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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Memory Lane - My First Half Marathon

Today Rhonda and I headed out for an easy run as we finish up our training schedule for our half marathon next weekend. Bentonville was packed with runners and it was fun to see so many people out enjoying the weather. Rhonda picked a route that was two miles down the trail so that we could run up the same finish hill we will encounter next weekend. We hit our 2 mile turnaround point and headed back up the trail. As we were running along we saw a couple people out with a camera and poster. My first thought was that they got the date wrong for the race but we just ran by. As we got closer to the start of the BIG hill, I saw some cars parked alongside the trail. Sure enough, we got to the hill and there was Mike Rush of Rush Running. We chatted for a minute and he told us that one of his training group runners was going to be out of town for the race so he was doing his own personal half marathon a week early. Mike quickly pushed us on our way with some rousing cheering and we tackled the hill.

We finished up our run with a quick tour of downtown to add on some extra mileage so we were closer to 5 miles than 4 for the day. As we got back to our cars, Mike and his cheering squad had made their way to the square and the finish line. We asked about the runner and decided to do our cooldown walk in the direction that he would be coming. We found Shaun and his crew right as they finished the mile of hills and were at approx. 12.95 miles. Shaun was struggling with some leg cramping and his crew was encouraging him along. Rhonda and I both got sentimental as we watched Shaun make that last turn onto Main Street where he could see the finish line and crowd waiting for him. He perked up and found that last bit of strength to finish strong. I don't know Shaun at all but because Rush Running is like family I feel so proud for him and what he accomplished.

Watching his finish got me thinking about my first half marathon. It was the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach in 2001. I had seen an ad in Runner's World for a training/fundraising program called Courage for Cancer and decided to sign up. I remember being so scared and nervous about the distance and whether I could do it. I think I had some tendinitis issues during the last few weeks of training but since this was before blogging I don't have a detailed recap of that time.

My precursor to the blog...my fundraising page where I kept a very brief weekly recap of my training.

My first Half Marathon bib!

The race singlet that the charity provided was a little awkward in style so I tied the straps shorter. I also used iron on letters to add my name the night before in our hotel room. I even managed to iron on a letter to one of my sister's sheets that she had brought for us to use on the beach. Ooopsie!

First finish!!! It was a tough race with warm temps and a never ending last few miles on the boardwalk but I ran most of the race with two other members of the charity group and had fun chatting with them. Random side note...I would go on to wear those gray shorts out...literally! Several years later in 2006 I would run the OKC Memorial Half Marathon in those shorts and discover a huge rip in the crotch after finishing. I loved the fit of those shorts and still have no clue of how they fell apart during the OKC race.

Official time for my first half 2:54:34 and the bug was set for me to go on and do many more half marathons. Next week will be my 15th half marathon (16 if you include my Half Ironman in there.) I have a lot of respect for the distance and love the accomplishment I get each time I finish.

Please share your first big race experience in the comments below. I'm always looking for new races to try out!


  1. So nice you were able to participate in Shaun's race. I wish I could have been there too. And congrats too you for "keeping the faith" and continuing to run.


  2. I"m heading toward 20 or something halves. I love the distance. My first big one was a half and the second big one a marathon. Now I am contemplating my first tri! Can't imagine it.

  3. I am on half number two this week. My first half was the 2011 OKC Memorial Marathon and it was memorable... wind, rain, and temps dropping in the 40s. It was great though. I ran the best ever and felt like I was running on air (I think I was delirious from being soaked and cold) ;-)