I’m so excited for today’s post! My sister, Olivia (17 and a senior in high school), is sharing her experience training and running her first half marathon two weeks ago. I challenged Olivia to articulate her thoughts about the race so I think it’s fitting to link up to Thinking Out Loud today.
Take it away, Liv!
Before I share my experience, let me mention that I do not run.
I live in a household of runners so I’ve cheered on the sidelines at my fair share of races. But I never thought I was capable of running a race myself, especially a half marathon. Running one mile in gym class was hard for me so 13.1 miles seemed pretty much impossible. However, my extended family signed up for the Princess Half to make it a “girl’s weekend,” so I was
forced encouraged to run.
At first I claimed I didn’t want to run because “running was boring.” However, I soon acknowledged that I was just nervous. What if I couldn’t finish? Or worse, what if I finished dead last? I needed encouragement and positivity, so I turned to my mom. My always optimistic mother pushed me into accepting this challenge even when I didn’t believe I could do it.
My mom and I slowly started training. Run/walking a mile or two (mostly walking at first) on the treadmill when it was hot and then outside when the weather cooled off. Even though running in general was not my favorite, I loved running outside compared to the treadmill.
Eventually my mom and I made it seven miles (run/walking). I couldn’t believe it! I had never run that much in my life and I really started to believe that I could finish the race. However, after about three months of training, I started to develop immense pain in both of my ankles and shins. It was a pain that I couldn’t run through and my mom decided to send me to physical therapy. It was a total blow to my confidence because I couldn’t train anymore and I would have to start again from almost scratch.
After a lot of frustration and plenty of tears, I was determined to get back on track. With the support from my family and the awesome physical therapists, the pain slowly decreased. The Friday before the race, the therapists taped my ankles and even though I did not get another long run in, I was confident that I would cross that finish line.
On the morning of the race I was way too tired to even think about my nerves. A 3 a.m. wakeup call will do that! My mom and I were in corral K. We ran the first six miles straight and I felt pretty good. After a quick bathroom break and picture in front of Cinderella’s castle, we continued running. However, I soon needed to walk. I had minimal pain in my ankles but I was exhausted. I became discouraged and finishing felt next to impossible.
However, I was blessed with the best mom. She walked when I wanted to and gave me constant words of encouragement to keep me running. She also gave me GU Energy (which is by far the grossest thing ever) to give me the extra boost I needed.
It felt like years before reaching the 13 mile marker, but we finally made it. Coming around the final turn and seeing my sister cheering me on was the best moment of this whole experience, next to getting the prettiest race medal! I crossed the finish line next to my mom with NO pain. I wore my medal with immense pride. After I long shower, I ate some well-earned, delicious pancakes and reminisced on every aspect of the experience.
Before concluding my story, I want to give a huge shout out to my awesome mom. She dealt with all of my anger and frustration and, believe me, at times I can be pretty cruel. She constantly pushed me and gave me the strength I needed to keep going. I know for a fact that without her, I would not have finished or I would’ve given up a long time ago. So thank you x10 mom, I love you! (<– Our mom rocks)
And because of her, we are already signed up for the Color Run 5k. Although this is nowhere near as intense as a half marathon, I actually do enjoy races and I really want to keep running . As cliché as this sounds, the experience taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to.
Trust me, if I can run a half marathon, anyone can.
How awesome is she?! I love you, Liv and I’m so proud of you!
Who is your biggest running/fitness supporter?
When was the first time you challenged your fitness comfort zone?