Running My First NYRR Half-Marathon

And We’re Off

I am officially a half-marathoner. I chose the SHAPE half marathon as my first half marathon because I wanted to be among women who were putting themselves and their health first. This had significance to me because a lot of my fitness and weight goals are tied to my womanhood. My pregnancies and repeated C-sections have taken a toll on my body. At the race, I talked to a few of the other runners and it was incredible. Many of them were cancer survivors, starting to put their fitness first in their 40s, mothers like me, in their 80s, or beating the odds for various other reasons. In fact, not too long ago, it was a popular opinion that women were unfit to run and that their bodies were incompatible with the challenges of races. So in a way, we were all beating the odds.

I recently ran the virtual NYC Half to qualify for the 2024 NYC Half. I stopped when I wanted, and it was a totally different ball game than what I experienced during the SHAPE Half Marathon. Today’s race was on a real course and under the clock. I could tell from the start of the race that the pressure was on. If you’re not familiar with races, the place you start is called a corral. The corrals are based on your projected speed. The last corral is essentially the slowest and starts the race last. This is to ensure that there isn’t any crowding. I was in the last section (Section L) and felt like everyone was starting the race so quickly. Normally, I start my run very slowly and build up. I felt the pressure, and that may have hurt me in the long run. I wasn’t able to run long stretches without walking. This may have been because I was doing too much or wasn’t accustomed to running on hills. The race taught me that I had a lot of room for improvement and training.

Lesson Learned ( Race Day Bloopers)

Please note the confusion on my face.

Although I finished the race, it was a hot mess. I’m glad that this was my first race, and I didn’t have any time goals. My goal for marathons and half marathons will be completion, but there are a few tips I’ll carry to my next races to make the experience more seamless.

First, I learned to dress for success. All the winners had on booty shorts. I need to get some booty shorts and a crop top for my next half marathon. On a serious note, I believe that the less you have on, the better. By the end of the race, I felt so weighed down by my own weight that I wanted to rip everything off.

Second, I learned to pack light. I was looking like a kangaroo out there because they didn’t allow us to have backpacks. I had enough things with me that I didn’t want to leave with bag-check, so my front pocket was beyond stuffed. Next time I’m going bare bones by bringing only the absolute essentials.

Third, I learned that you don’t have to go to all the water stations. I was enjoying the amenities so much that I had to go to the restroom mid-race. Those bathrooms are gross, and the wait for the bathroom likely cost me 10-15 minutes.

Fourth, I learned to be somewhat familiar with the race. The picture above shows my puzzled face when I crossed the finish line with 7 miles to go. They did not have a clear sign for ending vs. continuing the race. I ended up crossing the finish line and had to find my way back to the course to finish.

Thank you Nabila

Nabila is one of my friends whom I met through my husband. She always came to family events and sent well wishes during the holidays. However, our relationship blossomed through running. She invited me to a 5K, and I invited her to a steps challenge on a fitness app. Things kicked up a notch when I asked her to do a 15K with me. I was unable to do it because I was pregnant, but she finished and did great. I encouraged her by letting her know that if she could do a 15K, a half marathon was only a few miles more. A monster was born. Since then, about 1.5 years ago, she has been in more than 30 races and at least 12 half marathons. I’m highlighting her because, despite all of her accomplishments, she didn’t put herself first for one moment during the race. She brought pre-workout, post-workout, energy gels, and a poncho for my comfort during the race. She ran and walked with me every step. Even when I got lost, she waited for me. These are small examples because, in her everyday life, she is a sweet, encouraging, and beautiful person to her daughter, husband, family, and friends. Thank you, Nabila, for being who you are. We love you.

Beating the Odds

Marathoners and half marathoners make up less than 1% of the population in the United States. Therefore, anyone who finishes one of these types of races is exceptional. Unfortunately, I would bet that more than half of those people don’t feel exceptional because they didn’t make their time or walked or had some other disappointment. I want to tell you right now that if that’s you, please STOP. You’re amazing even if you didn’t do the race, and a little more awesome because you did.

Please comment, like, or subscribe to the blog if you found this post interesting. I’m eager to hear about other people’s experiences with running. What races do you all have planned? Do you have any other tips for people who may be reading? I’d like to hear it all.

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