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This morning I ran the Dasani Myrtle Beach Half-Marathon, my first half-marathon (and long race of any kind) ever. I wrote that my goal was to finish in 2:20:00, but that I'd be happy finishing in 2:25:00. Not having run more than 10.1 miles at a stretch since late December, I found myself slowing down fairly dramatically near the end -- I ran the first six miles at a 10:01 pace, and I'd estimate that I ran the next four miles at an 11:00 pace, but after that, I was down to something like an 11:40 pace. My legs were fairly sore -- I was having ankle, knee, and iliotibial band problems. I tried to power through the last mile, but just couldn't, and with about 0.6 mile to go, did the math in my head to figure out I could take a 30-second walking break -- any more than that, and I'd be over my goal time. But after that, it was the home stretch, with crowds and cheering and the final turns in sight, and the excitement and my determination to hit my goal time carried me over in 2:19:37 (unofficial, self-timed).

Having so little experience with races, I didn't know what to expect, but this race seemed extremely well-run. There were markers each mile, many with timers (though they displayed gun time, not chip time, and so weren't useful to me, but that was unavoidable) and refreshment stands every two miles, many with electrolyte drinks. After the finish line, there were people to untie runners' shoelaces after the race, extract their chips, and retie them again (which seemed quite beyond me immediately after finishing); people to hang medals around runner's necks; and people to hand out more drinks. It all felt quite efficient to this neophyte.

I'm still thinking about how I feel about the experience, but I know I want to find a way to keep running, and I want to run a full marathon -- but I also want to make sure I'm properly trained and completely ready for it. I can say this: if you have any interest at all in a marathon, half or full, read up on Jeff Galloway's program, follow it, and go for it. It's not as hard as you might imagine, but it's hard enough that you'll feel proud of yourself, and you'll have achieved something that can never be taken away.


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Congratulations! I, too, am a first timer training for a 1/2 marathon and hope to get a similar time. You are a great inspiration.

Jaime, good for you! If you haven't already picked out a half-marathon, MarathonGuide.com is a great resource -- it's a comprehensive list of upcoming marathons around the world. It's how I picked out Myrtle Beach -- I knew the approximate date that I'd be ready, and I knew I wanted a flat course at low altitude in cool weather, and given all that, a location as close to me as possible. Marathon Guide made it very, very easy.

Good job, Buddy!

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