Ma Bella Vita: RAN MY FIRST HALF!...And I think I'm in LOVE.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

RAN MY FIRST HALF!...And I think I'm in LOVE.

Edited to add: I am not quite sure what to say about the Boston Marathon ordeal. It is quite despicable that someone would have the guts to do something so incredibly disgusting during such an exciting day in Boston. Is so sad when things like these happen but we must remain strong and show the world that nothing can defeat us. Thankfully, by the time I am writing this they have identified and captured the suspect. I know there will be justice for the people affected by this! Nothing can stop the running spirit and now I understand that more than ever!

So yes ladies and gentleman, I have a lot to feel thankful/fortunate for but I will take a (respectable) break from Fortunate Fridays to share something that's super exiting for me! 

This past Sunday April 14th,2013 I ran my very first half marathon and the experience was amazing beyond words.

I’d like to begin this post with a little recap on my “running history” just so that you can fully understand how much running this half marathon meant to me on a personal level.
Rewinding back to my teenage and even early college years—running(in my mind) was meant for hard core athletes. People who had spent their whole lives playing sports and had a level of fitness I never thought I would reach.In college, I was a huge cardio person (still am but even more back then) and would spend most of my workouts on treadmills and elliptical. The treadmill workouts consisted of a whole lot of speed walks (uphill, downhill, flat and back again) and the occasional 10-15 minute run which would fill me up with pride. Running for 5 or 10 minutes straight for me was a HUGE and I mean HUGE accomplishment and lets not even get in to what 15 minutes meant—I was on top of the world! I had no clue of what miles really meant. I just ran in terms of time (aka: minutes).
I would occasionally run with a college roommate on the football track but those runs would not last long. I would run about ¼ or maybe 2/3rds of the track (not sure if that was even a mile) and that would be it for me! I would get winded, exhausted, tired, “forced” to walk the rest of the way.However, even then, the minimal amount of time spent running rather than walking I still saw as an accomplishment. In my mind—I wasn't meant to run, I was not a runner and thus, I was mistakenly satisfied with the little bit I could do.
Fast forward college graduation and me entering the ‘real world’, My “speed walk” and occasional 5, 10, 15 minute runs on the treadmill became common place for me. My main reason to do cardio was to loose weight so;as long as I was sweating I was good. And I was sweating, and I was loosing weight. The only thing I wasn't doing was pushing my body to the limit and realizing what it was really capable of doing.
Sometime around 2010 I made a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina (amazing trip by the way) with one of my best friends to visit her sister(also a very good friend of mine) who lived there. I have always looked up to this girl for being so sporty, fit and inspiring. She was always doing athletic things and was BIG in to running. It shouldn't have surprised me that she signed us all up for a 5K during the time of our stay. Yes. No warning whatsoever. Kinda’ like: “welcome to North Carolina and get ready to run”.
The 5K was a twilight race (in the evening) and it was super humid and hot that day! I remember within the first 2 minutes of running I was already tired and wanted to stop but the embarrassment of stopping so soon kept me going. My friends also stayed with me the whole time and I finished my first 5K ever with a combination of running/walking (probably more walking towards the end) but I finished it and got my medal. I was proud of myself. Yes. And even more proud that I finished that race without any training. However, that simply a glimpse of how much my body could really do—I just didn’t know it back then.  Here is a quick post I wrote about that trip way back when! (which apparently I never finished).
During the years of 2010 thru 2012 I went back to my treadmill/elliptical status and didn't really get in to running much perhaps because the people around me didn't run and thus, I had no one to ‘share’ that with. Fast forward summer 2012 my sister got her first taste of  running during a Spartan race which she invited me to do with her (you can check out my post on that race here). My sister has always been a huge athlete but more in terms of playing sports in school and coaching softball and baseball teams. She wasn't really a runner but I think that changed after the Spartan Challenge and in return, my relationship with running changed as well. I finally had someone to share it with!
Between the summer of 2012 and prior to my first half marathon this past Sunday, my sister and I have ran other 5Ks, 4-milers and 10Ks together. However, I do have to say she surpassed me by running several half marathons in less than a year (that just comes to show you how she feel in love with running more quickly than I did!).
Sometime in February of this year I started to ponder with the idea of running this More/Fitness magazine all girls half marathon. One day I just decided I wanted to do it and texted my sister to let her know. She agreed to run it with me and I could not have been more excited.
One thing I want to point out is that I’ve been a subscriber of fitness magazine for at least 5-6 years now and would always see the race advertised but my ‘subconscious’ mind would always tell me I was not fit enough for it or those long distance races were not for me so I never really put much mind in to it. Also, as previously mentioned, I didn’t know anyone that was really a runner so I was pretty much on my own. I remember going to one of the pre-races expos several years ago (just for fun) and never in a million years did I think I would one day be there to actually pick up a Bib and be part of the run. Running for more than 10 minutes was simply not “something I did”.
Well, fast forward April 13, 2013 I went to the expo with my sister and picked up my Bib and felt so ready and excited I could not explain it with words. Race day came the next day and my adrenaline was flowing! I was ready with my gazillion songs on my ipod, my sister by my side, and a strong body that had been training for this special day. I have to be honest in that Ididn’t do any “official” training or followed any particular plan. Also, I didn’t ‘train’ for too long. I would say for about a month or a month and a half I ran every other day. I tried to get my body used to running for a long time but the most I ran one day was for an hour (about 7 miles) and that was it. I had never ran for more than an hour/maybe an hour and fifteen minutes in my ENTIRE life. But the MIND is a STRONG tool and I knew I could get it done. I just knew it was possible even with no “hard core/official training”. And guess what happened--  I did it!!
I have to admit that I am not sure I would have been able to run nearly the entire time (including the crazy hills at central park) if it wasn't for my sister staying with me the whole way and offering so much support simply by staying by my side. She is a faster runner than me so she could have easily left me behind and finished before me. But she didn't  She stayed with me and that made an incredible difference—more mentally/psychologically than anything,I would say.
 I stopped a few times maybe to drink water or Gatorade but kept it moving for the most part and that’s what filled me up with pride the most.
During the race I had an epiphany/aha moment/whatever u wanna’ call it. I began to see my body as an amazing machine that is capable of so much. I used to be big on working out simply to be ‘slim’ and that was it. Don’t get me wrong—staying in shape is still important to me. However, I feel that running has taken this to the next level---it has emphasized that our bodies are strong and amazing and capable of sooo so much! It has the ability to surprise us in ways we’ve never expect.
So yes. I think I am in love and the only reason why I haven’t been running since my race is because I have been sore for a few days (feeling better today) and I also understand that my body needs and deserves rest and recovery so I probably wont be running again until sometime next week. I may consider this weekend if the weather is nice and my legs are up for it!
Without further 'ado I leave you with some photos. Some a little weird, some I really loved and everything in between!--->

