1. Training is a must, as much if not more for the mental exercise than the physical.
2. The first half is harder than the second.
3. Once accustomed to the mild knee pain that hits around mile 7, it’s all a mental. It was my brain, not my knees, that was trying to stop me.
4. Good music is essential at times, but I listened less than I thought I would. Mostly, I was in my own head, thinking about how I shouldn’t think about the knee pain, or that I had to pee but didn’t want to waste the time, or I hope that guy’s spit doesn’t come back and slap me in the face.
5. Once I realized how negative I was being, I used my mental energy to think about how, My God, I’m really doing this; and, Three months ago, the most I’d ever run was five miles, once. Not surprisingly, my bodied ached less the more positive my thoughts became.
6. There will always be people faster than me, and slower.
7. All, and I mean all, shapes, sizes, and ages run half-marathons. It’s inspiring.
8. As I hit mile 5, the freakishly fast runners leading the pack were already on their way back. The first two were men. The third was a woman and I wanted to scream, “You go, girl!” but I didn’t, out of fear I would disrupt her concentration. Next time, I will. She was awesome.
9. I felt an unspoken camaraderie with my fellow runners, especially the few who were always within sight. There was one lady in pink about 1/10 of a mile ahead of me and I could just never catch her, even though she walked through the last few water stops. Without knowing it, she helped keep me going.
10. It is easier to never stop running, no matter how badly I want to walk.
11. I can be stupidly competitive. I’d been running alone for the last couple of miles. About 1/10th of a mile from the finish line, I heard footsteps behind me and got angry. “Oh no, you don’t,” I thought. I picked it up, then she picked it up; I picked it up more, she picked it up more, I picked it up even more and felt like I was going to collapse, and I crossed the line first. As I stood in line waiting to hand over my number, I had to keep myself from throwing up. I didn’t look at the woman behind me, embarrassed that I’d just made myself physically ill just so I could cross first. Apparently, my camaraderie goes only so far.
12. Once my physical stockpiles are sapped, mental abilities diminish. When I finished, I felt half-drunk. I was hazy the rest of the day, and went to bed at 7pm. The last time I did that, I was eight.
13. Contrary to some predictions that I would feel differently, I still have no desire to run a full marathon.
14. I didn’t time myself, during training or the race. Next time, I think I will.
15. Contrary to my own prediction, this wasn’t a one-time thing. I’m looking forward to doing it again.