This will be my last Baltimore related post, I promise! It was just such an incredible experience I wan't to make sure I document as much of it as possible. In case you missed any other Baltimore posts, you can head over to my Baltimore Half Marathon page. You should read my review of the expo, my pre-race report, and my race report!
I wanted to recap some of the thoughts I have been having since Saturday so I can look back and use them for motivation and reference for other races.
Running a half marathon is painful.
I encountered a lot of unexpected pain during my race, in my knee and in both of my feet. There were a few times when I wasn't sure if I would be able to finish because the pain was so bad. I have never experienced either of these pains before so I was extremely thrown off by them. I didn't know what was causing them or how to relieve the pain.
Running a half marathon is not as hard as I thought it would be.
However, I was surprised with how fresh my legs felt throughout the entire race. I felt absolutely fantastic, minus the pain in my feet and knees. I knew I was undertrained but I was really surprised by how well I was able to tackle those hills and maintain a solid pace. I am not saying running a half is easy, I am saying it was easier than I had anticipated.
Doing long runs is really important.
As I mentioned above I was really undertrained for this race. The longest run I had done before Saturday was only 7 miles. I noticed that all of my problems really started to develop after mile 8, which I'm sure is a reflection of my poor training. I am hoping that with more long runs in my training I will not encounter so many problems at the end of a race.
Walking is absolutely okay.
I cannot drink water while running. I choke and end up spilling it all over myself. I made sure to walk through every single aid station and I had planned on walking some of the massive hills on the course. I only ended up walking through aid stations because I didn't want to stop running so I would be done sooner, but walking really helped me both mentally and physically.
Staying as positive as possible will help tremendously.
I have blown many races (swimming) because I psyched myself out. I never believed in myself and consequently I performed poorly in the pool. I tried not to let anything get me down on Saturday and as a result I stayed happy, calm, and relaxed. I ran the race for myself and didn't let anything ruin my big day.
I am a capable athlete.
I have never had faith in myself and I have let this belief sabotage many important things for me. I reminded myself many times throughout the race that I deserved to be there and that I was capable of finishing. Going into the race I wasn't sure if I would finish because I was undertrained but I made it my number one goal just to finish. Whether that took walking, and 4 hours. I wanted to finish to prove to myself that I could do something that so many people said I couldn't not do.
I love being an athlete and surrounded by fellow athletes.
When I was swimming I was always surrounded by my team, which became like my family. Since going to school I have had a difficult time finding people who love running as much as I do and are actually friendly. Being surrounded by 25,000+ runners was such an amazing feeling and reminded me why I love running so much.