Healthy and Sane

I did it – I finished a half marathon!!!

May 30th, 2010 · 46 Comments · running

Some of you guessed it I think. This morning crazy Elina attempted to complete Boston’s Run to Remember half marathon, without proper training. 😳 Let me give you a bit of a background as to why I’d attempt such a thing.

Fact: Last summer, I trained my heart out for the BAA half marathon. I followed a serious training schedule, I did my work. In the midst of it all, I learned to love running (before that I was just doing it for the challenge). I also became a much stronger runner.

Fact: On October 11, 2009, I ran the BAA half and blacked out after 12.56 miles. I pushed too hard right at the end and I was severely dehydrated. If you like horror stories, you can read my recap of that race here.

I was so upset with the outcome of that race that I actually wanted to run a half the following weekend. It wasn’t a sane decision, although I truly felt that I trained hard enough that I should be able to complete the race. Probably under 2 hours (PS – if I didn’t walk off the course, I could have actually walked, heck crawled to the finish line and still would have finished it in under 2 hours. I think). Instead, I listened to my husband and chose a half in 2010. A race that would allow me sufficient time to train. I wanted to KILL it on my next one!

So I did it, sometime late last year, I signed up for the Run to Remember half. I set up a training schedule. I wanted to run up to 18 miles at some point. I thought this would make 13.1 seem like nothing on race day. I started training in February and just burnt out. Running didn’t seem fun anymore. Training for a half didn’t seem worth it.

Fact: On March 21, I announced on the blog that I was really letting go this time. That I was going to be kinder to myself and pursue other passions. Running became a choir I wasn’t interested in… and the race was another 2+ months away. I didn’t want to waste 2 months of my life on something that didn’t make me happy. So I stopped running. Really. I maybe ran one time a week (if that) for a month after that. It felt so freeing. I could do whatever work out I wanted (and I really do love working out so the possibilities seemed endless). It was awesome!

And then at the beginning of May I decided to see if I could get back into running. The idea of running the half just 4 weeks later seemed crazy, but I kind of wanted to see if I could do it. I promised myself that if it wasn’t going to make me happy, then I really was to drop it for real this time. But you know what, spring was upon us and it actually felt great to get out and hit the pavement. No, not every run was easy (actually most of them weren’t) – I was coming back for a long running hiatus after all. But it did seem worth it. It felt fantastic to be able to challenge myself in this way again. And really, a post run high cannot be beat. Period.

Last weekend I finally made the decision. I was going to try it. The longest run I did was 8 miles at this point (which was last weekend) but I thought if I just went slow and tried to have fun, I could finish it. I was actually excited for it. Walking was allowed. Timing goals were not.
Are you still with me? πŸ˜‰


I woke up (actually pretty much bounced out of bed) at 5:45, had my usual pre-long run snack: toast with almond butter and banana + coffee, watched a little tv to calm my nerves (it was a mixture of excitement and definitely a bit of nervousness). I arrived at the World Trade Center around 7:30 (half hour before race time). The Seaport Hotel was right there and it was so nice to be able to use a real bathroom before the race. [They had dozens of porter potties too but I opted for a real bathroom, even if the wait was a tiny bit longer.]

8:00 – someone (I couldn’t see her) sang the national anthem and I started tearing up a bit. The energy was just so magnetic. It was definitely emotional. 7,000 people were going to accomplish something so big today. I was going to accomplish something so big today. Push my body to the limit and finish a half marathon. I was determined to make it happen.

Miles 1-5 – I felt pretty good. I really didn’t want to worry about time but I glanced at my garmin out of habit a few times and saw that I was running about 9 minute miles. It seemed too fast so I tried to slow down.

Mile 5 – was really tough. I knew my friend Katy was going to be around mile 6 or so and I just concentrated on running until I see her. Seeing Katy’s smiley face, cheering me on, was incredible. I was tired though and I still had 7 miles to go. Yikes.

At 6.5 miles (half way point) I had a sip of Gatorade. I hate the idea of that stuff (brought coconut water with me instead) but the extra sugar (and whatever chemicals they douse it with) really did give me a bit of a boost. I could do this!!

My next goal was to make it to somewhere between miles 9 and 10 where Shannon was supposed to be waiting for me. I was kind of done at mile 7. All I kept thinking about is just going slow and hopefully making it to Shannon, who was surely going to help me run the rest (she said she was going to join me if I wanted her to… um yeah, “wanted” is an understatement).

Mile 8.75 – I can’t take it anymore. I am SO exhausted, it’s not even funny. I didn’t know if Shannon was around the corner or if I had to go for another mile but I just couldn’t do it. I actually walked off the course for a minute and then snapped out of it. I was going to finish this thing, even if that meant walking the rest of the way.

I walked for maybe .20 miles and then decided that I really wanted to greet Shannon while running, not walking. It didn’t last long. The second I saw her (basically right around 9 miles), I started walking. And she was walking with me. I really needed a friend at that point. I kept saying how I really thought I could run the whole thing if I was going to go slow, but clearly I couldn’t. I kept on calculating how damn long it would take to walk the rest of the way but my legs felt like lead and I just couldn’t even try to run. Walking was challenging enough.

