Guest Post: My First Half Marathon

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.


That’s me on the left.

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.

Princess half marathon

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.

Princess half marathon

Post race with my family

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)

13.1 sticker

Now, I display my 13.1 sticker with pride

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?


  1. pickyrunner says

    Aww I love this! Congrats to your sister– it really is a huge accomplishment and I’m sure her story will resonate with a lot of people who don’t see themselves as runners in a family of avid runners. And Olivia, as someone who works at a running store, if you run (or even walk-run), you’re a runner. Be proud of yourself :)
    pickyrunner recently posted…TOL: Two WeeksMy Profile

  2. Sam @ The Running Graduate says

    Congrats Liv! It’s so awesome you finished the race and it can be just the beginning of a fun journey if you want it to be! And if not it’s okay too, I suppose :P I agree with Sarah, as long as you try and you’re putting one foot in front of the other, you’re a runner!
    Sam @ The Running Graduate recently posted…Fantastic TOL #22My Profile

  3. Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie says

    Congratulations to your sister!! That is so exciting that she finished her first half marathon! I loved reading her progress from not liking running to being a half-marathoner and signing up for her next race. Way to go Olivia!!
    Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…LUNA goes Gluten Free & a FLASH giveaway!My Profile

  4. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says

    Awesome awesome awesome Olivia! That is going to be me one day when I run a half! Emily, you are so lucky to have such an awesome supportive fitness family! Love to ALL of you! Keep on RUNNING!
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Key Lime Quinoa FlakesMy Profile

  5. Liv @ Healthy Liv says

    First of all, your sister has an awesome name :) Second, congrats, Liv, on your first half marathon! That’s a huge accomplishment. My sister actually did a guest post for my blog, too, after she got injured training for her first half marathon, and it was fun for her to write!
    Liv @ Healthy Liv recently posted…What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?My Profile

  6. [email protected] says

    I loved reading this story. You are so very lucky your family runs and supports you the way they do! And to participate in a Disney run for your first half. OMG how awesome is that! A Disney run is on my bucket list, one day I will be there!
    [email protected] recently posted…Thursdays Thinking out Loud #3My Profile

  7. Gretchen | gretchruns says

    This was such a sweet story and I’m so glad that Liv shared it with us!

    I’m lucky to have a lot of support in my life- from my parents to my coworkers and friends, but my fiance is definitely the most supportive. He’s always changing our schedule to fit in my workouts and puts up with waking up at 4:00 to drive me to races. He’s so amazing and I’m so appreciative of him!

  8. Rebecca @ MyEagerFeet says

    Huge congrats to your sister! I think that’s awesome of her to really put in the work and deal with the setbacks to still run the race. I remember how excited I was to display my 13.1 sticker after my first half!
    Rebecca @ MyEagerFeet recently posted…Big ChangesMy Profile

  9. Georgie Morley says

    I love this! Congrats on your first half marathon – it certainly isn’t easy but it sounds like you had a great experience. Family is the best support system. My sister has cheered me on and I’ve even dragged her to some races and it’s an incredible feeling to have someone like that by your side.
    Georgie Morley recently posted…Garlic Roasted Peppers and Butternut SquashMy Profile

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