Before you ask… because it’s the number one question I have gotten… Nope. No plans to ever run a 13.1 mile race again. A 10k, sure. A 5k, absolutely! But is there another 1/2 marathon in my future, nope.
Why? Was the race awful?
Nope. The race itself, that was a pretty unique and exhilerating experience. But the training… that is the part I never want to do again.
Some people are runners. And as I’ve shared, I am not. Even after completing a legit half marathon race, I would still contest, I am no runner. I did run/jog the whole thing. I met my three goals which were:
- Not stopping/walking
- Have fun
But you guys… the training, for me, is not where it’s at. Maybe it’s just because I was training simultaneously with the huz. Which made for coordinating two long runs with our family schedule every weekend. Maybe it’s just because our kiddos are the age where we can’t just leave them unattended to go run. Or maybe it’s just because for me, at the novice level, running as my only form of exercise for 16 weeks wasn’t as enjoyable as mixing in yoga and classes and other things. But when I was working on at minimum 4 runs a week, it was too difficult to fit in other fitness when I had to account for rest days and run days.
I do recommend that if you’ve ever thought of running a half, you do it. And the Lincoln route is a great one.
- The energy and amount of people on the route
- The mostly flat, manageble route
- Finishing in Memorial Stadium
I was super lucky that the weather was really pretty ideal the day I ran. The signs on the race were fun! The music and the excitement from the crowd really made it so I didn’t even realize we’d made it 6 miles already when we reached the distance marker. Running with a good friend was a great call and made for a really memorable day. We ran at about a 11:45-12:00 pace. And mile 11 was most definitely my breaking point. My finishing time was about 2:35 minutes and honestly, I was super good with that. I have no plans to try to better that time;).
Three things I would recommend if you are wanting to get your run on and have never done it before:
- Train along with someone. Not necessarily to do your training runs together but to have people to talk about your progress with and stay accountable to the training. I used a modified novice program from Hal Higdon that the hubs put together and it really did make it simple to go from 100% non-runner to race day ready.
- Know that you will have good runs and bad runs. Just like anything, your body will like some training runs and not be ready for others even though the circumstances are pretty much the exact same. Don’t get deflated! Just keep swimming… or running, as it were. You’ll be amazed at what you can do.
- Listen to your body. I had hip pain about 3/4 of the way through my training regimen. And so I took a break for a week. I got new shoes. I got adjusted. I stretched. I refreshed a bit. If you don’t listen to warning aches and pains, you might end up with something that takes a long time to heal and takes you out of the race.
- Don’t just up your carbs the night before. Your body needs extra carbs and water the entire time you’re training!
- Practice with your “jolts” and your water. Whether it’s gu or gummies or jelly beans you prefer, practice your long runs using your boosters or jolts! You’ll be surprised at how much they can help your energy! I also knew how often they would offer water on my race day so I practiced taking water and drinking that often.
- Do a run or two around the time of day that your race will be. Get up and try to run in the morn if that’s when your race is going to be. Eat what you plan to eat. Get your bathroom break in. Have a little dress rehearsal.
What I would remember if I ever attempt it again:
- Check everything the night before. I turned the switch on my headphones the morn of the race and whatdoyaknow… they wouldn’t turn on. After making playlists and planning and training for almost 4 months, I ran without music.
- Check out the route. I honestly hadn’t looked at the route one bit. I’d heard where there were hills and such. I knew we ended in the Stadium. But running up 10th street and then back into the stadium, I didn’t have a good grasp on the route and so I was definitely wondering how much farther my legs would make it. I should have at least looked at the overhead view. Luckily my friend I ran with had done it previously and could give my a headsup at points.
- The cups with straws and lids come last. For some reason, at each water station, there was a line of people with water cups and then, following them, a line of people with cups that had straws and lids. I wouldn’t take the ones without the lids and would wait for the straws because they are the easiest to drink out of while moving and you can hold for a bit before throwing it off to the side.
If I was the type who could go out and run 13.1 without really training, I could see wanting to do 1/2 marathons in as many cities as possible because it’s a fun way to see different parts of a city and it’s a great way to experience the energy of the people there. But as I am not, I think I will just try to go hold a sign next year on the route and call it good.
People asked, “why didn’t you wear a breast cancer shirt?” Welllll… because Nebraska Medicine and my docs and nurses were the ones who helped me get to a point of healthy enough to take this on. They never told me it wasn’t a good idea. They never said, “you’re not even a year out from chemo+surgery+rads and your body might not be there yet.” They said, “yep! Go do it!” And I just love them for that.
Thanks so much to all of you who cheered me on and told me I could do it! I totally didn’t believe, even the morning of, that I would do it without walking or stopping so I am calling it a huge victory and checking it off the post-cancer living life like a crazy person list. It was pretty cool to train, participate, and complete it. I am so happy to have done it at the same time as my brother, my dad, and the hubs.
And I am so freaking proud of myself for just the actual training because before cancer, I think I would have given up. And in a way, the training was actually more of the personal victory for me… and the day of was the celebration of living and being healthy enough to complete the program. I will never forget the feeling of running 13.1 with one of my besties, Nicole.
I will never forget my Libby holding all the wonderful signs along the route. Seeing my friend, Pam, take pics of me running after taking care of my kids throughout my chemo treatment. Running a race with hair after running two races in the year with no hair and minimal locks. And seeing so many familiar faces — runners and cheerers included.
Thanks to Erin, Jamie, Jaime, Marie, Dana, and so many others from social media who answered questions and provided accountability partners! What a great time we live in to be able to help each other no matter where home base is. Thank you to the Lincoln Marathon for being such a stellar event and for having delicious chocolate milk and donut holes. You were the perfect experience for this running non-runner and I hope that even just one person is inspired to participate next year after seeing this mama take it on!