Mile 10.15 (these extremely accurate mile markers are brought to you by my baby garmin, btw πŸ˜‰ ) – I decided to try to run. To my surprise, my legs felt ok. We were going slow but we were running. The problem was that I drank so much water during our walk that it was now sitting like a rock in my stomach, making me totally nauseous. Just 3 more miles, though, could I do it?

My legs felt fine but my head wasn’t in it anymore. Poor Shannon was doing her best trying to distract me but I was just so ready for it to be over. I knew I’d be proud of myself for just attempting to do it and FINISHING, whether it meant running or walking. At mile 11.5 I gave into my head and started walking again. This is when Shannon suggested that I probably would feel better if I ran at least some of the last part. We made a pact, we were going to do the last mile running, no matter how slow. I kept saying, I can do 1 mile in my sleep, right? Yes I could. I ran the last 1.28 actually (that extra .18 miles I could really do without, thankyouverymuch, race people).

Adam! Getting close!!

Shannon let me run that last 1/4 mile on my own. I finished really strong. I sped up but didn’t push to my absolute limit. Blacking out was not on the agenda for today. πŸ˜†

Official net time – 2:24. Miles walked: 2; mile run: 11.28. To be honest the finishing time is just a number to me. I FINISHED A HALF MARATHON TODAY!!! :) πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ :mrgreen: 😎  (is that enough smileys? lol)

After crossing the finish line, I went inside the center to grab a water and more Gatorade, then went back out to look for Adam and Shannon. There were so many people everywhere!

It took a while but we finally managed to find each other. I gave Adam a giant sweaty run! He was happy to see me finish (instead of meeting me in the medical tent like last time).

Recovering on a cold floor. 13 miles, baby!

Some race pictures Adam took. Boston looks so pretty from this angle. :)

Shannon and I:

Shannon I owe you BIG TIME. You saved me today. Seriously.

I am so incredibly happy that I did it but I also never want to do it again. I think I can take it off the bucket list. πŸ˜‰

PS – Shannon brought this amazing homemade bar for me that I eventually was able to stomach. Go to Tri to Cook and harass her to post the recipe. I need to make these pronto.

That’s it. My plans for the rest of the weekend are to do a whole lot of relaxing. That means dinner out tonight and a pool party for Memorial Day tomorrow. Yay for long weekends! πŸ˜€

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46 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Meghan@traveleatlove

    I knew you could do it! You are awesome, enjoy a well deserved rest of the wknd!

  • #2 - Lauren @ Eater not a runner

    We finished 3 minutes apart! I probably saw you out there :-)

  • #3 - Shannon

    Yes!! Congratulations! I love you attitude going in. It isn’t about the time…its about finishing. And you just finished a half marathon!!

    I am sitting here with my big pregnant belly, reading race recaps, and so wishing I had been out there with you today. I can’t wait to run another! There is nothing like the feeling of crossing the finish!

  • #4 - Run Sarah

    Congratulations – that is a great time and you should be so proud of yourself for sticking through it!

  • #5 - RunToTheFinish

    COngrats!!! Way to go on being kind to yourself mind and body, you did wonderful

  • #6 - Carly

    Congrats!!!! Isn’t it so amazing just to know you finished it :)

  • #7 - Megan

    You did a great job! I wish I could be that motivated. I really enjoyed reading your recap.

    You should have come in after and treated yourself to a sticky bun… or a granola bar! :)

  • #8 - gina

    wow! congratulations; i feel so inspired by you right now :)

  • #9 - Shannon

    Yeah you did it πŸ˜‰ Hope you’ve been able to relax and ice!!

    Oh no, it looks like I am about to heel strike! Guess I need to focus on that πŸ˜‰ … and maybe i shouldn’t have worn those shorts. eek.

  • #10 - Alice

    ELINA!! Congratulations!! That is so strong and brave of you. And btw, I know you said you don’t care about your time, but girlfriend – that is a damn good time! I am doing my first half soon and I am just hoping to get under 2:30.

    That’s so awesome – you’re a half marathoner now!

  • #11 - Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter

    That is so great you did a half! Congratulations! Running a half is definitely on my bucket list.

  • #12 - legalstyle

    amazing! congratulations! :)

  • #13 - Elina

    Thank you, guys!! You’re the best! :)

    Lauren – that’s awesome!!

    Megan – I totally wish I thought of that. πŸ˜†

    Shannon – you’re crazy!

    Alice – good luck!!!!

  • #14 - Nicole

    Aww congratulations girl!! I LOVED reading your past 1/2 marathon experience, gosh, felt like I was there with you haha. You’re so strong for finishing a half, what an inspiration!! Maybe one day I’ll be in them shoes!! :) Happy weekend, half marathoner (definitely you’re new name)!!

