My First Half-Marathon Experience and Lessons Learned

My First Half-Marathon Experience and Lessons Learned
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Thanks to the new Precor and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series partnership, several Precor team members and I were given the awesome opportunity to partake in the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon that took place on Saturday, June 21.

Before the race

Having never run a half — and definitely not a full — marathon before, I figured I’d seize the Rock ‘n’ Roll opportunity and run with it (literally), because, why not? It sounded like a blast, and I knew my body would be capable of at least walking 13.1 miles, if the whole running thing didn’t pan out along the course. Ultimately, I wanted to prove to myself that I was up to the challenge, and could succeed at the half-marathon.

Running has been a sport and hobby that I’ve enjoyed casually in the past, but nothing that I was very serious about until more recent months (I can thank working here at Precor for that, where all employees truly embody and exude the company creed). I would consider myself an intermediate runner who tries to get 4 to 5 runs in per week, between 3 to 6 miles each time. However, due to my spontaneous signing up only two weeks in advance, I had very little dedicated half-marathon training outside of my normal runs.

With that all being said, leading up to the marathon, I was a bit apprehensive and nervous. I had spent a lot of time researching proper pre- and post-marathon tips, reading peoples’ stories about their hardcore marathon training routines, and trying to block out peoples’ accounts of marathon injuries and pain.

Race day

Waking up on race day at 5 a.m. was a challenge in itself. Luckily, I live near the Space Needle, so getting downtown wasn’t an issue. Before the race, I got together with a few of my co-workers who were also running, and we shared some motivational words to pump each other up.

RnRSEA Pre-Race

When 7:45 a.m. rolled around and my corral was finally up at the start line, I put my uneasy feelings aside and substituted them with an optimistic, ready-to-conquer mindset. I started my running playlist and my MapMyRun GPS tracking, and told myself to just have fun.

The first 8 miles of the marathon went incredibly well – it was the perfect temperature outside, with no rain or clouds in site (which can be rare in Seattle). I had a decent pace of about 10 minutes per mile, which was pretty on-par with my normal running times, and I was enjoying getting to run on the empty Seattle streets and highways with other happy runners.

Making it 8 miles non-stop was a pretty big deal, as that was the furthest I had ever run without stopping. I was feeling pretty awesome at that point (the so-called “runner’s high” was kicking in), and I wasn’t experiencing any pain or aches in my body. Feeding off of everyone else’s uplifting energy, I was determined to push myself to keep going. I wouldn’t stop until I absolutely needed to.

All in all, I ended up walking 3 times in the last 5 miles, but to be fair, each time was only for about a minute as I caught my breath and refueled with my Vanilla Bean GU. The last stretch of the race was so beautiful, running along the Alaskan Way Viaduct, with prime views of the Puget Sound and Seattle’s downtown. The music from local bands also helped to keep me invigorated.

By mile 13, I was pretty out of breath, my shins and right ankle were in a bit of pain, and I was thirsty and ready to power through and finish the marathon. That last .1 mile was seemingly longer than I thought it’d be, but I found it very motivating to watch other runners – who were likely in the same weakened state like myself – sprint to the finish line, so I followed suit.

Katie's Marathon Selfie

I ended up finishing the half-marathon in 2:22, and I must say, it was an all-around great time! Not only did I surprise myself by running non-stop for a longer time than any of my previous runs, but I also finished the marathon much faster than anticipated. Although I was pretty tired after the event, I thoroughly enjoyed it and am now excited for running my next half-marathon. Any suggestions on which one I should do?

Final thoughts

Here are just a few things I plan on keeping in mind for my next race to make it an even better experience:

  • Get some real training in, including strength training, so I can beat my time and set a PR
  • Do lots of stretches before and after the race
  • Get ample amounts of sleep and rest before and after the race
  • Drink copious amounts of chocolate milk following the race (for recovery purposes, of course)

I leave you with these final words: go run a marathon. Or half-marathon. Heck, even a 5K is awesome. I am certain that, in the end, you’ll feel proud and accomplished, and you won’t regret it.

Katie Dobbs is the Social Media and Writing Intern at Precor. Originally from Montana, she enjoys nature, healthy food, traveling, and sports.

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About the author

Katie Dobbs Precor

Katie grew up under the Big Sky of Montana, but she has since moved to the beautiful city of Seattle. She is a self-proclaimed food connoisseur who loves playing in the great outdoors, travelling, and learning new things.

View all articles by Katie Dobbs