I Ran a Half Marathon Without Training
Did I have a training plan and good intentions to properly prepare for my first ever half marathon? Absolutely.
Do I also get bored on runs and have a tendency to wing things? Also yes.
A half marathon has been on my bucket list for a while. I almost registered for one last year but chickened out because I didn’t want to do it alone. This year, I was surprised to be accepted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon ambassador team as a Rock ‘n’ Squad member, which only meant one thing: this will be my year.
So I registered for the Seattle half, which, at the time was at least 12 weeks away and the training plan I had saved on my computer was a 12-week beginner/intermediate program. It was perfect: I’d jump into the training plan that alternated between walking and jogging and also had some speed and endurance training built in. There’d be three official training days per week plus one to two additional cross training or “easy” days, which I could incorporate into my gym routine. That was my intention.
What ended up happening? I’d go to the gym, do my other strength training workouts first, and then shorten my training runs under the excuse that I’d get back on track next time, or next week. The weeks went by, and I’d be lucky to get in a four or five mile jog at most. Some weeks I skipped running entirely. I was building the mileage another way: by hiking. My hikes were getting longer (the longest being around 10 miles at the time), and I figured by race day I’d really only be swapping the elevation for a few more miles so my energy expenditure would be similar.
Race day rolls around, and at this point I’m thinking: “Well shit. I sucked at following the training plan, but at least I have the mileage down. Here goes nothing!”
And boy did I wing it. Having no knowledge of how I wanted to space out my intervals or consume my little gummy or gu packets, I started running and didn’t take my first walk break until mile 3. My intentions were to walk/run the entire race but I started off strong and didn’t want to stop. I popped a couple gummies at this point, and then started running again. I actually felt good.
I would walk every mile or two, just for a couple minutes while I chewed a few energy blocks or washed down a gu packet with some water, and then got back to running. We had an awesome course that took us all around Seattle. It wasn’t until mile 9 that I was finally starting to feel like I needed more than some gummies. Luckily, it was around here that we passed a Gatorade station and I chugged a cup despite knowing that it wasn’t smart to try anything new on race day (luckily I had no problems).
I remember passing the mile 11 marker and my feet were starting to hurt, but we had just reached the base of Queen Anne so there was no time to worry about hurt feet when everyone was huffing and puffing up this monster of a hill that I had laughed at in comparison to some of my hikes. It was tough. No, not just tough, it was a killer. I walked up the entire hill and was greeted by the Grey’s Anatomy house (never watched it, but it was cool to see everyone getting excited about people dressed in scrubs standing outside), and then a quick stop for a selfie at Kerry Park before bounding down the hill to the last stretch before crossing the finish line.
I did it.
I told everyone that my goal was just to finish, since a half marathon is a huge accomplishment in and of itself, but I secretly wished I could get a finish time of 3:30 or better. Then, at one point during the race, I laughed to myself and said, “What if I finished in less than 3 hours?”
Not watching the clock, I ran when I felt good, walked when I needed a break, and ate gels and gummies when I felt tired. It wasn’t until I walked up to the medal engraving station that I finally saw my finish time. And you know what it was?
I freaking did it.
Not only did I finish the race - not only did I finish in 3:30 - I finished in less than 3 hours.
I am so incredibly proud of myself, and grateful to my fellow Rock ‘n’ Squad members who encouraged me along the way! I am registered for a few more half marathons this year (all Rock ‘n’ Roll): Denver, Las Vegas, and possibly adding San Antonio.
If you are interested in registering for a Rock ‘n’ Roll event (they have distances ranging from 5K to a full marathon), use these codes for a discount! I do not benefit from these in any way, and they are not unique to me in any way:
Half & Full: 19RNSQUAD16
Smaller Distances: 2019RNS6