My first half marathon @ 40 y.o.

speedyf Posts: 1,571 Member
I think it's appropriate to put that in the success stories...

October 26, 2013 (day before the race)

My boyfriend’s been a real gem. He patiently listened to all my whining, and rambling. He’s not a big talker, but he finally sat me down and told me that he saw me trained, going to the gym every day for lifting, running every day for the last 3 years, and he told me “I’m not even worry. You can do this, you’re going to cross that finish line, and you’re going to be great. You can do this.” That made me relax a bit.

Here's the race course & elevation

Race day – October 27, 2013

I woke up @ 4am, unable to sleep anymore, because I was afraid I wouldn’t hear the alarm. The start was at 8:30, but we were meeting with a coworker at 7:30; he was also running that same race with his girlfriend.

So here I am, at the starting line, behind the pack, ready to leave. My HR is @ 114... Not good. I’m trying to calm down... but I also forgot my iPod!! Great job Annie! You rarely run without it and for this very important race, you forgot it! Nice job! I heard people talking about the half (guys that were doing their 4th half in 5 weeks), saying that this particular half is the hardest in the province. Awesome! And I had to chose this one! They said that you have to add 20 minutes to your regular finish time because of all the hills. I was aiming for 2:30, so I thought I was lucky if I ended within 3 hours.

The race starts. Uphill, for almost 1 mile, and then down for almost another mile. And uphill for another mile before an abrupt downhill for a bit more than 1 mile... my calves are on fire. Watch your step, it’s easy to trip if you’re going too fast. The first marathon runner passes us at an incredible speed... while talking to each other!!! “Are you guys for real?????” They started 10 minutes after us, and every marathon runner that was passing by was clapping hands and saying “Let’s go, don’t give up. You got this!” to everyone... How can they run so fast and still be able to talk???? That’s beyond me!

After that abrupt downhill, I know what’s coming: I studied that course, so I don’t push too much on the way down. We turn on a bike path (dirt), in the woods, for about 2 miles...2 miles of incredible misery, hills, going up, up, up and up... After that second hill, I have to walk... I can’t run anymore. If I want to cross that finish line, I realize that I won’t have any choice but to do run/walk interval. In those 2 miles, runners got really spread out on the course. The faster were flying, and the others (like me) were just trying to NOT GIVE UP, already visualizing that finish line... While I was running that last hill, I asked myself “Please remind me why I wanted to do that??? I can’t remember! I want pizza for dinner. Oh no, that’s not good. Hey, how come you’re still able to run that fast? And you’re doing the marathon? So you’ll have to do that twice?!!? Ok. So some people are crazier than me, which is good. I must be normal. Hey, that guy in the orange t-shirt, he’s running funny. Hummm.. Maybe, but he’s in front of you dud.” Those are the kind of thoughts that I got for 2 miles. I was just trying to keep my mind off the hills, trying not to give up, knock on a door, asking if I could borrow their phone so my boyfriend could come and pick me up. But I’m not a quitter. I know I won’t do that. But I thought about it.

After 2 miles of misery going uphill, (we’re at the bottom of the mountain) now we’re going down. Really down. Again you have to shorten your stride to make sure that you won’t trip, and do like a bowling ball, smash in the legs of all those runners in front of you while you roll down the hill. I laughed when I thought of that... The runner that was passing me looked at me and said “Nice to see somebody smile.” I winked and looked at him. “He’s about 75 y.o. How can he run a marathon? How come I can’t keep up with him!! I wish I’ll be able to still run at his age. But I’ll never run a marathon! NO WAY! I would so eat a banana right about now! I wonder where I left my iPod. You’re lucky you can have a pit stop in the wood sir. I wish it was that simple for me!”

Ok, now we’re going down again, only to go up again but it’s the last hill to climb for the next 3 miles. I’m good. I can do this. We’re 4 miles from the end. We’re back on the pavement, going down slowly. And back in the woods a mile after that, still going downhill... We’re out of the woods, but not for long. The last stretch, 0.5 mile going uphill, again... and then it goes down for the remaining 0.5 mile, to the finish line. On the way up that last hill, people are cheering me up “You can do this. It’s the last mile! Let’s go lady! Don’t give up!” Finally, FINALLY I’m at the top. I want pancakes. No. I DESERVE pancakes. And I want roasted chicken for dinner. And I’M NOT MAKING IT! I’m not doing ANYTHING when I get back home. I wonder if somebody fed the horses? What time is it anyway????? And now it’s going down. People are cheering me up on the way down. “You’re awesome!!! Come on, you can do this!!! Only 400 meter lady!! Woohoo!! You’re doing great! Look at that! She’s at the end of her 13.1 miles, and she’s still smiling!! (Thanks Janet & Cin!)” Even the photographers were cheering!

Ok, one last turn before the finish line. You can do this. Pick up your pace, make yourself proud of yourself! Hey, that’s my boyfriend! What is he doing in the middle of the street??? Oh, taking pics... Smile Annie, smile. You don’t want a crappy pic of you near the finish line, a pic that looks like you’re just about to give up and die... like you do feel, but they can’t “see” that. Smile. Clic. Good. Now let me finish that ** race. Still don’t remember why I wanted to do that... Ok. Last turn. Hey! They moved the finish line!!! Shoot, another turn. I can do this. The crowd is whistling, making noises, cheering me up. I pick up the pace again to finish strong. Where is it? Where is it? Can I stop now? No, not yet. Right there, 100 feet. Cross. Thank God! A volunteer warmly congratulates me, gives me my medal. “I made it! I made it! Now where’s my boyfriend? I want my chocolate milk! Like NOW!!!! There he is.” I unstrap my fuel belt, and give it to him. He gives me my chocolate milk (he had specific instructions lol). I feel something in the front pocket of my dri-fit jacket... What’s that.... My iPod!!!!

