Half Marathon Recap & What’s Next

Hi friend!  I hope you are doing amazing and enjoying your summer!  I mentioned yesterday that my son is doing a camp for 3 weeks, so that’s put us back into a routine, which I’m not complaining about.  It helps with my sanity!

And I’m still getting in those workouts, although sometimes they’re the ‘at home’ kind with my daughter running around in the background.  She’s good company:)

In early April, I started walking, then jogging for exercise and was enjoying it so much that, within a few weeks, I challenged myself to run a half marathon.

I’m very proud to say that I accomplished my goal and today, I’m going to share how I trained, what I learned, and what my next fitness adventure will be!

Love and Sports Sports Bra, Jacket, leggings

Jacket (small) • Sports Bra (medium) • Leggings (xs)

I’m excited to partner with Walmart today.   They have a new, super fun activewear line called Love & Sports, which fits perfectly with this theme of this post!

The clothes are bright and energetic, I mean look at those vibrant colors!

They’re meant to be worn with confidence for whatever sport you’re participating in.

I normally opt for black in my workout shorts and leggings for the simple reason that they go with every color top. But the bold pink, yellow, and blue hues in the  Love & Sports collection has me rethinking my strategy.

How fun are these colorblock leggings with the Love & Sports logo down the side.  They pair perfectly with the sports bra and the jacket is the perfect lightweight layer.

Love and Sports Sweatshirt, Leggings

Sweatshirt (small) • Leggings (xs)

This loungey sweatshirt is so cute with the rainbow logo letters.  I sized up to a small so that I could wear it off the shoulder.

HOW I GOT STARTED RUNNING

It all started when my boyfriend Brian and I set out for a walk on a Saturday morning in early April.  We didn’t have a plan, just wanted to get some fresh air and move our bodies.  As we got going and went pretty far from my house, I suggested we push ourselves to go 5 miles.  He was game, so we kept going.

Turns out, 5 miles is a LONG walk!  It drizzled on us but we just kept pace (he can’t run due to 4 previous back surgeries) so we just kept strolling.

Then, we had to walk the 5 miles home.

About 2 hours and 40 minutes later, we finally made it back to my house.  I don’t think I’ve ever walked 10 miles straight in my life.  But, it felt great!

And it made me wonder what else I could do.

The next day, this time by myself, I walked out the door again.  I wanted to see if I could walk and jog a little for 10 miles.  And I did!  And then I ran the next day and the next.

In the beginning, my feet got several blisters and eventually those blistered areas turned into calluses.  Not pretty!  But what’s interesting is that I came to appreciate that hardened skin as protection and something I ‘earned’ – I worked hard for that!

After about 3 weeks of running a few times a week and getting up to 7 miles, I decided I wanted to go for a half marathon – 13.1 miles.

The crazy thing is that I’m no runner.  In fact, I’m pretty bad at it.  I’m terribly slow, get winded really easily and don’t know about proper form.

When I get interested in something, I try to learn as much as I can about it.

I started researching, watching YouTube videos and heard about Zone 2 training.  Think of that as going long and slow in an effort to increase your aerobic capacity.  It can get kind of complicated to figure out your Zone 2 heart rate mathematically, but I did my best and realized I needed to keep my heart rate below 142 beats per minute.

That is so slow for me, basically a 12 minute mile.  If I push harder than that, I find my heart rate starts to soar. Keep in mind, it’s also super hot in Houston and all my runs were done outside.

MY HALF MARATHON TRAINING

Several people recommended Hal Higdon’s half marathon training plan, so I bought the book and also printed a schedule.  I jumped in about midway through and by the time I got the training schedule, I realized I was supposed to run a 10K (6.2 miles) in two weeks!

I hopped online and found a race about an hour from me.  I’ve only done one 5K race in my life and that was in my 20s, so over 20 years ago!

The morning of the race was crazy.  When I left the house around 6 am, it was pitch black outside and thunder storming.  I drove almost an hour in the pouring rain, only to realize I had driven to the WRONG PLACE!

OMG!  I couldn’t believe it.  Now, I was worried I wouldn’t’ be able to get the correct location in time for the race to start.  I was panicking so bad and also wondering if they would even still have the race because of the weather.

But, when I got there, I saw the race was definitely on.  There were hundreds of people all lined up, ready to start.  I had just enough time to use the bathroom, get my bib, and join the others waiting at the starting line.

The energy was amazing and when the horn sounded signaling for us to take off, I actually started crying happy tears.  I had driven there by myself and was running in my very first race among all these wonderful people.  I couldn’t believe I was doing it!

