Life Lessons from a Half-Marathon

Y’all – I did it! I am a half-marathoner. I have a hard earned medal to prove it. Getting here was interesting to say the least. Throughout this whole process, I learned so much about myself. I’m still learning, but I thought I would share a few things that I didn’t know 7 months ago.


  1. You don’t have to follow a training program to the mile. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal. For example, I restart games over all of the time if I don’t do something perfectly. In my world, I’m either 100% or not doing it. So when it came to my training program, I hit every mile assigned to me consistently for four weeks, then I hit a wall. I just didn’t want to run that week, and I struggled with feeling like I was failing. That I wasn’t really a runner if I couldn’t get all 310 miles of my program in. Then I cut myself some slack. I went from not exercising at all to volunteering to run 13.1 miles at once, so it was okay if I didn’t want to run every day. That was a big moment for me. I realized that I don’t have to live and breathe by a training schedule, but I need to listen to my mind and body. I also have learned to determine the difference between exhaustion and laziness.
  2. Listen to your body. It knows what’s best for it.
  3. Running is cheaper than therapy (including retail therapy). The more time you spend hitting the pavement, or treadmill, the less time you can shop online.
  4. You don’t need fancy things to get started. Just a decent pair of running shoes and determination. A planned running route wouldn’t hurt either.
  5. There’s no such thing as a “runner” body type. I saw all kinds of ladies and gentlemen out there getting their run/walk on. Don’t think because you aren’t currently a runner that you can’t accomplish something as significant as a half or full marathon.
  6. Foam rolling is as amazing as they said it would be. Once you learn how to do it, that is. It took me a few months to learn proper techniques, but I found a helpful little video that covers IT stretches, calf stretches and a neck roll.
  7. Like most things in life, you get what you put into it. I got a little discouraged going into the last leg of this journey. I didn’t follow my training program, I got lazy with the cold weather and snow, and I let my insecurities get the best of me. But when race day came along, I realized that I had been dedicated and determined and I knew I would finish, even if I had to walk the whole way. And I finished 10 minutes faster than my goal time of 2 hours 45 minutes.

The most astonishing thing I learned was how much I learned about who I am through this whole process. I mean it really shouldn’t surprise me being that running is spending quality time with yourself (and putting one foot in front of the other). I’ve learned that I need time to process things – or more accurately put, obsess over things until I’m tired of thinking about them. I’ve learned how to motivate myself and what doesn’t work when it comes to getting my butt out of bed or off the couch. I’ve learned that if I can sing-dance while running, I’m a lot happier. I’ve learned that I’m good company even on my grouchiest of days.


Thanks for joining me on this journey! I can’t believe it’s already over. Now onto my next adventure!


week 11

Race day is one week away!! Oh my goodness – I probably should be packing instead of writing this. (I will not over pack. I will not over pack. I will not over pack.)

This week was a modified version of the Nike+ Running program. Mainly because I was listening to my body and because it was friggin’ cold this week. I was not made for this mess.

I found a running club on MeetUp this week, and joined them for a 10k run on Saturday morning. It was so awesome! There were six of us, and while on the surface we had nothing in common, we all started out at the same pace and got it knocked out in just over an hour. I’m looking forward to joining them for more runs in the future.

Monday – 4 miles (1.5 in the rain)

Tuesday – 4 miles (killed it on the treadmill)

Wednesday – worked instead of ran

Thursday – rest day

Friday – 2 miles

Saturday – 6.2 miles

Weekly mileage: 16.2

Yearly mileage: 143.7

race day gear.

I have spent countless hours pinning and researching what other runners wear on their runDisney race days. I’ve read about gels and GI issues. I’ve read about costume malfunctions and chaffing. I’ve read about socks and tennis shoes lost in airline baggage mishaps.

That’s all well and good, but I’m a new runner. I don’t own a fancy GPS watch or use a hydration belt. What am I supposed to run in?

race outfit

I’ve decided to stick with what I know. Above you can see what I’m planning on wearing on race day!

  • lulu lemon running capris
  • gray old navy ankle socks
  • black long-sleeve semi-fitted top
  • flipbelt for my chapstick, starbursts and phone
  • asics
  • hello alyss crown hair piece
  • Not pictured: Disney Birthday Button!

Maybe one day, when I’m an experienced runner, I’ll look back and laugh at my affinity for old navy socks, but I swear they are my favorite things ever. I have them in black and gray, and I always feel like I run better when I wear the gray ones.

That’s what I plan to wear when I take on my first half-marathon. I’m curious to see what my future race gear will look like.

what i’m reading

I love to read. It’s always been a hobby of mine. Is reading considered a hobby? I’m going to go with yes. I was that kid who waited at midnight for the release of the next installment of the Harry Potter series, then I would devour the book in days. Well – except for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – that one scared me for a solid 2 weeks before I picked it up again.

