting my training plan and giving it a go. I’m going big or going home.
I really encourage anyone to give running a try. I amaze myself at how far I’ve come. From hating to run, to running 13.1 miles and training for more, it is a long way for me, which I never thought possible.