Yesterday I ran in my 5th Half Marathon. FIFTH!! I registered on a whim a few weeks ago after a friend asked if I was doing it. Honestly, I look for any excuse to participate in a running event. They’re motivating, inspiring and energizing to me even when I do them completely alone like this one.
If you didn’t know, The Baltimore Running Festival is HUGE.
They have a full, half, relay and 5k. With over 27,000 runners it’s by far the biggest event I’ve done and counting this year I’ve completed all of the distances except the 5k. This leads to my first lesson…
1. If you are going to run a half, run a half.
That may not make a lot of sense but hear me out. When you are running a half as part of a marathon most of the hoopla is for the full, not the half. The mile markers. The timers. Even the crowds.
There’s also the mental aspect. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel guilty knowing others are running double what I’m running. In a way it makes me less whiny, but I still don’t like how it feels. If you are considering a half, I would suggest registering for one that is a solo event or at least the longest distance, espeically for your first.
2. Take in all the Support
All the signs and goofy people may be there to cheer on their loved ones (I’m partial to the funny ones if you can’t tell) but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a lift and a chuckle from them too. Take it from someone who runs a lot of races alone and with no one on the sidelines, read the signs and say thank you with a smile. Support comes when you’re open to it.
3. Go After all High Fives
Yup, that’s me high-fiving a giant stuffed rat. He offered, I accepted. When I see kids on the side of a race I always happily accept their high fives too. Like the signs, support comes when you are open to it. When you’re dying on mile 10 a high five from a giant rat may be exactly what you need to mush through the last 3 miles.
4. When/If They offer a Banana, Take it!
I had more energy at the end of this race then ever before and I can only assume it’s because I fueled up in the middle, something I never do.
I snapped this sometime after the 10 mile mark. I was tired, sweaty, my left knee was killing me. I fought off all the self doubt and "I can’t do this" thoughts, and decided to recognize the GORGEOUS day and how awesome it was that I was out and about enjoying it.
Sometimes just putting a smile on your face makes all the difference even in the middle of a grueling 13 mile run.
If you are interested, check out recaps of my other half marathon experiences…