Half Marathon Aftermath

As I debated whether or not I should take a nap or go to the gym today, I thought to myself, “Self, did you ever blog about how you’re half marathon went? And how sore you were? And how your legs felt like they were going to collapse from underneath you?” No, no I did not blog about how my first ever half marathon went!! Why not!?

I have no answer to why I didn’t blog about it… sheer laziness? Perhaps, but now, more than two months later, I want to share with you just how worth the hours of training were for this 13.1 mile run.

I wrote for one my my journalism classes (you can find more of my articles at my class’s wordpress website). I’ve tweaked it a bit for my personal blog:

I Ran Like a Diva

Tiaras, pink feather boas, champagne, and roses are exactly what a girl needs to feel like the diva she really is.

More than 3,000 women gathered at Eisenhower Park, Long Island, N.Y. on Oct. 3 for the first ever Divas Half Marathon. The Divas Half Marathon is the first event in the Divas series of runs sponsored by the Continental Event and Sports Management Group LLC. These half marathons were developed to encourage women to celebrate their womanhood by dousing them with items such as tiaras, boas, and champagne.

The half marathon was a 13.1 mile run around Nassau County, Long Island. Women of all ages participated, and were encouraged to “run like a diva” as they raced to the finish line where their glass of champagne awaited them.

Firefighter “hunks,” as the Divas Half Marathon described these gentlemen, greeted each runner at the finish line with champagne, a medal and a rose. This was my first half marathon, and what attracted me most were the fun perks, as you can probably see why!

About five weeks ago, a friend of mine from work asked me if I was interested in running in this event with her. I did a bit of research and, not knowing exactly what I was getting myself into, said yes. Training began the very next day.

I’ve never been an avid runner. An exercise enthusiast, yes, but the thought of running 13 miles in one shot felt nearly impossible. However, I soon learned it is possible, and I was ready to put my body to the test. I found a training schedule online that detailed day-by-day distances to run in order to be fully prepared for this race. I hung the schedule on my wall, and started my training with an easy three mile run.

The training schedule was that for 10 week period, however, because I started late, I cut out a few weeks in between. Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday were rest days. Monday always started out with a light run; between three to four miles. Throughout the week, the distances gradually increased, to prepare you for Saturday, which was always the longest.

I started training during the last few weeks of summer, so finding time to run during the day wasn’t difficult, being that my summer workload wasn’t horrendous. There’s also a lake nearby my home that is a flat three mile course, so I used that frequently to run around. However, at the start of school, my workload tripled and finding time to do an hour long run didn’t exactly fit smoothly into my schedule. I’d hit up the gym when I could, or used MapMyRun.com to map out a run around Mahwah.

Although I was running more frequently than usual, my diet didn’t change drastically. I ate just as much as I used to, but didn’t feel as bad when I had that extra piece of pizza or bread, because I knew I’d be burning it off soon anyway. The week before the race, however, runners are advised to carb-load. No need to tell me twice! I ate bagels and pasta and sandwiches throughout the week to ensure that I would have enough energy for the run.

I will admit I strayed from the schedule a few times, not running full mileage on some days. However, as the two-week mark snuck up on me, I stepped up my A-game. Two weeks before the half marathon, I pushed myself to run 10 miles, and the week before I ran seven. A fellow student who runs full marathons said I should be fine with that amount of training, so I eased up on the distances and before I knew it, race day was here.

My ultimate goal was to finish. I wanted to prove to myself and my body that I could run the full 13.1 miles. The night before the race, the two girls I was running with and I spent the night at a nearby hotel in Long Island. We prepared ourselves physically and emotionally by eating pasta and bread and getting to bed early.

We set our alarms for 5:30 a.m. in order to pack, eat, and get to the race on time. By 7:45 a.m., women were swarming around the starting line. As I made my way to the crowd, surrounded by thousands of other girls, my heart raced inside of me and my adrenalin pumped. The horn sounded and we were off!

The feeling of being among these thousands of women, and knowing that we’re all here to accomplish the same goal was tremendously exciting. By the time I looked up at a mile-marker along the way, I was at mile three. Then, before I knew it, mile 11 was just up ahead.

At mile 12, my hips were sore, ankles weak, and legs tired, but to boost our spirits, the divas were given a hot pink feather boa and a sparkly tiara, to make us feel like true divas! The last 1.1 miles were left, so with the boa wrapped around my neck and the tiara nearly falling off my head, I ran full force to the finish line.

I finished the race in one hour, 54 minutes, averaging an eight minute and 42 second mile. This half marathon was a great experience and proved to myself that if I put my mind to something, I can accomplish it.

The race was fun, the aftermath, not so much

Aside from the actually running, let me explain a bit about the aftermath, the part most of you are dying to hear. After crossing that finish line, I literally thought I was going to collapse. My ankles could barely bend, my knee caps were ready to pop off, my thighs were pounding, and my hips needed oil.

I recovered in stages: The day after, my entire lower body felt sore – knees the most. Stairs were a definite no and getting up from chairs made me look like an 85-year-old woman. The second day my thighs and ankles were the most sore. Even walking was painful. The third day, my legs felt a lot better, but my back was killing me. Fourth day, I actually ran again (terrible idea, I do not recommend doing this). My entire body felt like I ran another half marathon.

I’d say by the fifth or sixth day I was 95% recovered. I was actually kind of disappointed when the soreness wore off though. It made me remember how hard I worked to get past that finish line.

Running this half marathon was truly amazing (and I’m not trying to sound corny). It proved a lot about myself I never knew. Someone at the bar I work at told me the other day told me, “Runners are special people. They are extremely self disciplined.” He couldn’t have been more spot-on.

Someone needs to send me to the Honolulu Diva’s Half next!!