My First Half Marathon!

I suppose this all started with me just needing a good run to clear my head, even if only temporarily.

I got out and the weather was amazing: 15°C and sunny – not your typical weather for November in Ottawa! So I decided to go off on a little adventure, and headed to the Prescott-Russell Trail. Usually I just run a short part of it and then continue on through the neighbourhood. But this time I decided to stay and do my whole run on the trail. It was nice and quiet, and my legs felt good. Realizing I could certainly benefit from a little pick-me-up, I decided to try again for that 21.1km goal!

I had to laugh at how ill-prepared I had been for this run once I got into it. I mean, it was only 2km in that my bluetooth headphones died, leaving me with nothing but silence and the company of my own thoughts for the duration of my run. I didn’t think to bring gels or sustenance of any sort, but had thankfully eaten a piece of toast with peanut butter before heading out!

I wasted time taking selfies, and even stopped to catch a frog!

Then I used my precious limited amount of water to wash my hands afterwards! Not preparing for a half marathon meant that I only had my two little bottles on me instead of a full hydration pack. So I was kicking myself when I ran out of water with over 6km of running left to go. But by then I was determined this was going to be the day! I needed this! I had to complete this run!

I managed to make a good run of it until about 16km, at which point I realized that I still had a whole 5k ahead of me – and it wasn’t that long ago that 5ks used to be my entire run! I started to feel my legs weaken as I hit uncharted running distances.

I debated quitting as I continued my run through the neighbourhood, close to home. I had been out of the house a long time, I was thirsty, lacking confidence, and feeling hot in my long sleeved shirt. I had every reason to give up, but sheer determination kept me going. I was going to finish 21.1 kilometres even if I had to walk the last 5! 😉

And it all paid off. What an amazing feeling it was to see that I had completed a half marathon all on my own! So proud! In disbelief! And so excited to share my story – You guys won’t believe what I did today!!!

I definitely have to dedicate this momentous run in memory of Chris. ❤

Thinking about it, I’m glad that I did my first half marathon on my own rather than in a race. It was a difficult challenge that I wasn’t too sure I could complete (as I had tried on my runs a couple of times before). Running on my own also meant that I could pace myself and take as many walking breaks as I needed without feeling any pressure to speed up.

That being said, today the Army Run opened up a special discounted registration for next year’s race and I did just sign up to do the half marathon – eeek!

So now I focus on working towards building up my strength, stamina, and endurance, and hopefully be ready for my first half marathon race 317 days from now! 😉


Everything is Intimidating!

As a new runner I think it’s important for me to mention more about how I’m dealing with this one particular recurring issue: the sense of intimidation about taking up running, living in a city where there are already so many established fast, amazing runners out there.

(I’ve come a long way from the girl who was terrified to write/eat/talk in public if there was a chance somebody might be watching me do it, but to this day performance anxiety is still one of my strongest fears to overcome.)

As it stands now, my training consists entirely of solo runs around my neighbourhood.

I don’t have a treadmill, nor a gym membership. I don’t even own a yoga mat. I don’t know anyone else who does run training either. So, it’s just me and the open roads.

I know that in order to improve my running times I need to increase my pace. And in order to do that I have to expand upon my training. I need to add in different workouts, and I also need to watch and learn from other runners.

I keep hearing about opportunities to train and improve my running skills as well, and I get all excited about it, but then without fail doubts begin to surface in the back of my mind about whether I should go for it just yet.

My biggest anxiety is due to the fact that I am a slow runner and I don’t want to hold people back. I don’t want to look as obviously out of shape as I clearly am, lol. And what happens if I get tired and can’t continue? What if I don’t understand/can’t follow the instructions? Etc.

The reason I am sharing all this is because I’m sure there are plenty of other new runners out there who are facing similar concerns. Especially if, like me, you have started out on this journey alone, without another runner by your side to help guide you and figure this out together. So I’m laying it all out here and now. Because from this point on I intend to move forward and actually face these insecurities in the hopes that it won’t be as bad as I’ve feared; making me stronger and faster for it! Ultimately I want to use my experiences to help others along the way too.

If you’ve been in this position before as a beginner runner, please feel free to share any advice or insights you might have! 🙂