Friday, August 5, 2011

Guest Blogger - From 30 Seconds to 13.1--How (not) to run a half marathon.

Please welcome Sarah to my blog! Take it away, Sarah!
Hi, Maine Mom on the Run readers! I'm Sarah and I blog over at Running on Words. I'll admit I wasn't really sure what to blog about here, but Carrie told me she's thinking about training for a half soon, so I figured I'd share my running journey with her (and you).

I started running a little over a year ago because I was sick of using the elliptical at the gym. Ellipticals are BO-RING after a year or so. I decided to try Couch to 5K because that's what all the cool kids are doing, but it turns out that I was nowhere near being able to run for a minute despite my year+ of working out. Bummer.

I went down to my local Fleet Feet to scope out...well, I don't know what. I was so nervous about being there, but I bought the Runner's World Guide to Beginning Running so that they wouldn't think I was weird for coming in and not buying anything. Luckily for me, the book has a number of training plans in the back and one of the 5K plans started with 30 second run intervals. This I knew I could do.

And I made it up to 1.5 minutes of running before shin splints/most likely a stress fracture. I remember my husband practically carrying me home while I screamed bloody murder because even walking hurt so badly. I ended up giving up running for about 3 months until I healed. I was still scared, though, so I finally signed up for the Fleet Feet/New Balance No Boundaries 5K training program.  A 12 week schedule that went from 30 second running intervals to 3.5 miles.  

This time, I did it! At the time, I hadn't really run faster than a 14:30 min/mile, but the adrenaline that day had me running a 13:08 min/mile and I finished with a huge smile on my face. I felt like I could take over the world!
So I promptly signed up for half marathon training that began immediately following my 5K on 1/1/11. I followed a schedule that was given to me when I signed up for the group and I had group long runs scheduled on Saturdays.
This was a little harder than 5K training.  A 12 mile long run meant being out there for 3 hours.  The weather was crazy as we progressed from winter to spring. Oh yeah, and I fell down cement stairs a month before the half.
My one brilliant piece of training advice: take the time to walk down stairs if you come across them while running. Better yet, avoid them completely.
Either way, I made it it to the starting line, despite the fall, the injured knee and the nagging case of piriformis syndrome I developed 3 weeks before the race (thank G-d for steroids).
This is while I was still pumped up on adrenaline and feeling great!  I was so excited to see my pace coach Sara!
I think the hardest thing about race day was that I had not slept the night before. I got less than 4 hours of sleep and the adrenaline wore off before we crossed the start line. While I had run 12 miles in training with no problem, I could barely keep dragging myself after 9, especially once I lost all of my friends. I also was so thirsty and kept chugging water because the sports drink was disgusting.
I finished. I ran the whole thing. Then I collapsed in the medical tent from water intoxication. Ooops. Seriously, with another 4 hours of sleep and more salt I would have been on top of the world.
Whatever, at least I got this giant shiny medal.
My sweet medal holder right after Cap City.  My 1st 5K medal, my 1st 5 mile race medal, and my giant half marathon medal.  Don't worry, I've collected more bling since this was taken in May.
So I guess what I'm hoping you'll all take away from this is that you too can run a half marathon with the proper amount of training! And don't drink too much water while you do it. And it doesn't hurt if your sports doc is also the physician at the finish line. That was comforting.
Questions?  Leave 'em below or let me know at my blog.

A very inspiring post! Thanks for visiting, Sarah!


  1. OMG, what a story! Isn't it funny how us silly runners finish one 5K and feel like of course we can do a half marathon?!? (That's exactly what I did when I finished my first 5K, too). LOVE that medal holder.
    Thanks for playing along!!

  2. What a training adventure!

  3. What a great story, Sarah! Look at how far you have come! I also started running b/c I got bored on the elliptical!

  4. Love it Sarah! I was lucky to run 0.2 miles at a time when I started I know that feeling!

  5. great post! i started out running following a run/walk method and i still use it today when i need/want.

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