Girl on Fire: My first half marathon finished, second coming up

[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, May 1, 2014]

Rain and hail felt like pinpricks against my skin as I ran, staring at the sidewalk, through Olathe, Kan. Soon after, the rain slowed to the occasional drop and the sun peaked out through the clouds while I ran along an asphalt trail through trees. I kept going, slowly but surely, until I kicked it in gear and raced over the finish line with a big smile on my face.

I finished my first half marathon in three hours, 17 minutes, and I couldn’t be happier.

Training for a race like that was not what I expected. I ran a little bit a few times a week, doing a lot of jogging, then a little walking and repeat. Unfortunately, I did not do this for a long enough period of time before the race crept up on me.

Aside from running, preparing for a run like that took a lot of mental preparation. I never thought I would be able to run more than a 10-kilometer race after hearing the amount of time spent toward training, then moving for hours at a time.

For some reason, I wasn’t able to wrap my head around running 13.1 miles. It didn’t hit me that I was going to do that until I finished the first 10 miles of the race. At that point my hip was giving out, my feet were sore and I realized I was still three miles away from the finish line.

But, when I finally reached the finish line and heard the announcer yell my name, all my qualms about the race didn’t matter because I finished.

Because of my finishing and being so proud of it, I want to thank my mother, Karen Poolman, for even suggesting it to me, then signing me up for it. My mom has run many half marathons, including ones in Mississippi, Detroit and Minneapolis. Honestly, she made me realize that if she could finish, I could finish.

I understand the work put into half and full marathons better, and how having that motivation to finish keeps you on the path of healthy living. I want to be better about healthy living since I’ve been slacking lately, and doing more half marathons is a good way for me to do that.

My next half marathon is May 31, when Russ and I will be running Dam to Dam in Des Moines. For two years I ran Dam to Dam 5K, and this year I wanted to bump it up. I also plan to sign up for the Des Moines Half Marathon in October, and afterward I plan to stick with it and sign up for more.

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