With the Baltimore Running Festival coming up this weekend, I couldn’t help but reminisce a bit about the first time I ran this race in 2007. It was not only my first half-marathon, but it was my first race ever. I’m sure a pretty basic lesson for most runners is to first do a shorter race like a 5k before attempting a half-marathon. Apparently I never got that memo and I remember having the urge to complete a half for a year or two before I actually signed up.
I had been running regularly for several years, and before I even began “training” I was completing 6-7 miles occasionally. This was usually on a treadmill. I have no idea how I used to run on treadmills so much. I would run to the gym to run on the treadmill. I shake my head now but at the time it worked.
After I signed up for the half I had no idea what I was doing or what I had gotten myself into. I didn’t plan to run with anyone, although I knew a few other people who would be there that day running the relay. I was on my own for everything from training to race day logistics. Here are a few takeaways looking back on it all now:
-I had no idea how to “train”, so I just started to run a little more. I continued taking group fitness classes including Body Step and Body Pump, ran a few easy runs each week along with one “longer” run. I think I got up to 9 miles, but these were the days before GPS watches so I went off time, and I probably ran for 90 minutes. My nutrition was a joke (I was still eating like I did when I graduated college) and I had never heard of taking fuel while running.
-I remember making my way to the expo the week before the event. One thing that sticks out in my mind was that I was wearing heels. Umm who was this person? I only wear heels to weddings now and they usually only stay on my feet during the ceremony. Ok so here I am walking around M&T bank stadium in heels by myself and I have no idea what a race bib is or what free stuff I should take or if I should buy anything else.
-I ate eggs and cereal as my pre-race meal. Not because I thought that would help me run well- those were just the foods I ate for breakfast at the time. Like I said, no fuel during the run.
-I wore my race shirt on race day. I want to give 2007 Lisa a lecture about not wearing anything new on race day but luckily it worked out ok.
-I decided at the last minute to use the bathroom before the race started. The gun went off as I was standing in line. I freaked out a little but heard people around me talking about how it doesn’t matter because it takes so long to start anyway.
-I will never forget the feeling I had crossing the starting line. I got chills from everyone cheering and knowing I was running a half-marathon. I had no doubts that I would complete it, only about how long it could take me.
-I had been running on hills, so the course didn’t feel that difficult to me at the time. I didn’t run with music and barely even noticed because of all the crowd support.
-I remember how excited I felt when I saw the sign for mile 10. I knew that it was the farthest I had ever ran and that I was so close to finishing.
-As I crossed the finish line I knew that I would be running more half-marathons and maybe other races. This was only the beginning. I finished in 1:53:09, and the goal I had set for myself was 2 hours. I was shocked that I was able to complete it in that time. Again, no GPS watch so I was just running off of feel.
-I bought a sweatshirt after the race because of how excited I was that I completed the race. I still wear it all the time. It was one of the best investments I ever made.
-There is a long story about how I spent the rest of the day, which involved getting stranded with a broken-down car in Virginia and missing my birthday dinner with Rob’s parents, but that’s a story for another day:)
What do you remember about your first race?
Any tips for first time half-marathoner’s (like my friend Katie)?