Reflecting on my first half marathon

Standing at the corner of my corral, my body was already covered in a thin layer of sweat. Starting by sealing my pores with a thick layer of sunblock (yucky), I had dashed from the porta-potty line to a hotel restaurant bathroom across the street, and back to my corral all within 5 minutes of the start of the race. Tommy and Sunday were directly to my left on the other side of the corral gate. I think I kissed him "bye" maybe 5 times? They counted down to the start time for each corral in front of me… and then they shoved us out into the pack like a herd of cattle. "Off ya go!"


That is my word for this experience.

  • Sweet messages of encouragement from friends and family.
  • Completely losing it at mile 9.
  • Realizing how incredibly inexperienced I am.
  • Not being able to "get in the zone."
  • Starting too fast. No matter how hard I tried not to.
  • My body aching from head to toe by mile 8.
  • Realizing I was in the very last corral. (And not even getting our own starting line countdown.)
  • Hearing the cheerleaders cheering "Let's-go-walkers!!"

All of it.

Completely, undeniably humbling.

Here's the boldface truth: I was absolutely not prepared for this half marathon. I knew I started training too late in the game. But I figured… if I can pull off 10 miles in a training run, then I can finish a half marathon.

I did finish.

In fact, I totally reached all of my written goals. They were:

  1. Learn to love running.
  2. Get to a place where 3-5 miles is a comfortable regular run.
  3. Finish the race.
  4. Stay hydrated.
  5. Have fun.
  6. Don't get sunburnt.
  7. Continue on my journey of getting healthy.

All of those things happened. But, still, I left my pride on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach.

The half marathon was. so. hard.

Something new is brewing in me. In years past I would have left my pride and not thought about it again. I am a quitter. In fact - I did that in 2008 when I participated in my first sprint triathlon. I finished 4th from last and laughed about it. I mean… what was I really going to do about it? Get better? Stronger? Work harder? Pfft. Nope.

Well, that was Liz pre-baby. :)

The Liz now? I'm more pumped than ever. I will get better… I will grow stronger. I will do it again and improve my time. I will learn how to "get in the zone" no matter where I am or who is around me. I will learn what I need to eat during a run and how often to eat it. I will learn how to run with or without music, with or without company, with or without a baby jogging stroller.

Yes, I feel defeated. I feel humbled. I feel worn out. But I am going to pick myself back up and work harder and longer this time.

I've already set my next goal: another half marathon on November 17th. Coming right up.

This isn't my race report... that'll come. This is mostly my race emotional check. Stay tuned for a less emotional report of how it really went down.

(A mini report for those who really want to know: With the humidity the air temp "felt like" 104 degrees, the sun was behind clouds for most of the race (I might have had a heat stroke had it not been) and I finished with a time of 3:28. Also, I walked a lot more than I ever planned or expected I would.)

Liz Cook

Liz Cook is a wedding, birth, and motherhood photographer based in Central Virginia. Her intuition and creative perspective allow her to connect both professionally and personally with her subjects, and thus, her portfolio is saturated with authentic emotion. Whether she's sharing her story with fellow entrepreneurs or enjoying quality time with her husband and two daughters, Liz is both present and passionate about capturing and celebrating life. Her work has been featured by O "Oprah" Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Glitter Guide, Essence Magazine, domino, Rue Magazine, among others.