Have you thought about registering for your first half marathon, but not sure yet? Well, you’re not alone. Transitioning from a shorter race distance to a half marathon can be a little scary. What can a newbie expect after training and registering for this longer race? This article is a narrative of a first-time half marathoner and her experience the days leading up to that highly anticipated day.
The week of the half marathon, an email was sent out to inform the race participants of the packet pickup dates and locations. There were three different locations and times available. The newbie had only completed 5ks and 10ks so arriving to the packet pickup the day before the race and seeing the long line was an unexpected adventure. The line was probably almost half a mile long. No problem. The newbie happily joined the group and savored the excitement and conversations about being in a half marathon. As the newbie reached the packet pickup table and received her race items, the nearness of the race’s date really sunk in. Wait, how cool is this? The newbie’s first name if on my race bib! That is definitely a nice touch.
The morning of the half marathon was welcomed with both excitement and fear. On the drive over, there was time to have all kind of fun thoughts like, “I can’t wait to cross the finish line” to “what in the world have I got myself into?” After arriving and parking, the newbie soon began to feel more at ease. After hydrating, the newbie needed to find a port-a-potty. She noticed there were many, but only to have massive lines to each one. Oh well. The runners were just as excited to begin the race as any other distance race. Some were stretching, some talking and others taking photos to remember the morning. Soon it was time to walk up to the start line and wait for the national anthem and the starting gun to go off.
Five, four, three, two, one and the newbie was off! Well, not exactly. There must be 1,000 people in between the newbie and the start line. After what seems like an hour, the newbie is finally across the start line and on her way. Time to get a good pace and dig in. There are definitely similarities and differences between this half and a 5k or 10 k. That is a comforting thought as the newbie passes by each mile marker. It might be longer, but there are perks. More port-a-potties, Gatorade and oranges at the water stations is definitely a plus. Not to mention the live music along the route. There were bands and soloist in various spots playing there music as the runners went past. Some runners waved or clapped while others just kept their focus on the road ahead of them.
Before the newbie knew it, mile 13 was behind her and the finish line was right in front. When the banner above the finish line became visible, a sense of I can really do this! As the crowd cheered on both sides, the newbie crossed the finish line. She was tired and sore, but at the same time she felt very accomplished. A smile ran across her face, she couldn’t wait until she registered for her next half marathon. Yes, it was official. She had been bitten by the running bug!