Thinking about Your First Half Marathon? Start Here!

Ask any longtime runner, and chances are there’s a race that holds a special place in his or her heart.

Maybe it wasn’t their fastest race ever.  But under some tough circumstances, it’s the effort they’re most proud of, the time they were able to dig the deepest.

Perhaps it was a beautiful destination race that made them realize why they love running, or maybe just the first time at a new distance that used to scare the heck out of them.

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I’ve got a few like that, and the one I’m most proud of is certainly my 3:09:59 Boston-qualifying marathon.  But there’s another race I haven’t talked about much, one that was an absolute turning point for me as a runner.


It was my first half marathon. A modest 1:56:59 at the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half.  And the funny thing is, I had already run a full marathon a few years before that.

So what was so special about it?

That race meant so much because it showed me that I was back.

You see, when a few friends and I decided one day, almost three years prior, that we were going to run a marathon, we had no idea what we were getting into.

We jumped in like the cocky college kids we were, thinking, “We’re in good shape, how hard could this running thing be?”

Turns out it was pretty hard, because we none of us were runners before that.  Not knowing how to train, all three of us got injured, and the stress fracture I got in my shin left me in an aircast for a few weeks. And without even a cool story to tell.

The worst part is that’s not end of it. We ended up running the marathon anyway — like I said, we were cocky college kids.  The race went horribly, and it’s no surprise that I messed my shin up again as a result.

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