Half Marathon Recap–2010: Part 1–THE IDEA


Long, long ago, an endurance-challenged little girl was born…

And then…she was crazy enough to run a half-marathon.

I certainly felt crazy and asked myself up until the time of the race, “What am I DOING?!” But, at the same time I kept telling myself that I just had to do this…I had to at least put my best effort into doing something I (and others) never thought I could do. Starting off, it seemed nearly impossible for me to run 13.1 miles. I mean, at the time I agreed to run the race I could barely run ONE mile. But, there was something intriguing, something so alluring about the challenge that I just couldn’t put it out of my mind…

I was always active growing up, but I never had much in the way of endurance. I had issues with asthma as a kid and had to keep an inhaler nearby. I always did well with every activity of PT tests…except running. As I got older, I was constantly looking for ways to stay in shape, and running seemed like one of the best options. Unfortunately, at the time, I hated running. Just the thought of it made me want to curl up in a corner and hide. I was slow and most certainly looked like an unnatural runner. It was intimidating and almost embarrassing. REAL runners must look at me and laugh.

Eventually (somehow), I managed to convince myself that it didn’t matter what my pace was or what distance I ran; as long as I put MY best effort into it and enjoyed it (which I eventually did), then nothing…else…mattered. With this in mind, I began participating in local 5K races. Once completing my first race and seeing the diversity of those participating also, I thought to myself, “This is actually kind of fun. I think I could get the hang of this.” So, I stuck with it….until fate and the will of the gods of running lead me to Jess…

Jess and I were in the same program in college, so we had several classes together as well. What possessed her to one day plant that little seed of curiosity into my head about taking running to the next level, to actually making me WANT to run the Dodge Rock’n’Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon, I will never know. But…I will forever be grateful for it. After browsing www.runnersworld.com to get an idea for a training plan (cringing once the mileage for a single run reached 5 miles or more), I decided there was plenty of time to physically prepare. I don’t quite remember all the details or conversations that took place between the day she mentioned the race to the day I actually agreed to run it with her, but there was the initial explanation of how a half marathon is organized: so many water and first aid stations every couple of miles, and the starting “waves” at the beginning that grouped you with people closer to your own pace. I was completely oblivious to the need to consume energy/calories during the race so that you didn’t collapse from a lack of said energy/calories, so I invested in some energy beans (essentially jelly beans with extra nutrients). I also needed to learn how to drink while running…something I never really seemed to master—it felt more like learning to drown yourself on dry land than anything.

I made sure to keep my crazy plans a secret from everyone except my husband until the day of the race. I was too nervous to tell anyone in case if I bowed out or couldn’t finish the race. But once I truly made the commitment to run the half marathon, motivation was no longer a barrier to participating….money and Hurricane Earl were. I was able to come up with most of the money for the initial registration fees fairly quickly, but I didn’t have much left over for hotel and food costs. Being a broke college student with only a part time job that paid minimum wage made it a little rough. And Hurricane Earl was becoming a real threat creeping up the eastern states. I made a few calls to the hotel we booked asking what their policies were and any advice they might have in this situation—it was essentially a gamble. Either way, though, I eventually vowed that on the day of the race, whether I was in torrential downpours in Virginia Beach or at home simply wishing I could’ve seen the starting and finishing line, I was going to run those 13.1 miles no matter what.

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