How To Do Everything Wrong & Still Run a Successful Half Marathon

After all the hype and worrying about it, it came and went so fast. I can now officially say that I have run a half marathon and it was one of the most amazing accomplishments of my life! I never thought in a million years that I would have the energy, stamina, technique or mental strength to run a half. After all, I sort of did everything wrong…..I didn’t follow a training plan, didn’t train enough (according to the experts) and didn’t eat right all the time either. Did I mention that the usual family chaos happened and I missed the starting bell?

However despite all this, here’s how I did everything wrong and still ran a successful half marathon in 2hrs 30min.

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Training & Nutrition

Approximately 10 weeks off and on, running distances of 5km, 10km and even up to 25km on occasion. All very inconsistently and intermittently dispersed between bouts of extreme “summer bbq eating” and too many glasses of wine.

Physio

4 physio sessions in the 3 weeks prior to the race in order to fix a joint problem in my ankle. The pain went away so therefore this seemed to be a success.

Hydration

Lemon water all day long, every day. This has been a consistent theme in my life for 5 months now and the benefits have been amazing. I believe that somehow this must have helped me!

Gear

Decided last minute that I needed a cute new outfit for the race. I bought new everything. New shorts, tank top, underwear, bra, socks and headband. Then I wore it all for the first time on race morning. Haha! Turned out well though, I felt good in my new outfit and nothing bothered me on the run. Except the headband which did not stay put but it was a minor detail. I also decided the night before to ditch my cumbersome fuel belt. That meant only relying on the water stations for hydration. I had never run without my own water before and it did make me nervous but the idea of running without it sounded even better. Luckily the race was well equipped with more than enough water and Gatorade stations.

Fuel

Bought new snacks at the grocery store the night before the race. Small packages of nuts and dried fruits. New brand, totally untested but tasted great and really hit the spot while running!

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Race Morning

Smoothie (Banana, spinach, peanut butter, ice and vanilla soy milk), water and Gatorade. All seemed to go down well. We got to the race early, parked the car, went to the bathroom and then it happened. We got separated in the crowd after a trip to the bathroom and by the time we all found each other again, I missed the starting bell. The kids were whining for snacks when I realized that I had missed the starting bell. The runners took off on to the course and I had to run in the opposite direction to get to the back and cross the starting line in order to activate my chip. I think I was literally the last runner to cross the starting line. I also had to sprint to catch up to closest group of runners. Totally crazy way to start. My earbuds weren’t in, my music wasn’t set, my headband wasn’t in place, I had no time to decide if I was running with or without sunglasses and most importantly I wasn’t mentally ready.  But there was no time to think about, I just had to run! And so I did :)

The Race

The race was perfect. Beautiful scenery around the water, easy and clear markers, great crowd, an overall great course. The best part was coming around to the last 5km and seeing my family waiting for me. Some I expected to see and others completely surprised me by showing up to support me. It was overwhelmingly emotional to see my loved ones cheering and calling my name. As I approached the last 100 or so meters before the finish line, my niece and my daughter jumped out from the crowd and joined me. They ran with me as I crossed the finish line and it completely made the moment for me. I may have done everything wrong in preparation for this race but I must have done something right to be blessed with such an amazing family.

Lachine Half Marathon

 

What have been your experiences with half marathons?

Do you follow strict plans or do you prefer to keep things open for interpretation like I did?

Share your best moment from your first half!

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Amazing! Well Done and Congratulations on your first half marathon!!

    Yeah, I was pretty bad with training, no plan and not much consistency.

    I fell at mile 1 and burst my knees so crossing the finish line was definitely my best moment, haha, along with seeing friends and family among the crowd cheering me on.
    Xo

  2. says

    Great read and so happy that it all worked out for you! The ‘worst’ thing I did was wear a new pair of shoes for my race, but they were the same model I had trained in so it was not an issue at all!

  3. says

    Brave soul trying a new outfit on race day! Congratulations on your accomplishment! It’s such a thrill to cross that finish line after all the hard work you put in during training. What’s next for you? A full marathon perhaps?

  4. says

    Great job!! I love this post :) So honest and from the heart. I’m so glad you had a good race. I would have been freaking out if I missed the start bell– but it sounds like you handled it well.

  5. runninrocker says

    I am glad you had such a wonderful first half marathon experience! I still say that there’s nothing like your first! Your starting line situation would have stressed the crap out of me! I try to have some sort of routine but find that sometimes, less is better :)

  6. says

    Congratulations on your first half! Well done. I’m slowly working my way towards a half. This year I made it to a couple of 10 km races. My twin sister made it to a half and I was so proud of her! It was nice to see that you had lots of great support from your family! Again, congrats on a great accomplishment.

    • mtlrunnermom@gmail.com says

      Thanks so much Lucie and congrats on your races! Keep working towards your half, you will love it!!

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