Madison Half Marathon Update & Lessons

Half Marathon Update via A Detailed Palette

I am just going to put it out there; the half marathon on Sunday did not go as well as I had hoped. By mile 2, I knew it was going to be a struggle... and there were 11 miles still ahead of me. I started out way too quickly in an attempt to keep up with my sister. I told her to go ahead, as I drastically slowed my pace. And then it started to rain.

While this was not ideal by any means, it thankfully never down poured. I also had a hat to keep the rain out of my eyes, and I quickly wrapped my phone in a plastic Ziplock bag to protect it from as much moisture as possible, since I don’t have a waterproof case. While it definitely could have been worse, I was just really miserable, drenched and worried about my phone as I felt my mental strength fade.

When I hit mile 4, I was seriously considering quitting. I knew then that I wasn’t going to hit my goal of under two hours, and the pads of my feet were sore and burning – why this was happened, I am not sure.

Once I reached mile 8, after a rather isolating jaunt through the arboretum, I knew that I could finish it. I mean, I had to finish it. I was over half way done, with only 5 miles left. I started thinking to myself, "This is the last half marathon you will ever have to run, Rachel. After this, this is it. The last one!"

My time was not my best; it was a far cry from my personal record (PR) of 1 hour and 51 minutes. But, as I realize that the PR was from five years ago, I feel slightly better about the entire situation. Plus, I did finish the race. I got the medal. And I feel like I relearned some things:

Run Your Own Race

You have to do your own thing and do what’s best for you. This goes for really anything in life. I should have known right away, based off my previous training runs, that keeping up with my sister was just not going to happen. I went for it anyway and by the time that I realized it was a huge mistake, I was already quite tired and had already started things out poorly. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be inspired and motivated by others… but it does mean that keeping comparisons at bay is often the best thing to do. Another person might be doing something faster or better than you – but that doesn’t mean that matching their pace (in whatever it may be) is the best choice. In fact, it’s probably bound to just stress you out.

Keeping Your Word Matters

Yes, I didn’t live up to my goal. But I did live up to my word. I said I was going to run a half marathon, and I did. I kept my word not only to other people who were nice enough to cheer and support me, but I also kept my word to myself even though there were times when I really didn’t want to keep going. Too often we commit to things or say that we are going to do x, y, and z, but we never actually follow through for a myriad of reasons. Some of those reasons are sure to be legitimate, but I feel most aren't. Most have to do with fear, and we allow it to hold us back. I feel really good about the fact that I set out to do something and did it even though it did not go the way I had envisioned.

It’s Not Time to Retire

I joked immediately after the race that I was retiring from running. While thinking that this was my last half marathon ever during the race definitely helped me get through it, I don’t think I can end it on this note and just stop running/never do one again. I felt way too accomplished after, even with the less than stellar time. There simply has to be another one so that I can prove it’s possible (to myself anyway) to improve and to get back to my old personal record.

Now, I am taking a bit of a break from running as I allow my sore muscles to recover. It seems like the right thing to do at the moment... and maybe even for the next week or so!

-xo, Rachel

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