I’ve been out of training mode for a few weeks; although I ran while I was traveling, it was hard to stay in official half marathon training mode. I was really nervous for last weekend’s long  run, because according to my calendar I had missed a month’s worth of real training! My calendar said that I was supposed to be up to an hour and a half, but the longest I had run while on vacation was 45 minutes.

On Sunday, I woke up early and started my pre-running rituals. I drank 2 bottles of water and ate toast and peanut butter, and then I put on some of my cold weather running gear. It ended up being really beautiful outside, so I didn’t even bother with a hat or gloves. The rest of my team was in the same boat I was in, and we decided that we would try for 1 hour or 1:15.

At first, I felt really lethargic. Running in the cold means it takes a little while longer for my muscles to warm up, especially since I don’t stretch first (stretching cold muscles = bad). But once I got going, I felt like I could run for a million years. After about 40 minutes, I finally hit my stride. I didn’t think about anything, I only noticed the sound of my sneakers hitting the pavement, as I put one foot in front of the other. I think this is what they call runners’ high; my mind felt blank and I just kept going.

Although I was nervous about running for such a long time, I ended up hitting 1:27 – pretty close to the original goal of 1:30! It was such an amazing feeling. I can’t help but be proud: my schedule should have been thrown off after missing so many practices, but I was able to push myself and really accomplish what I set out to do. Sometimes loving my body can be a challenge, and sometimes I feel frustrated about my weight and strength – but sometimes I do something that my mind can’t believe, and I just have to admit that my body is pretty amazing. My body can do some really amazing things. Sometimes, I realize just how amazing I am, and it makes all of this worthwhile.

– Hannah

My half-marathon team at our first race