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Cardio ‘Cat: Lessons learned from running a half-marathon

Risa Johnson

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Photograph courtesy of Risa Johnson Risa's half-marathon came with a surprise, but was extremely rewarding.

Photograph courtesy of Risa Johnson
Risa’s half-marathon came with a surprise, but was extremely rewarding.

My first half-marathon was the most rewarding race I’ve ever finished, including 10k and 5k races.

I have never had so much trouble walking after a race, but more importantly, I have never had so much support from friends, family and strangers ringing bells and waving signs along the way.

Hopefully sharing my experience will make you want to join in with other “half crazies” and learn from my rookie mistakes.

My first flaw was in my diet. Basically, I tried food the day before the race that I had never eaten before.

Somehow that grilled chicken sandwich, from a very popular restaurant, I might add, was a bad idea.

I also hydrated too close to the beginning of the race. Although research told me that one hour is enough time to get water out of your system, that didn’t prove true for me.

Having to stop during the race was so frustrating. Next time I’ll drink a bottle of water an hour and a half before.

Another thing I learned is to have a plan with your running partner or group. A lack of communication ended up causing my mom and I to run apart for half of the race.

We broke off to get water and use the bathroom. She thought I was behind and I thought she was ahead. Running six miles alone is just not the same.

Although I made my fair share of mistakes, I had a great experience for many reasons.

I think choosing a race with surroundings you love and people you like are the most important factors in choosing a race.

Running through the rolling hills of San Luis Obispo down to Pismo Beach was so picturesque. I also had my mom with me and family and friends at the finish line which was awesome.

I enjoyed running without music, which I actually didn’t plan on doing. I forgot my headphones and armband in Chico but ended up not missing them at all.

It was easy to take in all of the people yelling and rooting the runners on. I was more aware of my surroundings.

The highlight of the run for me was a sign that said, “You’re running better than the government!” It was epic.

Needless to say, I’ll be doing this again. After I can walk again.

 

Risa Johnson can be reached at [email protected] or @risapisa on Twitter.

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Cardio ‘Cat: Lessons learned from running a half-marathon