  • #15 - Kerry

    congrats! x

  • #16 - Kerstin

    Congrats Elina!! What an incredible race!! You rocked it :)

  • #17 - Lauren

    Elina, that is such amazing news. CONGRATS!!!

  • #18 - Kirsten

    Well done — congrats!! Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

  • #19 - Lindsay

    Yay Elina. You did awesome!

  • #20 - Katie @ Health for the Whole Self

    OH MY GOSH!!!! Congratulations, Elina!!! You are and will forever be a half-marathon finisher!!! YAY! :)

  • #21 - Betsy

    CONGRATS Elina! So happy for you. I’m glad you were able to get out there and do this, it was a lot of hard work but you must be relieved – and proud!

  • #22 - Kelly

    Congratulations! What a great accomplishment! I’m not sure why I’m more impressed, that you finished your first half or that you remembered each mile. My race recaps would go something like, “miles 1-3 were excellent, I don’t remember miles 4-8, I hated life miles 8-13. The end.” :)

  • #23 - Bridget

    Congratulations Elina!!!!! Thats an incredible goal to accomplish! I really hope someday to do that as well. Maybe next year :) So proud of you for getting through it, I can only imagine what a mental struggle that must have been. Hope your celebrating!!

  • #24 -

    YES!!! omg and u looked so fabulous completing it!! GREAT JOB! ur totally inspiring me girl!

  • #25 - Melissa

    I’m so happy for you! Congrats!

  • #26 - Jess

    WOW!! I’m totally impressed by your willingness to just get it done. I’m inspired – especially because you surprised us all by not really even TELLING us about your planned half. πŸ˜‰ I will keep this in mind when I run my first half in Sept. Eeek!! Nice work!!

  • #27 - Sues

    Congrats!!! That’s SO awesome! You must be sooo proud of yourself and I hope you’re doing TONS of relaxing (and eating) today :)

  • #28 - Heather

    Elina, what a fantastic recap!! Congratulations! Go out and enjoy yourself today – have fun eating back your calories! :)

  • #29 - runeatrepeat3

    Way to go girl, congrats! I think you can’t be sure you will not be wanting to do it again until you fully recover and get recharged physically and mentally.

  • #30 - highonhealthy

    CONGRATS!! You are my hero for doing another 1/2 marathon even though your first was not pleasant. Now you can just rest those legs and feel like a champ. You look really good for having just done 13 miles!

  • #31 - Marina

    I am so amazed, impressed, proud, etc. I had a situation once where I thought about winging it for a race, but I didn’t have the guts to show up. 13 miles is a crazy distance and I think you get to call yourself a runner for the rest of your life.

  • #32 - Post race dinner – pizza and small cravings at CPK

    […] I did it – I finished a half marathon!!! […]

  • #33 - Elina

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! :)

  • #34 - Amy B @ Second City Randomness

    Congrats! I think it is so great that you signed up for another one after having such a hard time with your first half. Seriously- I admire that so much!

  • #35 - KellyB

    You rock, that is awesome!

  • #36 - Notes from the Fatty File

    Congrats!!! This was such a great post to read. You wrote it so well, I felt like I was right there. Congrats again!

  • #37 - Our patio – before and after pics

    […] I did it – I finished a half marathon!!! […]

  • #38 - Gina

    i linked to you on my blog bc you inspired me to try a 5k :)

  • #39 - Lauren @ Health on the Run

    Hey Elina! I’m just now getting caught up on a bunch of posts from last weekend, and I wanted to give you a long over-due CONGRATULATIONS!! That’s amazing!! :) This was a fun recap to read. I love your attitude about finishing and I think it’s awesome that you pushed yourself to accomplish the goal you set out to do. And now you’ll always be able to look back and say that you are a Half Marathoner! :) Way to go!

  • #40 - Drinking + eating > running

    […] was so mad) but I was still looking forward to a run. You see, I haven’t really run since my half marathon 2 weeks ago. For some reason I’m scared to try. I’m afraid I won’t last more than […]

  • #41 - Cara

    congrats! you did a great job! I ran that race a couple years ago, it is a great course :)

  • #42 - Lara (Thinspired)

    Oh my gosh. I know I am hideously late reading this, but I had to set it aside for when I had time to read the WHOLE thing!

    So much of this recap reminds me of how Matt described his first half. He said at several points, his head wanted to walk, but his legs would have atrophied if he actually did it. Running was actually the only option despite the exhaustion.

    I am SO proud of you, Elina!

  • #43 - Sane running | Healthy and Sane

    […] the training was going to make me miserable. You may recall I swore I’d never do it again after last year’s Run to Remember half but after a pretty long break from running, I had an itch to run again and once again it was making […]

  • #44 - Sane running

    […] the training was going to make me miserable. You may recall I swore I’d never do it again after last year’s Run to Remember half but after a pretty long break from running, I had an itch to run again and once again it was making […]

  • #45 - What does diet free living have to do with running? | Healthy and Sane

    […] up for the same half marathon last year and despite giving it up earlier in the training season, still ran it. I couldn’t let myself give […]