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Third Time’s a Charm, Isn’t It?

What are the odds that I’ll look this happy crossing the finish line? Credit: RVWithTito, Flickr

It’s no secret that the half marathon and I have had a rocky relationship. My first one, back in 2005, was really not enjoyable. But then again, I had no idea what I was doing. I loosely followed a training plan but didn’t get any runs longer than 9 miles in. I didn’t do any cross-training. I didn’t eat anything during the race and drank only water. And I felt like absolute crap when I crossed the finish line.

I vowed to never do it again.

For my second attempt at the 13.1, I trained well and had a solid nutrition plan. I knew what I was doing, and I couldn’t have felt more ready … until the heat and humidity got the better of me. If I felt like absolute crap at the end of my first one, I’m not sure there’s a way for me to describe the way I felt at the end of the Miami half. Not words that are allowed on Fit Bottomed Girls, anyway. It was a horrible, horrible, horrible experience.

I swore that would be my last half marathon.

As you’re reading this, I’m on my way to California for the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon. And, ever the optimist, I’m convinced that this time will be different. Here’s why:

  • I’ve been training hard (and consistently) for months on end. Training for the Leadman Tri got me basically ready for this race, and since that triathlon, I’ve gotten in three long runs—one of them a full 13 miles—and they were all really successful. There’s not a doubt in my mind that my legs can carry me that distance, since they just did it a couple of weeks ago.
  • I’m not setting any time or pace goals. Although I’ve worked hills into my training runs, I’m fully aware that the hills I run in Florida are a far cry from the major climbs I’ll face in California, and I’m giving myself permission to walk when it feels right. I’m still going to challenge myself and push when I can, but my mindset is far more focused on enjoying the experience than running a 10:30 pace.
  • My only goals are to finish and have fun. And if I were to prioritize, I would put the fun first. This shouldn’t be hard—I’m running in a beautiful location, past wineries and through a field of lavender, for Pete’s sake, and I’ll be there with two of the coolest and most inspiring women I know. My husband will be waiting for me at the finish line, and you know what else will be there? Wine. What’s not to enjoy?

It might seem nuts to be so excited about running a race distance that’s brought me so much pain in the past, but maybe this time will be the time we work out our differences and become good friends. And if not, drowning my sorrows in local wine really is not the most terrible of options.

Any pearls of wisdom or encouraging words from you Fit Bottomed runners out there? I’ll be sure to tell you all about it when I get back! —Kristen

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14 Comments
  1. Olivia says:

    They have hills in Florida?

  2. Jodi says:

    I ran the New Orleans Rock and Roll Half Marathon back in February and swore at the end I would never run a race longer than a 10k. I felt awful. I had knee issues, plantar faciatis, and a minor facial surgery within the two months prior to my race, I had to get a cortizone shot in my foot two weeks before the race, and while I thought my longest run prior to the race was 10 miles, I discovered just how inaccurate my Nike Plus app on my Ipod was.. it told me I was done at the ten mile mark on my actual half marathon, so prior to the race, I had never actually run more than around eight or nine miles… Fast forward to my daughter deciding she wants to start running.. and while looking at the RunDisney website, I ended up somehow signing up for the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon coming up in November.. My only goal now is to get to the race prepared, accurate Garmin watch in hand..and injury free….Its a bit disheartening right now, as I am nursing a hip injury..but I have until November, and I am running around 7.5 miles for my long runs now…So good to read that post.. I thought I was the only one who felt that way after my first race…

  3. Jodi H says:

    Just remember that you are lucky enough to be able to do this, so enjoy it! Don’t look at the clock just enjoy every second of your run….

  4. Jen says:

    Just goes to show ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again’ 🙂 Well done, I too have a love/hate relationship with half’s but it’s so rewarding when you do complete it 🙂

  5. Jim says:

    They say third time is the charm! Keep focused on the fun part of it and it’ll be over before you know it!!

  6. Jami Foster says:

    I just ran my first half marathon. I loved just about every minute of it. I lost a few seconds on my time because I stopped to pet a bullmastiff on the side lines…gorgeous dog! I’m a sucker for a big dog. But I wanted to thank you. I read your post about how the cheering spectators helped you on your leadman tri. I focused on them when I was feeling a little winded. I would find someone to make eye contact with and their genuine smile and cheers of support REALLY lifted me. I have to say it was my favorite part of the run. I’m so glad I read your blog and had that in my mind. Good luck in Santa Barbara!

  7. Anna says:

    Big congrats on that! Running distance is a big accomplishment and you should be proud!

  8. You have a really good positive outlook – to have fun and enjoy. With all the support it will push you over the finish line before you know it. Good Luck!

  9. Jennifer says:

    I admire your perseverance. I know your hard work will pay off in the end. Being in Santa Barbara will ease your pain if the experience goes south. Soak in the sun and enjoy your wonderful accomplishments. I got a solid sense of inspiration to run more after reading this article. Thank you!

  10. Christiane says:

    It is said that persistence always beats talent and you definitely have persistence. Keep it up and aim for a full marathon one day, it will be a great achievement.

  11. Lisa says:

    So happy to hear you enjoyed the run as well as the wine.

  12. Mike says:

    I admire your “don’t give up” attitude, Kristen! Maybe one day I’ll be able to at least “attempt” what you have conquered! Do I smell a full marathon in your near future? 🙂

  13. Kristen says:

    Wine?? Santa Barbara?? Why have I not signed up for THAT race? Sounds like it will be a much better run for you. I’ve done two Rock & Roll 1/2s, with my third coming up next month. Didn’t train for any of them. Oops! But they are SO much fun and the race support is amazing. Sign up for next year’s Seattle Rock & Roll if you love cheer leading (and no chance of heat/humidity!). Seriously. Love our local high school cheerleaders all along the course, plus tons of locals and family members lining the road.

  14. Kasey says:

    In my opinion, Santa Barbara has the best wine in the world. Bold claim, I know! Enjoy every minute of it 🙂