First Half Marathon Recap

Twin Lights Half Marathon, May 15, 2011

WE.  DID.  IT!!!! 😀

This is the race that I have been planning ever since I finished my very first race (a 10k) in Gloucester.  Well.  Not literally this exact race.  But a half marathon.  Any half marathon, really.

And then I got injured.  Sidelined by plantar fasciitis.  And then runners knee.  One after the other.  I was absolutely heartbroken.  Crushed!!!

But then someone wise (aka, Dad) told me, “Sarah, there will be plenty more races in your future.  Just rest and get better.”

And so I did.  I rested and strengthened and busied myself with other things like biking and yoga.  Not instead of running.  But because I was a runner.  I wanted to be stronger and more prepared for the next time around.

Eventually I reached the point when I could run/walk a mile completely pain free.  This was back in May, 2010.  The month when my Memere passed away from esophageal cancer.  I remember distinctly that day, when I went out crying and pleading, “God, please let me run.  I need to run.  Please.”

And I did.  And it was painless.  Not a hint of a knee or a foot injury.  This is when I knew that soon, I would be ready.

My dietetic internship started in August, a month when the days were quickly growing shorter and shorter, and my schedule was becoming more and more busy.  I didn’t have that spare time to run in the morning anymore, and yet I absolutely hated the thought of running alone at night through the dark woods.

And then dad did something I will never forget.  He threw on his running gear and said, “let’s run.”  And so, we did.  We religiously ran two 3 mile runs a week.  Through snow and rain and sleet.  We ran.

And in some quiet but unforgotten place in the back of mind, there still lingered the possibility of a half.

I didn’t announce these plans.  Those dreams and goals.  Not until one Saturday afternoon, after coming home from a 6 mile run.  That’s when I knew–I just knew!–that if ever I was going to make it, this was the time.

Dad kept increasing the long runs with me every Saturday, and we mutually decided that we would start a real training program together.  The Twin Lights Half Marathon gave us the perfect amount of training time, so we signed up.  The rest is history. 😀

And then Matthew–a Boston marathoner–said he wanted to join in on the fun too.

Over the course of the next 16 weeks, we all kept tabs on each other’s progress.  Issuing advice, complaints and advice on everything from foam rolling and icing to nutrition and sneakers.

And then–today–we did it.  We passed through the finish line as the announcers sounded off our names on the loud speakers.  I wanted to cry.

It is surreal.  I still can’t believe it.

I am so proud of Dad and Matthew (they finished in 1:45!!!)  And I am so proud of myself too!  Proud of each mile that led me here.  Proud of each tear that I cried as I ran away the bitter pain from my Memere’s passing.  Proud of each high five that my dad gave me as we finished our weekly long runs.  Proud of each step.  Each hill.  Each hurdle.  Yes.  I am so, so, so proud.

My knee acted up quite a bit today (by mile three!!,) but I’m honestly okay with that.  I plan on giving my body some much needed down time, while incorporating more strength training and biking into my routine.  Especially now that the nice weather is here! 😀

How was the Twin Lights Half Marathon course itself?

Well.  The final verdict from most runners was that it was incredibly daunting.  Steep.  Monstrous.  A bully of sorts.  More than one runner laughed at the finish line, saying that they were so happy that they chose to incorporate hills into their training routine.  I’ve never seen or experienced so many hills in my life.

But.  Sigh.  We made it.  And we made it smiling. 😀

Thank you everyone for all of your support and encouraging words!  They meant so much to me as I went through training.  I couldn’t have done it without you!!

Thank you, Matthew and Dad for running your hearts out with me, each step of the way.

And thank you God, for my health.  For letting me run.  I will never forget.

And good luck to all you readers who are also in the middle of training for your upcoming races! 😀

QUESTION: What is one of your proudest moments?


21 comments on “First Half Marathon Recap

  1. Evan Thomas says:

    Congratulations! It’s definitely a high crossing the finish line. I can’t wait to do that for my next marathon.

  2. jamiddix says:

    Congratulations! What a great post and story. I never considered myself a runner, but I do now. Life has been stressful and there were plenty of long runs where I found myself crying, its about the only time I get to myself with two kiddos, a husband, and looking for professional happiness:). Completing my first half-marathon was definitely one of my proudest moments! Signing up for another one in October. Congratulations!!

  3. Lisa Fine says:

    Yay! Congratulations, Sarah!

    It sounds like you had an incredible race, and it must have been quite moving to train and run it with your dad.

    One of my proudest moments was when, in college, I was asked to speak at a panel discussion. I felt so honored to be invited as a speaker.

  4. Congratulations, Sarah!! This is such an inspiring story, especially for someone just starting and beginning to be enamored with running. Be proud!!

  5. Wow! Huge congrats, girl! That’s really amazing. I’m just starting out my own journey with running, and anyone who finishes a marathon or half marathon is a hero in my eyes 🙂 Again, big congrats!

  6. Stephanie says:

    Hello! I’m a new reader and I’ve got to say “Congratulations!!” I don’t recall too many occasions I felt “proud,” but just yesterday I performed a finale concert in my city-youth-orchestra. It was great 🙂

  7. Jess says:

    That’s one of the sweetest race recaps I’ve ever read. So many congrats to you, your dad, and Matthew! Awesome time (especially with HILLS)!!

  8. Wow, what a FANTASTIC time for your first half marathon. And what an accomplishment to begin with – to complete 13.1 miles! Congratulations!

    Ugh, I ran a 10k yesterday and the first 4 miles were awful, with my legs hurting so much. 😦 How is your knee feeling now? (I have issues with my right knee as well, so I’m resting today and tomorrow to make sure I don’t injure it any further)

    One of my proudest moments? Doing a half marathon a month after I had already done one, and completing it in a new PR of 2:13! This coming from a girl who the year before ran a half in 2:45. I was so so thankful.

    And thank YOU for your reminder that running is a gift from God.

    • Sarah says:

      My knee is feeling much better than yesterday. Still not *normal*, but definitely better. I plan on resting up for at least a couple more days before testing it out on an easy run. 😀

  9. Congrats! That’s so great that you completed the race!

    I’ve completed two half marathons and they remain two of my proudest moments/accomplishments in life thus far. But, I’d say I’m also very proud of my marriage. I work hard at keeping it healthy and pray over it daily, and God has blessed us with a relationship that runs over with joy daily. It’s such a treat!

  10. Nicole says:

    YAYYyyyyyyyyy! You DID IT!!!!!!! 🙂

  11. Jolene says:

    Congratulations on finishing a very challenging course. How nice to have been able to share that with your Dad. Great post, loved your pictures. 🙂

  12. Katie says:

    Hooray and congrats!! So many good pictures to recap!

  13. lauren says:

    long time reader here 🙂 congrats on the race 🙂 I loved this post! and its so nice you could share such an experience with your dad and brother! Id love to hear your advice on how you recovered from your injuries..especially runners knee?? (I’m currently struggling with it at the moment in both knees)
    Hope the rest of your weekend was nice and relaxing 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks for asking, Lauren! I’ll definitely be making a post on this, as I definitely have had my fair share of injuries! 😀

  14. Ashlei says:

    Way to go Sarah! That’s such a great accomplishment, and you had a great run time too! Congrats 🙂

  15. Congratulations!! I was out there on the course with you, a few minutes behind and it was daunting to say the least!!

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