What Running a Half Marathon Has Taught Me

by Katie on November 9, 2015

I’ve been on a journey to become healthier since June of 2014.  I first blogged about what made me decide to make some major changes here and then blogged about how the mindset of progress not perfection was helping me achieve my goals here.   

IMG_0046The last time I blogged about my fitness journey I was really finding my grove. My workouts were going well, I had finally found a way of healthy eating that was working for me, and I was seeing a lot of progress. Sometime right after the first of the year I got a crazy idea in my head to sign up for a half marathon.  The half marathon I wanted to run wasn’t until October, but I knew if I did not sign up for it at the very second that I had the idea I would never do it. So on a cold January night I nervously registered and then immediately told my family, closest friends, and my fitness group about it to hold myself accountable.

The months came and went and before I knew it July was here and it was time for me to lace up my shoes and start training. I trained for three months before the race, running an average of three times a week and cross training the FullSizeRender (2)other 2 days.  The 3 months flew by and just like that I found myself standing at the starting line of the Des Moines Marathon getting ready to run the 13.1 miles that I had thought endlessly about in the days and weeks leading up to the race. The starting gun went off and I ran and ran and ran (and walked a little) until 2 hours 59 minutes and 6 seconds later I crossed the finish line.

IMG_0080Here are a few things that training for and running the half marathon taught me:

Trust the Process

This was a huge lesson for me. I struggled running 3 miles when I first started training. I mean really struggled. During those times I wondered how I would ever be able to run 13.1 miles and really starting doubting myself.  At some point during this time I read an article about training that said “trust the process.” This really hit home with me and was something I could relate to with my fitness group. When I started the group I could not do burpees, situps, or pushups without some major modifications and yet somewhere along the line I slowly became  stronger and was able to let the modifications go. The same thing happened with my running, before too long I was easily running 3 miles and as the miles started to increase so did my endurance. Trust the process.

You Can Do Hard ThingsFullSizeRender (3)

I’ve always had the motto that I only ran in the case of an emergency, so needless to say running was not something I participated in before signing up for the race. I’m not going to lie, the training was hard and I had some runs that I was not sure how I was ever going to finish.  Training and running this race was one the hardest things I’ve ever done and also one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  Knowing that I was able to complete something that seemed impossible has given me more confidence and pride than I can express.

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Always Cheer on Your Tribe

The support I had from my family and friends during my training and my race was absolutely unbelievable.  They showed up big time. I received texts, emails, and phone calls from so many special people in my life  in the days leading up to the race. Those simple words of encouragement meant so much to me as I nervously awaited race day. On race day my family mapped out the course and was able to be at 3 different locations to cheer me on. Just knowing that they were there made me feel so motivated to run the best that I could. The biggest and best surprise on race day happened right as I hit mile 5 and saw 3 of the girls from my fitness group holding signs and cheering me on. I had no idea that they were going to be there and their support and encouragement meant the world to me. So I guess you could say this race taught me to show up and be the encouragement and light to my friends and family both in their successes and in their times of trial. A text, a surprise visit, or a thoughtful gift can mean so much.

  • IMG_0055They are always watching

The day that I finished my race my six year old came up to me and said “I’m so proud of you, Momma! I’m actually prouder than I’ve ever been.”  Those little eyes watched me head out the door and come back in after a long run hardly able to walk. Those little ears listened to me talk about my goals. And that little heart learned what pride felt like. They are always watching.

  • Goals are an amazing motivator

I had two goals when I signed up for this race- To finish and run as FullSizeRender (4)much of the race as possible. Those 2 goals made my training so much easier. I would picture myself crossing the finish line over and over again and I would push through the pain when all I wanted to do was walk. My mind was always done much sooner than my body was. I’m happy to say that I crossed that finish line just shy of 3 hours and ran about 12.5 of the 13.1 miles. Goals are awesome.

  • Never say never

Since I’ve completed the race so many people have said to me “I could never do that.”  Those words have come out of my mouth about so many things but this taught me that Yes, I can do what I think might just be impossible. It might not be pretty, it might not be perfect, but I can do it. And so can you. Never say never.

  • You are worth itYou are worth the money. You are worth the time. You are worth the challenge. You are worth every ounce of sweat and hardwork. You are worth overcoming your fears. You are so worth it.

What a fun, rewarding, empowering, and amazing experience these past few months have been.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

If you are interested in running a half marathon, I can’t recommend the IMT Des Moines Marathon enough. The race was organized. The course was really great (and very flat too) and beautiful. The spectators were  encouraging, funny and motivating. The whole experience was just amazing!

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