The Glamorous Misadventures of a Half Marathon Novice

Why you should carefully consider the implications before committing to a half marathon

Why reconsider signing up for a half marathon

Image: The author decided to sign up for a half marathon after being inspired by her mother.

The author decided to sign up for a half marathon after being inspired by her mother.

I’m about to run a half marathon for the first time in my life. But if I could, I’d go back to the moment I signed up and tell myself to think twice. Long-distance running is boring, not glamorous, and it could cause long-term health issues.

Ah, the classic dilemma of every twenty-something: to either tie the knot or conquer a marathon. In my case, it was the latter. In a moment of inspiration, I signed up for a half marathon after witnessing my mother’s heroic feat of completing the New York marathon back in 2006. Little did I know what I was getting myself into!

Training for a half marathon is painstakingly boring

Before embarking on this crazy journey, the furthest I had ever run was a mere five miles. That distance provided the perfect opportunity to enjoy a podcast or a few songs from my running playlist. But now, following a 12-week running plan designed by the fabulous folks at Runna, every run feels like an eternity. It turns out that long-distance running is not just physically demanding but also a test of mental strength.

Running long distances can be super boring.

Let me tell you, dear reader, how tempting it is to stop not because I’m tired, but because I’m bored out of my mind! The repetition of running mile after mile requires a level of focus and determination that could put monks to shame.

You’ll have less time for other forms of exercise

Oh, how I miss the days when my exercise routine was as varied as a rainbow! Yoga classes, gym sessions, spinning, and HIIT workouts were all part of my fitness mosaic. However, since starting my half-marathon training, maintaining that variety has become as elusive as finding a unicorn at a thrift store. The sheer exhaustion from running has stolen away my time and energy for these other activities.

The intentions were pure, my dear fashionistas, but reality set in. Yoga classes for recovery? Too tired to attend. Socializing on running rest days? Count me in. Alas, the pursuit of marathon glory has narrowed my exercise horizon.

Running can lead to long-term injuries

When I excitedly informed my mother of my half-marathon endeavor, I expected words of pride and encouragement. Little did I know she also had a cautionary tale to share. You see, after completing the New York marathon, she underwent not one, but two major surgeries. A hip resurfacing was the price she paid for her running addiction.

The glamorous life of a runner.

My dear readers, stories like my mother’s are not uncommon. According to the Cleveland Clinic, common running injuries range from stress fractures to plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and more. Now, here’s a twist: my wise, wellness-practitioner mother has bid farewell to long-distance running. She now delights in teaching yoga and Pilates, reflecting upon her running days with both fondness and caution.

If you think you’ll lose weight training for a half marathon, think again

Ah, the naive dreams of a novice! I visualized myself shedding pounds of sweat and fat as I tackled my training week after week. But alas, the universe had other plans. Instead of whittling down my waistline, I found myself putting on a few extra pounds and lamenting the loss of my formerly toned physique. Life truly has a sense of humor, doesn’t it?

The author sipping on a Coca Cola after completing an 11-mile run.

To add insult to injury, I’ve noticed an insatiable desire to snack and an increased appetite on days when I’ve completed long runs. As I delved into the mysteries of satellite fueling (aka eating while running), my waistline reaped the benefits of my culinary indulgence.

Fear not, dear readers! I am not alone in this culinary conundrum. Runners World and the Marathon Handbook have documented the phenomenon of increased appetite during long-distance training. Apparently, running burns calories like a wildfire, and our brain’s ability to distinguish thirst from hunger adds an extra twist to the mix.

Running isn’t glamorous, and, yes, you might poop yourself

Behold, the glamorous sport of running as presented by the realms of TikTok and Instagram! Soaking in the luxurious aspects of pounding the pavement, they paint a picture of effortless grace and charm. But hold on, my friends, for there is a more candid tale to tell.

The glamorous side of long-distance running.

There have been moments in my training when I’ve flirted with the undesirable prospect of regurgitation after consuming energy gels meant to keep me moving forward. And, oh, the pelvic pressure! More than once, this challenging endeavor has left me pining for a restroom with a desperation that rivals that of a squirrel searching for buried nuts.

As I approach race day, I hold one simple goal in my heart: to cross the finish line with my dignity intact and my digestive system obediently controlled. Believe it or not, dear readers, sudden digestive system issues are more common in the running world than you might imagine.

In fact, Tamara Torlakson, an avid runner, found herself in a memorable situation during the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon in 2018. She had to cope with an unexpected bowel movement midway through the race to maintain her pace. Her response? “It just came out, and I felt a lot better.” Ah, the joys of running!

So, my fellow fashion lovers, as I prepare to conquer my half marathon, I leave you with this heartfelt revelation: the path to fitness and glory is not always paved with gold. It may be littered with boredom, time limitations, potential injuries, unexpected weight fluctuations, and even humorous bathroom adventures. But through it all, we persevere, continuing to chase our dreams in the name of fashion and fabulousness!

->Interact with readers: Have you ever tackled a fitness challenge that turned out to be not-so-glamorous? Share your stories and let’s commiserate together!