The Time I Ran A Half Marathon and Didn’t Die

I went to bed at 9 last night because I had been awake since 4:30AM, you know, doing this:

Running that little yellow line, AKA my first half marathon. No big deal. ACTUALLY it was a huge deal for us, and one of the most awesome experiences of my life. Seriously.

Shaun and I really had one goal going into this: (1) Finish. Ok, maybe two. (2) Finish alive. Not only did we do that, we finished in the top 50% of racers and clocked a sub-two hour time, and felt incredible afterwards.

The Charlottesville Marathon, Half Marathon and 8K Race began on the Downtown Mall, then followed Main Street through the Corner (past the Rotunda), went up Massie Road (oh hi Law School), and then followed Old Ivy/Old Garth until a turn-around at mile seven. Then, we got to run back down. There are moments that I remember a lot of, and then there are moments that were completely consumed by adrenaline. Seriously, a few times I looked at my watch and said, “holy crap, when did we pass mile [6, 10]?”

Watching the sunrise while running through Charlottesville was ethereal. We started off slow because I think we were both a little nervous, but after we crossed mile one and someone behind us screamed, “12.1 MILES TO GO!” Shaun and I were like, OK LETS DO THIS. So we did.

Avg Pace
Summary 2:00:23.0 13.06 9:14
1 10:44.1 1.00 10:44
2 9:24.9 1.00 9:25
3 9:26.7 1.00 9:27
4 8:59.7 1.00 9:00
5 9:00.1 1.00 9:00
6 9:29.8 1.00 9:30
7 9:01.1 1.00 9:01
8 8:51.8 1.00 8:52
9 9:16.0 1.00 9:16
10 8:57.8 1.00 8:58
11 9:03.1 1.00 9:03
12 9:12.2 1.00 9:12
13 8:02.7 1.00 8:03
14 :52.8 0.06 14:39

Note: our time was about 4-5 minutes shorter than this because I started my watch before we crossed the starting line (so I could lock it and get my sleeves in order). I was shocked to see that our fastest mile was mile 13 (by a LANDSLIDE), but also shocked to see how steady we were, even though we thought we were all over the place. Memorable moments include the first hill (Ridge/McIntyre) during Mile 1, that I used to be afraid of but realized isn’t so bad after all, finding a pair of gloves (thank GOD) laying on the ground during Mile 2, the drunk people ringing cowbells and screaming “YAY RUNNING,” and “GO STRANGERS!”, the father who ran the entire half marathon pushing his son in a stroller (I wanted to hug him), the older men around mile 6 who congratulated Shaun and I for our first half marathon, the people screaming, “THIS BETTER BE THE LAST HILL” every time we hit a hill, the puppies on Massie Road, the marathoner who hit mile 19 when Shaun and I hit mile 13 (and he wasn’t even in first place), the guy who ran the entire half marathon juggling; and hitting our old apartment on Grady around mile 11.5 and deciding to haul ass to the finish line (which we crossed holding hands, causing spectators to be all like, “awwwwwww”).

I can’t really describe how this felt. I’d never characterized myself as a runner. I played volleyball, I danced, and I swam – none of which are sports that require distance running. Two years ago when one of my friends got me to start running with her after work, 2-3 miles felt like a chore. Then one day, 5 felt great, then 8, then I started entering races (here and here) and then:

How do I feel the day after? Not sore or tired, but excited. I spent the last few minutes researching half marathons in Virginia and Philly this summer (now have to convince Shaun), and thinking about what’s next. We’ve got a few ideas, but to say I’m addicted to the thrill of running is putting it mildly.

26.2? Maybe, but for now we’ve got an Easter hike with the pup and I’ve got to hunt down a 13.1 sticker and a “Virginia is for Runners” shirt. I promised them to myself if I finished this race!

Happy Easter!


Categories: C-Ville, Fitness


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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