The girl all the way to the right is one of my sister's friends and running buddies. That girl has ran it all! 5K thru Marathons, you name it! It feels good to hang out with people that share your interests.

Post race we met up with my sister's boyfriend and his friends (one of which was SUPER cute, by the way. Too bad our first encounter had to be with me in work out attire and sweating bullets). We went to an amazing place called Calle OCHO somewhere across the street from central park. The place was beautiful, the food was amazing and super affordable (a combination quite uncommon for NYC, specially the 'affordable' part). I would go back in a heartbeat!

*Lets not even get in to how much I ate that day and how much Ive been eating since. Lets just call this a "celebratory week" and leave it at that!.

Below is my favorite pic of all which I posted as "#proof" on instagram and facebook. :)

One of the many AMAZING lessons I learned during this experience, is that if you want to do something-- DO IT. Dont ever let anyone talk you out of your goals for any reason. And remember this:

Thank you for reading! :)

Tell me, what has been your most fun memorable running experience? from a 1-miler to 26 and everything in between, I would love to hear about it!


  1. I know this is quite late, but still congratulations! Finishing the race with a medal is really is a memorable one. My first race was definitely my most memorable running experience because I wasn't able to finish it due to asthma attack. I felt bad, but it didn't stop me to run again. Thanks for sharing your amazing story, and I hope people will get inspired by this. =)

    ..Mathias Michelakis..

  2. Hi Mathias! thank you for you comment :) it was definitely an amazing experience. We just never know what our bodies are capable of doing! And Im happy to hear your first experience didnt make you give up on running. Thats great! Experiences like these ones sometimes serve as a metaphor for life itself :)

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