My First Half Marathon

Wow, I just realized how long it’s been since I posted here!  So much has happened in the last few years.  Today, I’m here to tell you about my latest accomplishment.

I started running in 2011 when I needed to find a way to get Roxie enough exercise in a shorter time frame.  I had NEVER run before.  Even in school when everyone else was running the mile in P.E., I was in what I called “remedial” P.E. for people with injuries.  I had exercise induced asthma.  Which I carried with me my whole life.  I thought that I could never run because of it.  Turns out, I was just out of shape for the last 30+ years.

In 2011, I made the decision to run a 5k (3.1 miles) and I stared training using a Couch to 5k app on my phone.  It started out really slow, like run for 20 seconds, walk to 2 minutes.  I built up so that I could run my first 5k, 2011 Komen Race for the Cure.  After that, I did a myriad of 5k races with Roxie.  I even did some running while on camping vacations with the dive club.

I finished in 52:33 which is an average pace of 16:46 per mile.

In 2015, while camping and running with my good friend Corinne, we ran several times that weekend almost 4 miles at a time. I thought to myself, “well shoot, if I’m running almost 4 miles without dying, I could kick it up and run a 10k (6.2 miles)”!  So I made the decision and signed up for my first 10k, the Sacramento Zoo Zoom on April 19, 2015.

I finished in 1:20:47 which is an average pace of 12:47 per mile


Not long after that, while at work, my co-worker Joyce asked me when I was going to sign up for a half marathon.  I laughed at her.  I said I could never do that.  She kept asking.  I said that when I’m to the point that I’m running a 10k easily, then I would consider a half marathon.  In September 2016, my new running friend Stella and I ran the San Francisco Giants 10k.  Not too long afterwards, she asked me to run a half marathon (13.1 miles) in Tahoe in June 2017.  I said yes!  Then I said, what the heck did I just do?  My first half marathon, and at elevation?  Am I crazy????  Umm, yes.  I wanted my first half marathon to be special.  Mama always said your first time should be special :).  I signed up for training with SacFit.  I started training in January 2017, 4 days a week for 16 weeks.  Not long after training began, did I learn about the half marathon sponsored by this running group, the Parkway Half Marathon.  Initially, I wasn’t interested in doing this race as the course is the same course I run ALL THE TIME on the bike trail by my house, what’s special about that? Then I learned about the medal…. (after a while, doing races is all about the medal).  The medal would be personalized.  It would have MY NAME ON IT!  How special is that?!  Plus, since I was doing the SacFit training, the cost to do the race was discounted. So I signed up for the Parkway Half Marathon April 29, 2017.

Training was challenging but I was committed.  If I missed a day, I made it up the following day, unless I was sick.  Then, in week 13 on our longest run of 12.5 miles, I started to feel pain in my ankle around mile 8.  By mile 10 I was in pain I had to stop running.  I still had 2.5 miles to get back to the start and my car.  It was going to be a long, painful walk.  The whole time, I’m thinking no, praying that this was nothing.  One of my coaches looped back to find me and encouraged me to keep going, slowly and small steps. It actually was ok, I made it back to the park, did my stretching and cool down and felt OK. By the time I got home, and started to stiffen up, I could barely walk.  Based on self diagnosis (I looked on the internet), I had peroneal tendonitis  I took the next week off of running to let it heal.  It wasn’t healing.  The second week, I tried to see an Ortho doctor, but couldn’t get in to see him.  He sent me to a general practitioner and ordered xrays.  They came back negative (I could have told him that).  I kept trying in the third week to get into Ortho.  No Luck.  So I kept icing, stretching, taping, taking Ibuprophen, topical anti-inflammatory and resting.  That third week, the week before the race, it was starting to feel better so I ran with the training group on Saturday. It was sore but not painful. I cut the mileage short so to not overdue it.  I ran again the following Monday, still ok.  I took the rest of the week off.  As the week went on, it was feeling better and better so that by Thursday before the race, I had no pain while walking and no limp.  YAY!!

Saturday morning, I felt good.  No pain, but I was worried that after not doing hardly any running for three weeks, I would tire out fast.  My friend Darcy was kind enough to wake up at the crack of dawn to pick me up and drive me to the race starting line at William B. Pond Park in Carmichael.  I met up with my Moms Run this Town/She Runs this Town running group for our standard group photo then headed to the SacFit tent to see my training peeps.  I met Crystal, and she was going to be running my pace so we decided to run together.  I felt really good.  I was pain free and excited.  Prior to the start, we were serenaded by a bagpipe band that marched down the starting line, they were amazing. Then the National Anthem and then we were off!!!  I started my usual GO song of Rocky’s Eye of the Tiger.

