Lessons Learned From My First Half Marathon
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Lessons Learned From My First Half Marathon

Lessons Learned From My First Half Marathon
DLL Marathon Eindhoven

I completed my first big race this past weekend.

If you follow my writing, you know that this race has been a source of anxiety for me for a long time. My mantra this season has been "I'm not a runner." I still stand by that sentiment. I'm not a runner in the slightest.

But the reason for me trekking along a course for 13.1 miles was much bigger than my will to "be a runner." I spent the past 6 months, alongside a group of many others fighting against human trafficking-- an issue that is extremely prevalent in our country and especially in my city. As a woman with a passion for fighting for such causes, I was ready to lace up my shoes and take on this race.

But my love for this cause did not stop me from being nervous. Frankly, I was so nervous that I'm not quite sure how I kept my lunch down the day before. It's really fine.

But here I am. On the other side of more than likely one of the biggest challenges I've ever faced. For seasoned runners, this is nothing. For me, there was much to learn and gain.

1. I will never ever sleep before a race

Seriously. I went to bed around 9:00 p.m., knowing that my alarm would ring at 3:00 a.m. But every time my eyes began to get heavy, I would jolt awake, ridden with anxiety and nerves. Eventually I gave up and spent the night watching old episodes of Parks and Recreation.

2. Carb-loading is real and is probably the best thing that's ever happened to me.

I've talked about why Carb-loading was my actual favorite part of training. But I now see why people do it. So. Much. Energy.

3. That energy burst at the start line is a thing

I'm glad I was warned of this prior to taking my mark. The crowd, the music, the cheering: all means for making you want to sprint your little heart out. The problem is that this adrenaline only lasts for maybe a mile, and then you're tired and fat again. While I might have done a bit better at pacing myself than I would have imagined, this was still a very hard lesson learned.

4. The tunnel back into the US is the actual worst

We ran an international half, which means we started in Detroit, crossed the bridge into Canada, ran through part of Canada, and then returned to Detroit through the "tunnel." If you're unfamiliar with the area, or the race in general, just know that the tunnel was quite literally the tube of death. Two miles of hot, sweaty people, crammed into one, air-less area. Some of us were ready to pass out upon leaving it. Others (me) were so irritated that we pouted for a mile and a half afterward. It's fine.

5. Canada is much 'nicer' than the US

Again, because this was an international half, I got to run through Canada. And as someone that has never seen/been to Canada, I was impressed by how different the 'vibe' was there. It was much quieter and the people far nicer than in the U.S. 5/5 Would Recommend.

6. Mile 10 is a game changer

My wall. My downfall. RIP legs forever. Send help.

7. Chafing.

In places I didn't even know existed on my body. It is real. It is not fun.

8. Post-Race Eating is a real problem

I'm hungry literally all the time. All I want is cheeseburgers and chocolate cake. And I'm not even running to justify it. I'M A MESS.

9. There is nothing more satisfying than crossing the finish line

In the pouring rain. Tired, sore, reaching, and fighting. Knowing you're not a runner and probably never will be. But that's okay, because right at that very second, despite the tears and despite the trial, you are a finisher. You ran for a reason. You put in every ounce of your existence to fight for a cause that is so necessary to our world. And for just a moment, you know that, through Christ, you are unstoppable.

On a more seriously note, I'm beyond elated that I was provided with this opportunity. I have been so immensely blessed to have had the chance to fundraise, train, grow, and learn with some of the most beautiful people I have ever known.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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