the worst half marathon ever

Let’s call this post – the worst half marathon ever.

Because of me, not because of the actual race at all.  Actually, the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon is one of my favorite races.  It’s near and dear to my heart because it was my first half marathon I ever did (in 2007!) and, of course, it’s in my beloved hometown St. Louis.  It’s always a challenging course with lots of hills, but when properly trained, it’s a great race!  You get to see many parts of our city, run across bridges, see the Clydesdales at the brewery, Busch Stadium, and more.

Barbie and I on the Arch riverfront before the race began.

But you see, that’s where the problem lies.  I was not properly trained for this half marathon.  In fact, I wasn’t trained at all.  Not in the slightest.  Like so little training that I had trouble figuring out my race day outfit based on the weather and was frantically texting Barbie at 4:45 the morning of.  The extent of my training is laughable.  Some may even call it foolish.  Before this race, the last time I ran was four weeks prior.  It was two miles and that was tough.  So you can imagine how the race went.

So why in the world did I do it, you may be wondering?  Barbie.  (Ok, fine “Barbara,” but she’ll always be Barbie to me.  25 years later and I’m not changing what I call her.  Ever.)  Back in 2007, Barbie convinced me to do this very same race.  We were both away at college, and we decided we’d train separately and come back to St. Louis to run together.  Many years since then, we’ve completed this race together.  A couple of months ago while at brunch, she told me she signed up to run.  Sure, I thought, why not?  I’ll join ya!

Thinking the upcoming race would motivate me to get my butt in gear, I happily signed up.  I counted the weeks before, laughed to myself as I realized training would be challenging given my schedule and the weather, but figured I’d be fine.  After all, how many half marathons have I completed?  Fifteen-ish, I believe.

Check out our giant smiles before we started the 13.1!

I kept telling myself that I had done these races a million times, and I’d be fine.  I knew I certainly wouldn’t be earning a PR or anything, but I figured my body would remember what to do and go into race mode.  I also knew I wasn’t going to worry about my time.  I didn’t even wear any sort of running device to track my mileage or time (GASP!).  My last half marathon (also with Barbie) was two years ago and my training consisted of six runs with my longest run being six miles.  We ended up running the entire distance with a final time of 2:12:39.

linking up with healthy diva

This year was a different story.  Right out of the gate I told Barbie I felt good.  She chuckled.  100 feet later, I said the same thing.  After mile three, I begged Barbie to walk for a minute.  Barbie is one of those runners that no matter how “good” of shape she is in, she can always run.  She was basically running circles around me and so kindly pledged to stay with me the whole race.  The first four miles were rough.  Miles four through seven were a little better, and I might even dare to say we found a groove.  Mile eight was hard and my knee started throbbing.  I wondered if I’d be able to finish, but vowed I would since I have never had to have a DNF (did not finish).  We took a few more walking breaks, and somehow mile 11 was upon us.  Mile 11 was also where the first MARATHONER passed us and went barreling ahead to the finish line.  That was amazing to see and provided a bit of inspiration.  This guy was doing double the distance as us and was killing it!

I think we ran the last two miles with no walking breaks.  Although that mile 13 felt like it would never end.  Barbie kept telling me we were almost there, and we could hear the music at the finish line.  Well let me tell you what.  That finish line music was loud because I’m pretty sure we heard it an entire mile away.  But low and behold, we crossed that finish line and earned that pretty hardware!

Every bone, every muscle, every single part of my body was in pain.  When I’m in shape, I’m not even sore after races at all.  I could barely walk and I know it’s just going to get worse.  But you know what?  I DID IT!  Would I do it again?  You betchya!  But you better believe I’ll train, at least somewhat, for it!  It was the hardest race I’ve ever run.  I don’t usually wear my race shirts, but tomorrow I sure am.  That is, if I can get out of bed and actually walk.

Yeah, we were still smiling at the end.  They may not have been quite as big, but they were there.  Then we were laughing in between grimacing at every step we took.  Ok, I’m off to put my feet up yet again, possibly for the remainder of the day.

Have you ever run a race you didn’t train for? How’d that go?

12 thoughts on “the worst half marathon ever

  1. Yesssss. You. Did. It!!!!!
    I was terrified of my full marathon this weekend – – how I would feel after – – but as I crossed that start line I told myself: You’ve got this. You did it. You started.

    • I don’t reaaaaally feel like I pulled it off since it was such a struggle, but I guess I did cross the finish line. haha

    • Thanks! That idea was definitely my motto! My students asked me what place I got. I tried to explain that there were 15,000 runners and “winning” was no where on my list of goals lol

  2. oh dear daughter, as your momma I am so completely proud and heartfelt that you and Barbie shared yet another milestone together. In the end it is always about the journey, not always the results, so remember the enjoyment of you and Barbie together.❤

  3. That’s crazy! You run 10k’s without training for them, not half-marathons! haha! Well, I once ran a full with not nearly enough training so that’s probably pretty close to the same thing so ….. guess I’m guilty too. 🙂 Glad you finished and still had energy to smile and laugh about it. 🙂

  4. im incredibly proud of you for sticking through and finishing it. i have been foolish and have signed up for a race last year..it completed it too but i know what you mean by knee, head, and every muscle throbbing. i havent ran or trained in a long time but races always excite me 🙂

  5. I ran the half marathon on Sunday too! Your recap basically matches my race experience, except I trained pretty well and was really confident going into the race. But don’t be fooled- Sunday was NOT my day. Knee pain so bad I worried about a DNF, passed by a marathoner at the end. And I had stomach trouble too and could barely get fuel or water down. Yikes. That finish line music was such a tease! But hey, we pushed through and earned that hardware! Congrats on your finish! Super impressive 🙂

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