It was awesome!  I kept a steady pace and after a couple miles, the rain stopped.  My goal was to run the entire race without stopping to walk.  With all the adrenaline of the race, I was running faster that I’m used to and by mile 5, I was really ready to see that finish line.

I kept running the whole way and right as I was about to finish, the kids race was starting and I got an extra burst of energy watching all those young people taking off on their race.  It was such a cool thing to witness.

When I finished, I checked my time and I ran the 10k in 1 hour and 5 minutes – a 10:38 mile pace.

7 WEEKS TO HALF MARATHON

After about three weeks of consistent running, I decided to go for the half marathon.  That’s when I found the training plan and I loosely followed it.  They say the total amount of miles per week is more important than just running the long runs.

I was aiming for about 3 runs a week and did a 7, 8, and 9 mile run before going for the 13.1.

I tracked all my workouts and running from the time Brian and I did that long walk on April 16 to the date of my half marathon, June 3.

May 2022 half marathon training plan

June 2022 half marathon training plan

MY HALF MARATHON

I was looking for a half marathon race in Houston, but since it was getting into summer, there wasn’t one to join until July 30.

I knew I’d be ready before then and I was also a little afraid of running in the July heat.  If you know anything about Houston, it’s about 100 degrees and 100% humidity that time of year.

So, I decided I would just run a half marathon distance by myself.  My own private half marathon race if you will.

I planned to run that distance on June 12, two weeks after our trip to Minnesota.  Because we were out of town over the weekend, I missed my 9 mile run, but I made it up on the following Monday.

I was supposed to run 5 miles the next Wednesday and Friday and then do a long 10 mile run on Sunday.  That next week was supposed to be the half marathon.

But, when I went for my 5 mile run on Friday, June 3, about 2 miles in I decided to just go for it!

Today was the day I’d run a half marathon.

Although my legs were pretty sore from my previous day’s weight training, the morning weather felt cooler and there seemed to be more shade where I was running.

So I committed!  I knew I had run 9 miles before, so I just had to go 4.1 miles further.  That’s only one more loop around the 3-mile trail where I was running, plus one more mile.

Well, it wasn’t so easy.

By the time I got to mile 7, I knew it was going to be a challenge to finish.  Over 5 miles to go. Dang.

I ended up stopping to walk and share on my Instagram Stories what I was doing.  I knew that by stating my intention to someone, it would hold me accountable.

At mile 8.8, I’d been going for 1 hour and 53 minutes and I was thinking, “Can I finish??”

Mile 11 – OMG, I STILL HAVE 2 MILES TO GO!  Plus that pesky .1  :/ (2 hours and 22 minutes)

Well, I have to finish now, I have to get back to my car!

Just Keep Moving.

I was sooooo ready to be done, so I tried running faster to get it over with quicker, but that just got me winded, so I’d have to walk again.

I realized I just needed to stay slow and steady to finish and that’s what I did.

I jogged slowly until I had gone a total of 13.1 miles!

It took FOREVER, especially those last 3 miles, but I did it.

Half marathon recap

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I was soooo proud of myself when I finished!

There was no one there to cheer me on, no crowd to welcome me across a finish line, but I proved to myself that I could go that distance, even if I had to walk a bit.

My legs were toast the next two days and I also had a chafed left leg where my shorts were rubbing my inner thigh.  But, overall, I didn’t feel too bad!

WHAT I LEARNED

One thing I like about running is that it’s both physical and mental.  It’s a physical challenge to your body, heart and lungs, but it also requires a mental toughness to keep going when you want to stop.

It’s never the actual run that I like, but the feeling I have after, knowing I’ve done something hard and good for my health.

In the months before I started running, I was starting to get discouraged about my age.  I’m 47, which isn’t old, but it’s a good 20 years from 27!  When I took James to the baseball games in Minneapolis, I’m thinking I could be most of the ball players’ mom!

I had my daughter at 41, so I’m very aware of the age difference and that when she’s my age, I’ll be 81. Gah!

But then I did this hard thing.  Challenged myself beyond what I thought I was capable of.

And it wasn’t even the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Love and Sports Sweatshirt, Leggings

SweatshirtLeggings

There’s a study that revealed that with each decade of our lives, we actually get happier.  That’s contrary to popular belief, but most people said that they’re happier in their 40’s than in their 30’s, happier in their 50’s than in their 40’s and so on.

As long as they stay healthy and fit, their overall happiness increases every decade.

Love and Sports Tye Dye Swimsuit

Swimsuit

I want that to be me and when I look back at my life, so far it is.

For the next chapter of my life, I see more FUN!  More laughter, play, and confidence in who I am.

