FaithHopeLoves from Newport Beach, CA (Female)
Age on race day: 33
2009 Long Beach Half Marathon - Long Beach, CA
This was my 1st half marathon and I finished in 2:52:32.
I decided to run a half marathon because I watched my sister finish a Half-Marathon, and she challenged me to do the next one with her.
I used several different beginner programs, I have two books, and I printed one off of the Runner's World website, then settled on the easiest one I found on the About.com website. I did not strictly follow the training, as all of the programs were way too much running for me. I ran about 3-4 miles on Tuesday, 3-4 on Thursday and a long run on the weekend, increasing the long run mileage by 1 mile every week. My longest run was 11 miles. . During my training I averaged 15 miles per week.
The best advice: take a 1 minute walk break between miles on the long run to recover. (I also used this strategy on mile 10, 11, 12 of the race, and it helped me finish). The worst: not so much advice, but I hired a personal trainer who had me doing squats and jumps with a medicine ball, etc. This aggravated my knee problems so much that I had to stop doing speedwork and personal training and simply focus on running. For me, the running was the most important thing. I think cross training might be overrated.
I felt awesome through mile 6. I ate 3 Clif Shot blocks each hour, and drank fluids at every aid station. The more crowds and music that were near by, the better I ran. My calves got so tight around mile 8 and I really struggled the last three miles. I ran all of mile 13 without stopping and had a really strong finish. I think my time could have been much faster...I stopped for a bathroom break twice and had to wait in line each time. When I crossed the finish line, I was very light headed and wanted to puke. I had to lay down, but my legs hurt soooo bad! My husband massaged my legs which helped. My advice is to get some food immediately after finishing.
My recovery was pretty rough. My knees were killing me following the race! Ice, baths, foam roller, ibuprofen, rest, elevation.
I went pretty much from 0 to marathon in about 7 months. Started walking for 3 months and running for the rest. It can be done, you just have to be committed to it! Let your friends and family know what you are doing and update them on your progress, it really helps keep you motivated.
Plans to Run Another:
I'm planning to run another half marathon. After the pain, I learned so much, and I want to try to do better next time.
For my next half marathon, I'll take more food/energy supplements along the way, and I'll do more mileage during training.