My First Half Marathon Part 1: Pre-Race Stress

If you’ve been following along here you’re probably aware that the half marathon I’d been training for, my first, was fast approaching. Maybe you noticed that it’s been more than eight days since my T-8 Days training post and I’m sure you’re wondering how it went.I bet you want to hear about every excruciating amazing mile…okay, you probably don’t want that level of detail but here goes.

T-1 Day to Race Time
I had wanted to spend the day before the race resting, maybe going for a light jog, eating lots of protein, and getting myself mentally and physically prepared for the big day. I had it all planned out in my head; my kids even had the day off school so I didn’t have to get up early, it was going to be perfect, calm, and relaxing. But this is reality so of course the day didn’t go like that. I had parent teacher conferences in the late morning then spent the rest of the day rushing around trying to get kids to various friend’s birthday parties and doing some last minute furniture moving. Yes, I moved furniture the day before running a half marathon. By the end of the day my back was saying maybe that wasn’t the best idea. Hmm.
Note for next time: No heavy lifting the day before a big race.
My last stop for the day was dropping my daughter off for a sleepover with a good friend, a family we’ve known for quite a while now. I came in and hung out with the parents for a bit. They’re pretty fun people, the type I wish were my neighbors so we could socialize regularly. Sadly they live over a half hour away. Well, their neighbors came over and it came up that I was running a half marathon in the morning. The neighbor guy asked if I use a GPS watch & I told him I did not. I don’t have one, just my crappy phone that frequently turns the running app off part way through my run. It sucks! Everyone knows that half the fun of distance running is tracking your mileage stats. Then the guy asked if I was coming back there the next day which of course I was. And…
…he offered to lend me his Garmin for the race.
My eyes lit up like a kid’s on Christmas morning. It was a moment of pure running nerd happiness.
Not only was I about to join the ranks of the real runners, I was going to get a fun toy to play with while I did it, one that would show me my pace and track my mile splits and give me all sorts of delightful statistical feedback. YAY!
My pre-race excitement escalated at least 2.5 levels.

Aaand We’re Off to the Races!
The morning of the race was cold, dark (I had to leave my house by 6:30am), and rainy. Blerg!
I layered appropriately, over packed ( a nervous habit…but who knows, maybe I would need an entire change of clothes and an extra pair of shoes), gave my little sister appropriate layers to wear (she was typically unprepared) and we hit the road with coffee, water, and whole grain toaster waffles topped with peanut butter and honey (Breakfast of champions right there, folks.) in hand. Both my sister and I were excited but nervous.
My oldest son’s last high school cross country meet of the season was also that morning about ten minutes from where my sister and I were running. I had made arrangements for him to ride up with a teammate then I’d meet him at his race after mine. He was running at noon, our race started at nine so the timing was perfect.
About a half hour into the drive I mentioned this to my sister(pretty sure this wasn’t the first time I had either) she then informed me that she had to be at work at 3pm….three hours from where we were running.
Seriously?!? You tell me you have to rush back after we run when we’re on our way TO the race?
Ugh! Twenty year olds!
Lucky for her our dad was willing to drive up and bring her a car so she could leave straight from the race and get to work on time. He had wanted to catch one of my son’s races anyhow and he and our mom decided they’d go visit another sister who lives up near there. Crisis averted (after a few minutes of frantic phone calls and me valiantly holding back the many snappy remarks about communication and planning ahead that desperately wanted to spew forth) and, as a side bonus, we now had a spectator.
The rest of the drive to the race site went without incident. Eventually it got light out but the sun was definitely not shining. It rained on and off. We were really hoping it’s be off by the time we got there.

At the Starting Line
We got to the race site about twenty-five minutes before start time which was good because it took us about ten minutes to figure out where parking and packet pick-up was. There were no signs indicating that there would even be a running event held there that day. Nothing!
Eventually we found two white tents and a finishing coral just behind a hotel parking lot. I knew this was a smaller race but I didn’t anticipate it being this small.
Around this time I got a text from my son saying his ride wasn’t there yet. They had told me the day before that they’d be there around 8:15 to pick him up. My boy is not a morning person so there was some concern that he wouldn’t be up and ready when his teammate’s family got there. As a precaution I woke him up before we left so he could get ready to go then try to go back to sleep on the couch until eight. I told him not to worry, they were probably just running late.
My sister and I got our shirts and numbers, used the restrooms one last time, donned our hats and gloves and joined the fifty or so other runners standing around in the cold.
I’m not sure if most runners warm up before the start of a thirteen mile run but I figured we’d have enough time running to get warm.
Did I mention it was cold out? Not winter in Michigan cold but definitely colder than we’re used to and damp and drizzly. It was a very cloudy forty-three degrees as we gathered at the start line at 9am for the pre-race announcements and instructions.
My phone buzzed and I looked down to see another text from my son saying his ride still wasn’t there yet. I was starting to worry that something had gone wrong so I called the mom…no answer. Umm…huh.
This was not good. What if my son didn’t get picked up and missed his last meet? Ugh. I’m two hours away, about to run thirteen point one miles and my son might miss his season finale meet.
Crap. Crap!
As the race director was saying we’d be starting in just under five minutes I was frantically calling my dad. I left a panicked voicemail asking him to call my son’s phone before he passed my house because he might need a ride. I’m not sure if I was even coherent at this point but just had to hope he understood what I was asking. Then I texted my son and gave him the mom’s number and tell him to answer if his grandpa called. Hopefully someone would show up to get him. Imagine the parental guilt I’d have if he missed his last race of the season because I was busy with my own race.
I’m not sure I’d be able to live that one down.
And then they were calling runners to the line and the time was now.


About nights7

A metamorphosis in progress...always.

5 thoughts on “My First Half Marathon Part 1: Pre-Race Stress

  1. Kristin says:

    Ohhhh , how exciting!! I can’t wait to read more about your experience!!! You rock!!! xoxo


  2. sara0611 says:

    it was definitely a cold morning for it! can’t wait to hear more about your awesome accomplishment.


  3. More! I’ve been waiting *all week!*


  4. […] back to the story of my first half marathon this past Saturday and my apologies for taking so long to get back to it. I meant to finish up and […]


  5. […] At least I had the excuse to say “If you move I will stab you!” to my frustrating little sister (the same one I ran the half marathon with). […]


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