Love and Sports Tie Dye Swimsuit

Swimsuit

MY NEXT FITNESS CHALLENGE

Now that I got to experience the excitement and energy of that 10k, I want to run a half marathon in a real race.  One with other runners.  I’m not interested in competing with anyone, I just want to get better myself.

My goal will be to run the entire time without stopping, or at least improve my aerobic conditioning and speed.

I have SO much room for improvement and still much to learn.  I found a half marathon on October 30, and signed up for it! I’m super excited!

Love and Sports, Sports Bra, Jacket, Leggings

JacketSports BraLeggings

Aaannnndddd, the Houston Marathon is January 15, 2023.

Dare I say I’m interested in running a full marathon?

That distance – 26.2 miles- terrifies me so much that I barely want to say it out loud.

At my current slow 12 minute mile pace, it would take me over 5 HOURS to finish!

Although Houston is super hot and humid in the Summer, it’s actually really cold in January – so I’m also very nervous about that.

What do you think?  Should I go for it?!

Love and Sports, Sports Bra, Jacket, Leggings

JacketSports BraLeggings

Love and Sports, Sports Bra, Jacket, Leggings

JacketSports BraLeggings

Here’s to the next decade friend!

And I told you that Love & Sports line at Walmart is super cute! Look at all of this happy goodness below! The sweatshirt I was wearing above coordinates with a pair of joggers!

They also have swimwear and coverups, along with quality performance activewear.  And just like you expect from Walmart, everything is quite affordable and offered in sizes XS – XXXL.

Walmart Love & Sports

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Shop Love & Sports

If you’re reading via email, click here to see the shoppable images.

If you’ve done a full marathon, please consider sharing your experience in the comments!  I’d love to get your take on it.

Have a fantastic day friend!

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18 Comments

  1. Aileen
    June 16, 2022 / 4:30 am

    Well done, a half Marathon is hard especially with no one cheering you on!

    I have never ran a Marathon but I have walked 3 (in my bra at Midnight round the city of Edinburgh) and its an amazing achievement. My husband has ran the Loch Ness Marathon (Inverness, Scotland) twice and although he says never again, he still maintains its an excellent one to do. The day is actually brilliant as there is a 5K, a 10k and the Marathon all happening on the same day so it is a real family affair. If you ever want to take part in it and make a holiday to Scotland out of it, I will cheer you over the finishing line 🙂 Here is the link for this year to give you an idea of what I am talking about https://www.lochnessmarathon.com/

  2. Barbara
    June 16, 2022 / 5:48 am

    So inspiring! Congratulations! And you SHOULD be proud of yourself!! Happy running!

  3. Chelsea
    June 16, 2022 / 6:23 am

    I love the determination that you have. Its so inspiring! Congratulations on what you have accomplished so far, I know you will continue to hit your goals.

    Would you mind sharing suggestions for walking/running shoes?

  4. Megan
    June 16, 2022 / 6:27 am

    I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2016. Given that you are comfortable with following a training plan and you successfully completed a half, you should definitely go for it! The hardest part was just finding time for all the long runs (my longest was 22 miles) as a busy mom, but it’s totally doable. You’ll also need to figure out what works best for you nutrition-wise since you’ll need to fuel with something in that long distance. I like adding Tailwind to my water bottles. Can’t wait to hear what you decide to do!!!

  5. Bekah
    June 16, 2022 / 7:01 am

    Congrats Megan! Running is addictive (which is why they call the post feeling a runners high). Training for a full marathon vs a half is a whole different ball game. If you have a decent base getting half marathon ready is a 6-8 week time investment. A full marathon is close to 16-24 wks and when training runs hit 15+ miles it starts to feel a little more like a part time job. I have run one marathon and trained for another (got injured before it happened). Just know going in a full marathon requires a much larger time investment. I love the half marathon distance! Maybe try a Ragnar? It’s a relay that will have you running up to 21 miles but over three legs. If you have friends that like to win as well they are so much fun!

  6. Carolyn Stone
    June 16, 2022 / 8:29 am

    Congratulations – what an awesome accomplishment (especially in this Houston summer heat / humidity)! If you run the half marathon on Oct 30, and feel great, you will be where you need to be to run the Houston full in January. Maybe sign up for the full marathon, and if your training doesn’t go well, you can always drop down to the Houston Half (I think the cutoff to change is early December). Training for the Houston full is tough, but doing your long runs in Nov/Dec when the weather is so much more manageable will be a breeze compared to what you just did! As someone else said, the hardest part of marathon training is that last long run (usually a 20 miler), and it’s usually on Christmas weekend! I highly recommend joining a running group – those long runs get so hard, and running with others is such a help. There are several that start in the Memorial Park area, which sounds perfect for you. Good luck!