Yep, Eye of the Tiger right there!

I felt really good. I had no muscle tightness in my calves, which was typical in previous training runs and usually took a couple of miles to go away.  I mean I felt REALLY GOOD!  We started out faster than our normal pace but settled in after a couple of miles.  I had recently discovered a new running app on my phone that posts to Facebook when I’ve started a run and actually reads all the comments to me while I’m running.  It was so amazing to hear everyone’s encouragement along the way.  At about mile 3.75, Darcy was there to watch me run by and cheer me on.  At the half way point, Tracy was there with her “GO RENEE” sign to give me the extra encouragement to keep going.  While still hearing everyone’s comments the whole way, I also got encouragement from the podcast that I listen to, the Mark & Lynda Podcast.  I had written to them to tell them that I would be listening during my run and they read my email and cheered me on three times during my run (miles 2.5, 6 and 10).  You can’t know how much it means to me to have my friends and family there and virtually there to cheer me on.  While I was feeling good during the first half, I knew that it was going to get hard the second half.

Me & Crystal at about mile 2. All smiles!

By mile 10, Crystal and I started to “feel the burn”.  My knees and hips started to ache.  This was a new kind of ache that I hadn’t felt in previous runs.  My feet started to get sore and we were looking forward to the end of our five minute run intervals and the start of our one minute walks.  Then we started to dread the runs again.  The little hills were hard, but going DOWN this hills was harder on my joints.  We kept encouraging each other to keep going and that we could do this.

At almost mile 12 I saw a familiar face coming toward me.  It was Steve from the dive club heading toward me and was going to run the last mile in with me.  I was so happy to see him and it really boosted my energy.  He took some video of me and Crystal and ran beside us giving us encouragement.  He was so good, the ladies running behind us ran by and thanked him for encouraging THEM too!

The staple of this course is the bridge crossing the American River and drops into William Pond Park to the finish line.  But on the way back, at mile 13, there is long steady hill up to and on the bridge.  When you’re tired and sore, that hill sucks!  At the base of the hill, I unplugged my headphones and turned on my power song, Rocky’s Gonna Fly Now (the theme) and Crystal and I pushed through up that hill. With Steve and Crystal both giving words of encouragement to keep going, I could finally see the finish line.  But first, I saw Jamie with her sign yelling for me as we ran by her heading toward the finish.  Crystal and I, as a final push picked up the pace to finish strong.  My lungs were on fire and I was trying to take deep breaths.  At this point, I forgot about my pain and just ran saying to myself, “I can do this.  I am doing this.  I did this”.  I came across the finish line strong and with my arms in the air.  I saw Darcy at the finish and as I reached her and hugged her, I cried.  When Jamie finally caught up to us, I hugged her and cried some more as she told me how proud she was of me.  I had done it.  I really did it.  I did something I never thought I could do.  I committed to it, trained hard for it, I gave up three nights a week and every Saturday morning for this.  I pushed through the pain for this.  I did it. I’ve successfully removed “I can’t” from my vocabulary.

I finished at 3:03:52 which is an average of 14:03 per mile.


How do I feel today?  Mentally, I feel GREAT!  Physically, I’m SO SORE!  Everything from my waist down hurts and I’m walking like an 80 year old lady.  But I don’t think it’s from running 13.1 miles. I think its from NOT running for the last 3 weeks.  Before I injured myself, I was running long distances (9, 11 & 12.5 miles) in training with minimal soreness.  I have a feeling this will last a few days… I’m not looking forward to my recovery run on Monday!

People keep asking why I like to run. I keep saying that I never said I liked it.  So why do I do it?  What keeps me going?  I won’t lie, it’s a good way to lose weight.  It’s also a good way to keep Roxie healthy and strong.  While most of the time, it’s very difficult to get the motivation to get dressed and get out the door instead of putting on my PJ’s and catching up on my DVR.  But when I do, I feel so much better afterwards.  It makes me feel accomplished, healthier and it helps clear my mind, especially through those difficult days in my personal life.  It also helps me sleep better.  Will I keep going?  Yes. I will keep running.  Will I do a full Marathon next?  Let’s not get a head of ourselves.  Let’s just get through the Rock Tahoe Half Marathon in June and see what happens from there.

Thank you again to all of my friends and family who supported me during my journey.  Thanks to my MRTT/SRTT Sole Sisters for your advice, and encouragement even though I wasn’t able to train with YOU for this race.  And thanks to SacFit who put together a great training program that guided me safely through preparing for 13.1 miles.

Click below for a video of photos and video taken by me, Darcy, Tracy, Steve and Jamie. The video is 4:00 long and includes music.

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