Running my first half marathon to kick off summer 2022

At the start of the year, I had decided that it was time to start getting back into a shape (and yes, I mean a shape). I wanted to stop feeling like a blob that was simply existing, and start feeling happier and more confident in my own skin. 

I knew that working towards a “summer bod” wouldn’t be enough motivation for me, and that I needed some type of goal, and accountability from others, to keep me motivated.

As a former high school cross country runner, I thought that running would be a good first step towards my goal. Knowing that having a set race date keeps me motivated to be consistent in my training, I began searching for a race to sign up for.

After finding a few different half marathons with dates far enough out to give me time to train, I needed to find a way to rope… I mean invite… some friends to run the race with me. I started with inviting a friend, and after he agreed, I was able to convince two other friends to commit to signing up for the half marathon, with only 5 weeks to go to race day. Next, our training began!

My goals for the half marathon were to:

1. Get into shape, and maybe have my clothes fit a little looser.

2. Not show up to the start line injured, or in pain. 

3. Run for the entirety of the13.1-miles.

4. Finish within a “reasonable”time, which for me meant two and a half hours. (This was based almost entirely on a bet I made with my dad!)

As I had been doing minimal to no working out for the past couple of years, I knew I needed a set training plan. Even before signing up for the half, I was using this 10 week half marathon training plan, which was ideal for me as it only suggested four days per week of running with one long run on the weekend. 

"Training" while on vacation in Hawaii at Ala Moana Park

The most important, and difficult, aspect of running is the mental component. Pushing through even when tired and starting to feel sore is one of the toughest parts of training for a race. Each training run that I completed with minimal to no stops were wins in my book.

In theory, on the rest days I should have been cross-training (i.e. swimming, core workout, lifting weights, yoga, etc.), but realistically I cross trained only once or twice per week. I did not really change my eating habits while training, especially as I went on vacation for a week two (2) weeks prior to the race. Let’s be honest, at least for myself, diets and healthy eating simply cannot coexist while on vacation. However, after returning from vacation I was more conscious of what I ate and drank leading into the week of the race, including no alcohol or dessert.

Weekend of the Race

This race was huge. I had no idea how big a race this was going to be until arriving at the San Diego Convention Center to pick up our bibs, and seeing that bib numbers went up to 24,999!

After getting our bibs, my friends and I wandered the streets of downtown San Diego. After an afternoon coffee and a pasta dinner, we were in bed by 10 p.m to get our final sleep before the race. 

By 4:30 a.m. the next morning, we were (half) awake, and by4:45 a.m. we were out the door and on our way. We arrived at the parking garage a mile away from the starting line around 5:20 a.m., and walked with many other runners to the start line. The race started at 6:15 a.m., but our group did not get to the starting line until about 6:55 a.m.

Our view from where we were in relation to the start line

Despite the length of the run, this was such a fun run experience. Perfect running weather, good friends, and positive energy helped me push through to run the entirety of the 13.1-mile run. Although we did not partake, some of the folks in the neighborhood were on their driveways passing out adult beverages. The energy of all the participants was positive and there were different music groups every couple of miles.  

 On June 5, 2022 I completed my first half marathon alongside three great friends. We were rewarded with a finisher’s medal, but more importantly tons of snacks. 

Finisher medals and SNACKS!

Crossing the finish line was one of the most rewarding feelings I have had in quite some time. Perhaps the rewarding feeling was from absolutely crushing my bet with my dad of finishing in 2.5 hours, or maybe the fact that I was able to run the entire race.

Either way, running and completing the half marathon gave me the “runner’s high”, and while cooling down my friends and I decided that we will be running another half marathon in the near future. 

If you are looking for a sign to start running, and need friends to run the half, or maybe one day full, marathon with us feel free to reach out! 

Bonus pic: 14 year-old me during my first season of cross country, post-first Mt. SAC race

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