  7. June 16, 2022 / 8:32 am

    I have run the Houston race (full once, half over a dozen) and it is a GREAT race. If you loved the energy of the small race in Clear Lake (where I grew up BTW!) you will be blown away by a major race like Houston. About 30k people run, and there are supporters, bands, signs, music, the WHOLE way through the city. And seeing Houston that way is so special. I prefer half marathons, myself – they are a challenge, and I have to train for them, but don’t break my body, haha. It was SO much harder on my body to do a full, and that was back when I was 27!! Not sure I want to put myself through that again in my 40’s… But it is also something I am really glad I have done. It really proves you can do whatever you put your mind to!

  8. Julie
    June 16, 2022 / 8:44 am

    What running shoes do you like?
    What brand are the pink pair you have on in the photo?

  9. June 16, 2022 / 9:17 am

    Wow! This is such an accomplishment, especially in this Houston heat. You should definitely do the Houston Marathon. I’m signed up, it’ll be my first also. Trail Racing Over Texas has a half in December at Brazos Bend that’s tons of fun. I feel exactly the same as you about the runs, in the moment I’m counting down to when I’m finished but as soon as I’m done I feel amazing! Trail runs are fun though. I actually enjoy those so you might like them as well.

    Good luck in your next adventure!

  10. Cathy
    June 16, 2022 / 10:09 am

    Just wanted to say I appreciated the recap of your half-marathon adventure, and a big congratulations on doing it on your own! It is NOT easy to keep pushing yourself in those final miles, and you’re so right about the mental discipline that you need to make it happen. Training for a full marathon does feel like a part-time job as you get a month or two out from race date, but it’s a huge reward when you cross that finish line. You’ll know what’s best for you, and will make it a success.

  11. KJ
    June 16, 2022 / 10:27 am

    Having done both – I say definitely go for the marathon! It doesn’t matter how long it takes you – it’s still a huge accomplishment. One thing that surprised me about marathon training is that by the time you’re running 26.2, you’ve already made yourself SO proud. All those weekly runs that build longer and longer, finishing those gives you so much pride and courage. 26.2 just felt like the cherry on top. And I’m not sure if everyone will agree with me or not on this but the “pain” of distance running becomes relative at some point. For me, 13.1 was just as “painful” as 26.2 so besides the time you have to put in for training, the side effects are pretty similar! You can do it!

  12. EW
    June 16, 2022 / 12:37 pm

    I’ve run 6 marathons and about a dozen half marathons. Big races are awesome. The change of scenery and the crowd make a huge difference. For marathons I always use a 20+ week training program and it DOES start to feel like a part-time job. Definitely figure out some recovery strategies (e.g., foam rolling, acupuncture, yoga, massage) because that’s just as important as mastering the longer distance. Great work!!! Thanks for sharing with us!

  13. mimi
    June 16, 2022 / 1:01 pm

    Before I got injured, I had hoped to run a race at Disneyland. I would choose that location as I’m familiar with the area, air quality and similar weather. I also thought running onto the baseball field nearby was just too cool. The race happens early morning before the park opens. You can deck out your running gear in colors of a favorite princess or character. I would have worn a red sports bra with golden yellow leggings as a nod to that silly ‘ol bear. Not sure if they have them yet as Covid is still around. Just sharing this in case you haven’t heard of runDisney races. Congratulations on your half marathon!! You’re awesome!!

  14. Therese Elizabeth Filipowski
    June 16, 2022 / 5:57 pm

    Congratulations on your run. By the way, where did you get your Egg chair from. I’d like to have one on my apartment deck.

  15. June 16, 2022 / 6:04 pm

    Amazing job!!! As a marathon runner myself, I say go for it! Running a marathon will absolutely change your life. Way to go!!!

  16. Susie
    June 17, 2022 / 9:45 am

    Congratulations! How do you stay hydrated during your training runs?

  17. Juli
    June 19, 2022 / 8:09 pm

    My first 1/2 and full marathon was the Houston races and they are so fun! I’ve run several of both around the country since, but I always go back to Houston. As stated above, if you loved the energy of the 10K, you will LoVE the Houston race. I did all my training with a running specialty store, which I really enjoyed. You get a lot of tips from experienced runners and meet a ton of people which also gives you accountability. Next time, try body glide to avoid chaffing from your shorts and blisters. I’m a huge believer in “real” running socks (feeture’s are my personal favorite) to help avoid blisters. Training for a full is a beast but can be done! Another thought it to run your 10/30 half, and try for a PR for the Houston 1/2. Once you cross that finish line and know you can turn around and do it again, you should sign up for the 2024 full
    Marathon. Congrats on this achievement. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

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