Anyway, I thought I would write a short post on what I’m reading currently or planning to read in the next few weeks. As you can see here, my dresser has turned into a make-shift bookshelf. That’s mainly due to the lack of space on my nightstand. I do, in fact, own a bookshelf, but I’ve gotten into a habit of picking up (or ordering off Amazon, let’s be real) books and starting them all at once. It’s my intention to finish at least 2 of these by the end of February.

Make it Happen – Lara Casey
My friend, Carly, and I went on a trek to Barnes & Nobles a few weekends ago for this book and I didn’t really know much about it. She was intent on reading it and told me she would let me know how it was. Then I met the author the very next day at a bridal show I was working. It’s a small world, after all.

One Plus One – Jojo Moyes
Ever since I finished Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, I’ve been entranced by her writing and the way she tells a story. I would also recommend The Girl You Left Behind – so good.

The Empathy Exams – Leslie Jamison
It’s rare that I pick up a book that’s non-fiction, but the description of this one grabbed my attention. It’s a collection of essays about the human experience and how we express empathy towards others.

Tiny, Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed
This one stays on my current rotation. It’s a collection of advice columns (questions and answers) from Dear Sugar, also known as the best-selling author of Wild. Every time I have something frustrating in my life happen or my heart breaks, I reach for this one.

A Book of Sunshine
My Meme gave me this book in September of 1998 (it says so on the inside cover). I just came across it a few months ago while moving, and it made me immensely happy.


Not shown here is the book I’m actually reading at the moment. I’m currently working my way through The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes. It’s on my kindle and I’m enjoying it so far. Now if only I could read all day instead of work… 🙂


two weeks away!

Two weeks from right now, I’ll be finished with my first half-marathon experience. I can’t believe it’s almost here. I think I’m at the point in my training where I feel confident that I’ll finish, and I’m not worried about beating a certain time so I took it a little easy this week.

Monday – 5 miles

Tuesday – none

Wednesday – none

Thursday – 1.5 miles

Friday – none

Saturday – 12 miles

Sunday – Rest day

-If you sign up for the hard stuff, then


I heard this quote while listening to a podcast yesterday running. It’s a great reminder that the miles and the hours and the time spent on the treadmill are building up mental toughness and perseverance.

Here’s to spending the next two weeks logging the miles I need to and focusing on going to sunny Florida and turning 25! 😀

Weekly mileage: 18.5

Yearly mileage: 127.5

week nine & feeling fine.

Y’all – I ran 12 miles at one time. 12 miles. Let that sink in for a minute.

I’m starting to realize that this training program may not be the best one for me. It seems way too intense compared to other training programs that I have reviewed. I think this one would be great if I was working towards a personal record, but I’m not. My goal is simply to finish. I’ll probably use this program again next year for the Disney Princess Half, but for the other races I have in 2015 I think I’ll try out a different program.

Monday – 5 miles – 53:50

Tuesday – 3 miles – 34:24

Wednesday -9 miles – 1:39:01

Friday – 2 miles – 23:12

Saturday – 12 miles – 2:23:09

Sunday – Rest day

This week I got back on the horse (treadmill) so to speak. Monday started out great with a 5 mile run before work and I had to juggle around some of my workouts to accommodate a birthday dinner with a friend, but I feel good about how I did. Saturday really showed me how much I’ve grown in running and knowing myself. I was visiting Abby & Alan and had every intention to get my 12 miles in before breakfast. I got up, dressed, and went downstairs to their treadmill but could not will myself to go. I was sleepy, hungry, and I felt like if I didn’t finish quickly enough, I would ruin everyone’s day. Instead of forcing myself and resenting the run, I stopped and decided I would try again later in the day. Though the 12 miles at one go was overwhelming to think about, and at mile 7 I was ready to stop, I kept pushing the second go around and got it done. I feel confident that on race day, I will finish strong.

Running box

In other exciting news, race day is 20 days away! Woohoo! To celebrate, Abby & Alan gave me the most thoughtful box of goodies to get me through the last leg of training. Sorry for the blurry picture, but it contained epsom salt, body glide, two bundles of soft hair ties, a bag of starbursts (my preferred race fuel), and an awesome tank top that says “Forget the glass slippers, this princess wears running shoes” on the front and “& she ran happily ever after” on the back. I can’t wait to wear that post-race! Also, they found the cutest 13.1 decal for my car. I’ve been on the fence about whether or not to buy one, but this one is just too cute and matches my car’s sideview mirrors that I can’t resist. I’m so excited to put it on Gizmo when we get back from Florida.

Weekly mileage: 31

Yearly mileage: 109