Pre-race, looking fly
First of all, congrats on running your first half marathon! That is an incredible accomplishment and I know it's no small undertaking! Alright so here goes the fun part. All my readers want to know more about you so let's jump in to some questions!
Q1: When did you start running, and do you remember why you first started? What/who was your motivation? (No shame in mentioning your fave sister at this point! Jk)
A: I started in June. I wanted to do something active and have time for myself. I didn't want to join a gym because I didn't want to have to put my son in the daycare and I tried running solo but didn't feel safe or very motivated. I saw an ad in our community newsletter for a couch to 5k class over the summer so I thought I'd give it a try.
Q2: Did you have any goals in mind when you first took up running? Get in shape? Take time for yourself? Run a race?
Q3: Did you immediately like running?
Q4: Tell us about your training regimen - how long you trained, how many runs/miles week, did you train with a group or follow a program?
A: June, July and August we worked up from 0-3 miles
September, October and November were 3-6 miles
December - March were 6-11 miles
All 3 times per week with a coach and 6 other women
Q5: What have you learned or what has surprised you most throughout the process of training for this race? What were some of the biggest breakthroughs and some of the hardest challenges?
Q6: Ok now for the best part! Can you tell us a little about the race? You don't have to give a mile by mile breakdown, just how did you feel throughout, what were you thinking the day before/during the race? And how did you feel crossing the finish line?!
A: My biggest fear going in was getting separated from my group since I had trained with them and never ran solo. We ended up starting together, then at mile 3 we separated into 2 groups of 3. Mile 5 was the only hill and immediately my other partners stopped and walked which I didn't want to do so I took off on my own for the remaining 8 miles! Miles 5-7 were my best. 7-11 were really boring, 2 miles straight down and 2 miles back the other way. The beginning part running throughout the city was really exciting and had a lot of spectators cheering which I realized helps drastically even though you have no idea who these people are! On the 4 mile stretch by the river there were 0 spectators which was rough and it was at the point of the most pelting torrential downpour (3 inches of rain that day!) the last 2 miles all I thought about was seeing my son at the finish line, that's what kept me going, knowing he was sitting in the freezing cold rain waiting for me to get done. I thought I would get some mysterious burst of energy to sprint towards the finish line but that never happened. I drug myself up to it and immediately after stopping it was like a tidal wave of pain crushing you. My feet, my legs, the cold, the rain, I felt it all, it was awful and all I wanted was to get indoors, dry clothes on and warmed up. I didn't really feel elated about finishing until 2 days after.
Laura's pre-race fuel, not a pornographic image
Her son waiting for her at the finish line!
Q7: Do you think running will continue to be your new favorite form of exercise?A: I feel a little burned out so I'd like to try yoga, Pilates or group classes but I definitely want to stick with it.
Q8: Are you planning any more races?
Q9: And lastly, is there anything you'd like to tell someone who is considering taking up running as a first timer?
A: Accountability. Having a coach and a group relying on you to show up at 5:15am, even on Saturdays!. I would not have lasted if I was trying to do this on my own. At times we all needed to be encouraged.
DONE!!! She is officially a half-marathoner!
I want to thank Laura for taking the time to do this and share her story. I hope other new runners see her as the inspiration that I do. It's no small feat to stick to a 3x week training program for 9 months that meets at 5AM every morning - I know I definitely would never make that call time!
**Note: My sister trained with the Run Diva program in Allentown, PA. She raved about her coach, Alicia VanDerSluis, so if you are in the Lehigh Valley area and looking for a beginning running program, I'd recommend checking her out.
Any other first time half marathoners out there?!
Has your running inspired any of your friends/family members to pick up the sport?