This post is tragically overdue--but here it is, I did it! I trained and ran my first half marathon. It was brutally cold--23°!!--but it was such a truly incredible, amazing experience. Time was 2:30:59. And I'm proud to say my first half marathon is in the books!

It's weird now, nearly five months later, to look back it the whole experience collectively--it really was a journey to the finish line. Running Training for the half marathon was a huge commitment and accomplishment for me. I hate to admit it but I have the tendency to put myself down, quit when the pressure is on and simply not believe I can make it to the end of my commitments. I hate those qualities about myself. I'll show up but I don't put in 100%--it was something I wanted to change. And I decided running a half marathon would be my first step in changing that.

Two years ago, my oldest sister trained and ran her first half--and I was, well simply put, wowed by it. 13.1 miles? That's incredible! I regret, to this day, not being on the side streets cheering her on but I clearly remember her when she home. Her contagious mood, her elevated and proud sense of self and purpose, her willpower. She told us stories from the run, funny motivational signs on-lookers carried, and how she felt. I was inspired by her.

After that, I kicked around the idea of wanting to do a half marathon until it fell on the back burner. Until strangely, it wasn't anymore. The fall of that year that I decided to be more proactive about my health. I started listening to Chris about my eating--it started small with pasta and bread--trading to whole grains. To slowly switching out my oven pizzas and junk food for healthier alternatives.

Then one day I decided to go running. It was like a light bulb in a dark room just flipped on.
I committed to running a half marathon that New Years but freaked out--me? run a 13 miles? No way. And then recommitted in the following spring. But then backed out again. Remember when I said I was a quitter? After what was a very emotionally hard summer, I started running again. I was at a low point, struggling with my self-worth and running seemed the only thing that "centered" me, so to speak.  Resilience is a hard lesson.

At that time, I needed to want something and I wanted to be good at something. That something became running. I was determined to follow though with something and so I re-recommitted to the half marathon (again again). I paid my entry fee for the Route 66 Tulsa Half Marathon to make it final and keep me from backing out.

And so began the training--Tuesday and Thursday short runs with longer Saturday runs, strength training would sometimes make an appearance. Two weeks before the race, I injured my knee but kept pushing--constantly reminding myself how close I was to my goal. The hardest part of running isn't physically putting one foot in front of the other, it's dealing with the mental and emotional blocks of "Can I make it?" and "Can I really run this far?". Those last two (and painful) weeks came and went and finally I was standing in front of the start line on race day. I was going to 13.1 miles, a half marathon. And guess what?  I did it.

time to go!!

The race was phenomenal. As a socially anxious person, somehow that morning, standing among nearly 2,000 other runners, I had no nerves. I was ready. I felt an overwhelming since of support and community to the people next to me, the race volunteers and on-lookers cheering on the street. There is so much of that morning that I felt and saw [the route was beautiful!] that I don't want to forget, but four events in particular. First is waiting at the starting line, watching the confetti fall as I ran through it to begin the two hour and thirty minute run. Second, seeing my parents and Chris freezing their butts off at mile 8, but screaming and hollering for me to keep going.
Third was at mile 11, a girl older or around my age telling me: "Don't stop! You don't want to remember walking this race. Don't stop! You can do this!" And I didn't. We ran together until we were 600 meters away from the finish line. I was flooded with adrenaline, energy and excitement. And when she stopped and needed my encouragement, I repaid her favor. We were nearly there, we can't stop now--it's time to sprint to the finish! And we did.
And four--crossing over that finish line. My feet and fingers numb from the freezing weather, my face so cold my lips were splitting, and my eyes felt so stiff I could barely open them--but I couldn't stop smiling. A volunteer congratulated me and put a medal around my neck. On jittery legs, I went to go find my family to celebrate.
with my man & medal   // proudly, a finisher! 
freezing but happy bunch!!

"There was nothing stopping me from running but me" -Alexandra Heminsley

I'm so grateful to have done it for myself, but truly blessed to have the great support system I did.

Training and running the half was such an empowering and rewarding experience. Every mile logged was one that pushed me past what I could do the day before. It made me see myself and what my body could do differently. 

To wrap this up:
  • Last year, I put up 472.80 miles training for the half marathon--crazy!
  • To see the #halfmarathonproject photo journey, click here. Or follow my instagram @ helloalissacummings
  • To see more posts about running on the blog, click here.
and lastly
  • interested in training for a half marathon? Good! because if I can do it, you can do it! Check out the training schedule + strength training schedule I used, here.