While I’m there drinking my chocolate milk, a few people I know come to congratulate me. I’m really touched, and I think they can see that.

I tell my boyfriend "I want pancakes, and roasted chicken, and I’m not making it. And I want them in that order.” He just looks at me, grinds, gives me a hug, and nods. Finish time: 2:52:52, all that time in a mix of rain and snow. I'm satisfied. I'm below 3 hours.

So, when's the next race?

Note: English is not my first language, so sorry for the grammar mistakes in there...


  • Kookyk9s
    Kookyk9s Posts: 259 Member
    Damn right it is an amazing success. In the rain and snow. UNBELIEVABLE. I would have wimped out in the bad weather for sure. Congratulations. Hope you enjoyed your pancakes and roasted chicken.
  • coccolino30
    coccolino30 Posts: 44 Member
    Congratulations! that's fantastic. I started to run on the treadmill few months ago and I can run 30 min now....never been a runner. I would like to do a half marathon in about 6 months time, do you think is achievable? How long did you train for it?
    Amazing results, well done!
  • JTH11706
    JTH11706 Posts: 2,965 Member
    Holy crap, Annie! :noway: I'm glad I didn't know the course elevation before or I'm not sure I would have been so relaxed about telling you 13 miles would be easy for you. This is an amazing accomplishment! The hardest race in the province? You are fierce!!!! Way to go! :drinker:
  • MGreensides
    MGreensides Posts: 173 Member
    So amazing! I so enjoyed reading your story of how it played out, sounds a lot like when I did my 10k (I'm training for a half now). Was this by any chance the Legs for Literacy race??
  • jojopel
    jojopel Posts: 348 Member
    Bravo Annie! Je suis si fiere de toi!
  • mreeves261
    mreeves261 Posts: 728 Member
    I can absolutely relate to the thoughts that go through your head at what seem to be the oddest times!!! Awesome finish and congrats!
  • CherylP67
    CherylP67 Posts: 772 Member
    Amazing job, way to go! Bravo to you for never giving up, it's amazing what you can pull out from deep inside yourself.
  • speedyf
    speedyf Posts: 1,571 Member
    So amazing! I so enjoyed reading your story of how it played out, sounds a lot like when I did my 10k (I'm training for a half now). Was this by any chance the Legs for Literacy race??
    Thanks! Nice to know that I'm not the only one having all kinds of thoughts during a long run! :laugh:
    And to answer your question, no, this was a regular marathon, half, 10k & 5k event. Most of the money was going to the local hospital. It was the second year, and for all 4 events, we were 3,250 runners. This is a very small city. Last year, for the first year, they thought there would be about 800 runners; they ended up with 2,500, and that was because, at one point, they had to limit the number of runners.
  • bernied262
    bernied262 Posts: 882 Member
    thank you for sharing your story and you thoughts with us, You did an amazing job and as a fellow 40 y.o., that is inspiring! I hope you got your pancakes and chicken!
  • speedyf
    speedyf Posts: 1,571 Member
    Congratulations! that's fantastic. I started to run on the treadmill few months ago and I can run 30 min now....never been a runner. I would like to do a half marathon in about 6 months time, do you think is achievable? How long did you train for it?
    Amazing results, well done!

    Thank you! :smooched:
    My best advice: Jeff Galloway training program. Here's a link to his website. Great, great, great program to follow!
    If you want to learn more about him, check the "About Jeff" section.
  • KateLMinifie
    Love your story - I did a half.marathon when I was 39 just before having my two children now right back at the star to build fitness again and run regularly. Lucky me it was all sunshine but very hot being the Melbourne. marathon in Australia. I sweated SO much!!! Felt such achievement - would love to do it again post children. Thanks
  • lighteningjeanne855
    lighteningjeanne855 Posts: 566 Member
    Speedy, you have done a great job today--two great jobs!
    You wrote wonderfully about your experience,
    AND you finished your first half-marathon in under 3 hours!
    Congratulations, and best wishes!
  • butters1
    butters1 Posts: 1,540 Member
    Simply amazing! You rocked that mountain!
  • dinos
    dinos Posts: 1,390 Member
  • jocmw
    jocmw Posts: 20 Member
    Congrats! And thanks so much for sharing your story - it made me smile and has given me some added inspiration for my first marathon I'm doing on Sunday (New York CIty Marathon). I'm a ball of excitement and nerves. I'll be thinking of you pushing through the hills, rain and snow when the going gets tough for me :)
  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,248 Member
    Well done!
  • RyanDryFly
    RyanDryFly Posts: 92 Member
    Very inspiring. I'm training for my first half in December. Can't wait to see how I stack up...I hope I can do it with a smile like you.
  • Be11adonna
    Be11adonna Posts: 55 Member
    What an inspirational post to read, thank you for sharing, you made me smile loads!
    Well done for tackling those hills, great achievement and respectful time :smile:
  • Coopaloopsmom
    Awesome work!!! I have my first half coming up in February and you definitly just got me excited for it!
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