“A half marathon is just a 5K race with a 10 mile warm up.”

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My first (and, so far, only) half marathon did not exactly go how I envisioned it going in my head. In an attempt to get back in shape after an extended running hiatus, I signed up for the 2013 Minneapolis Half Marathon. I even managed to pressure my non-runner husband into doing it with me. The furthest I had run before was 10 miles… about 10 years earlier. But I stuck to a pretty consistent training program and aimed for a 2:10 finish time.

To say the race did not go well is an understatement. I quickly realized my Nike+ running app was about .2 miles off, so I had mistakenly believed I was running a lot faster during training than I actually was. That was a huge mental setback for me, but I stayed with the 10 minute/mile pace group for the first nine miles. Then things started to implode. My ankles were suddenly on fire. My legs felt like thousand pound weights. The hills felt like scaling Everest. When I slowed to a walk, the incredibly kind pacer patted me on the back and asked if I was okay. I said I was pretty sure I was dying and that I would catch up. I plodded along alone, silently cursing my Nike+ app, which had given me such false confidence. 

By the time I struggled up the last hill at mile 12, I hated races, running, inclines of any kind, and all the ridiculously happy spectators fortunate enough to be at a complete standstill. I crossed the finish line, swearing I would never do a full. Dream or no dream, only crazy people ran twice that distance. 

On the bright side, my hockey playing, I-hate-running-because-it-kills-my knees husband finished his first half marathon that day as well, and I was so proud of him. (Although after the race, the medical tent became his base camp. After running through a “pop” in his knee, he spent the rest of the day sandwiched in between ice packs.)

Eventually, the pain of the race faded, and within a few months, I decided to sign up for the Twin Cities Marathon. I had officially joined the “crazy” runners. I was determined to train better and harder and chase my 26.2.

Oh, and I also upgraded to a Garmin.   

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