The Life and Times of a Half-Marathoner (in Pictures!)

So I ran my 4th Half Marathon two weekends ago, and the experience made me think of writing a summary of my half marathon experiences so far.

So here goes… in pictures, words, and numbers (at the bottom of the post is a table with my times and speeds for each):

Half Marathon #1: April 29, 2017

For my first-ever Sacramento race, I ran the Parkway Half Marathon in 2017. I had run the Bay-to-Breakers, a 7-mile family run in San Francisco numerous times as a kid, but going 13 miles was a whole other story. I got excited by running with the crowd, excited by the motivating music they played before the timer went on, and excited by all the bands playing and supporters waving along the route. I chatted and hooted and hollered as I ran, enjoying the rush of adrenaline from the event… until I started to run out of steam. I knew there was a problem by, say, mile 8, and by around the end of mile 12, I had to stop… and walked the rest of the way, my tail between my legs.

Half Marathon #2: April 28, 2018

For my return to the Parkway Half in 2018, I was motivated by one thing: redemption. I wanted to make up for my “miserable” showing in the my first half marathon. I was prepared this time to avoid distraction and stay focused on my own race, and I ran conservatively in order to make it all the way without stopping. And so I did… yet I came away feeling that I probably could have pushed myself more. Even so, progress was made. See also, “One Week Away from Half Marathon #3.”

Half Marathon #3: March 17, 2019

For my third half marathon, this past March, I ran the fun and festive Shamrock’n Half, with thousands of people dressed in costume for Saint Patrick’s day. For this race, I was 30 pounds leaner than I had been a year before, thanks to Intermittent Fasting and getting off processed sugar. This was the first half where I truly felt that I triumphed. Third time’s a charm–Irish lucky charm, that is! See also “My Magical Running Journey Takes a Lucky Turn” and “After the Ecstasy…

Half Marathon #4: November 3, 2019

My 4th Half was the Clarksburg Half. I was physically prepared, but mentally caught off guard by the small size of the crowd (there were 310 half marathoners, instead of probably 10,000 for the Shamrock’n), and the fact that they were… so… damn… fast! Slightly embarrassed, I kept to my guns while seemingly hundreds of runners passed me. I ran my own race, and I surpassed my previous personal record despite “taking it easy” on myself after two weeks of busy performing for “Frankenstein.” See also, “My 4th Half Marathon: Running My Own Race.”

Here are my times for each race:

Half Marathon DateTimeAverage SpeedOverall Experience
April 29, 20172:16:33*10:25* min/mileNEWBIE HAPPY FEET: The “shock” of running with a big crowd… I ran too fast and then burnt out, basically walking the last mile. That sucked.
April 28, 20182:14:2010:10 min/mileREDEMPTION: Relieved that I ran the whole time, though I ran more conservatively than I would have liked.
March 17, 20191:57:498:55 min/mileTRIUMPH: Felt triumphant and ecstatic at “blazing” through the race, 30 lbs lighter than a year ago and running it in under 2 hours.
November 3, 20191:53:358:36 min/mileHUMBLED AMONG THE ELITE: Felt self-conscious in a smaller pack of elite runners despite running better than ever.

*I am estimating the exact time and speed for Half Marathon #1. It actually wasn’t that bad, considering I walked the last mile from burn out!

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