You know what makes half marathons, or just running in general, more fun?
A little buddy to run with! This one is mine and I shouldn’t call her my little buddy, she’s definitely five inches taller than me. I actually prefer to call her my sole sister (get it?). Her name is Caitlyn and she’s been one of my closest friends for five years now and we’ve run four half marathons together.
I ran my first half marathon by myself, and at the time I was doubling as a hostess at a sports grill (which is ironic because I know NOTHING about sports) and a camp counselor at the Y, so I really appreciated the alone time I had when I was running. I loved my campers but it was great not having five-year-olds hanging off of my limbs for a few miles. That being said, I won’t lie and say I never wished that I had someone running with me on the really long runs or those days I really didn’t want to lace up my shoes and get out there.
After crossing the finish line at my first race, I knew this was something I wanted to keep doing for as long as my body allowed me to. I looked into half marathons in New Jersey that I could run when I moved back for school and Caitlyn, who had never run a half marathon before, happily jumped on the bandwagon with me. Soon enough we were signed up for Morristown’s Halloween half marathon!
When race day finally arrived, the temperature dropped to 30 degrees and the 45 minutes we spent at the starting line waiting for the race to start (spirits high, of course!) still makes my bones shiver.
It wasn’t until we were closing in on mile 10 that I realized how greater this experience was compared to my first race and it was all because I had my friend running next to (and sometimes ahead of) me, and thank goodness for that! Caitlyn and I tend to have horrible luck with weather on race days. The second half marathon we ran together was the following May in Fort Lett and it was cold and rainy and we were pissed even before the race started. I only got more pissed as the miles went on because all I could focus on was the water sloshing around in my shoes with every step I took. Every. Single. Step. For. 13.1 Miles.
I know for a fact I totally would have bailed on this race if someone else weren’t running it with me. Who wants to run six and a half miles up crazy cliffs in the rain and then slip and slide your way back down? I certainly didn’t and I’m pretty sure Caitlyn didn’t want to either, but we showed up and pushed our way through. Mother Nature finally backed off around mile 11 and it stopped raining. Coincidentally so did our (read: my) bitching.
The finish line was in sight and I swear I nearly cried tears of joy. I could NOT wait for this race to be over and to take my water-filled shoes and wet socks off. This is still the most miserable I have ever been during a run, but somehow we broke a personal record (PR) and finished in 2 hours and 24 minutes (our new PR is 2 hours and 20 minutes). Something about being miserable, cold and wet must have made us haul ass.
If your excuse to not sign up for a half marathon is that you don’t know if you’ll be able to stick to it, get someone to do it with you! Running buddies are the greatest and change the course of your race, literally and figuratively. They make the 5 a.m. wake up calls on race day slightly tolerable, make sure you finish that long training run, get pumped with you at the starting line (nothing pumps Caitlyn and I up like blasting Hamilton and singing at the top of our lungs in the car), bitch with you at mile 11 and celebrate with you at the finish line. They certainly don’t judge you for the insane amount of food you inhale after the race either because they’re right there demolishing just as many calories with you!
Most importantly, they take the attention off of you from time to time because they need cheering on too. You’ll carry each other through the race, and that’s the best part for me.
So stop reading this and go find yourself a running buddy! They don’t have to already be a runner. If you can be as persuasive as I was, you’ll be able to convince someone to take this journey with you. They just won’t be as cute as my running buddy. Sorry!