If I can run 13.1 miles, anyone can!

Today my sister is guest blogging! Congrats Cassie on finishing your first 1/2 marathon.  I predict many more in the future!

Hi everybody!  I’m Amber’s sister, Cassie.  I ran the Earth Day Half Marathon on April 20, 2013 in St. Cloud, Minnesota.  My friend Sarah convinced me to sign up and run with her, as neither of us had run a half marathon before, and we figured that the end of April in Minnesota would have ideal conditions for a race.

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There were massive snowstorms in Minnesota two days before our race, and the temperature on race morning was a balmy 20 degrees.  We couldn’t have been more wrong!  I just put layers on and hoped for the best.

The race started and we were off!  The first few miles flew by.  There were a lot of spectators cheering us on, which was awesome, and right after mile two, there was an icy downhill and then we sort of went off road, where there was a lot of mud and the terrain was rough.  I slowed down a little so I didn’t take a dive down the hill, and then I saw someone behind us fall!

It evened out after that, and before I knew it, we were at mile four.  Right as we ran up a hill, I saw my fiance, Matt, cheering!  I was so excited to see someone I knew, and I ran up to him and said hi, and threw my mittens at him as I ran away, because they were making me too hot.  I’m pretty sure he didn’t realize what I was doing until I ran away and my mittens were at his feet.

I was having so much fun running this race!  I was smiling the whole time, cheering people on as we passed them, and giving very enthusiastic thank you’s to the volunteers who were handing out gatorade.  It felt magical!

Around Mile 6, we saw both of our significant others’ cheering us on.  While Sarah quickly ate some of her Clif bar, Matt took this picture of me.Image

Salty faced and happy.

For the next few miles, we ran along side the river, which was gorgeous, although the lack of spectators definitely impacted me.  I could have used some motivation, but luckily I had Sarah, who was like my energizer bunny.  She was not going to stop until I finished this race!

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The last few miles looped through the residential neighborhoods of St. Cloud.  Those miles were rough, but I knew the finish was coming soon.  I was running using my iphone for music, and at mile 11, Amber called me.  I answered and said, “I’m at mile 11!”  She gave me some encouragement and told me to go finish the race, and I did!

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I was so excited to cross that finish line!  I couldn’t believe I could actually run a half marathon until I did it.  Now I can’t wait to run my next race and beat my time!

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They gave us medals, which is the best part!

If you are new to running, or have run a few 5k races but want to run a half marathon, here are a couple tips I have for you:

1. Make sure you have a good pair of running shoes.  I suggest going to a specialty running store so they can recommend the best pair for your feet.

2. Slowly build up your mileage so you don’t get hurt.  I followed Hal Higdon’s half-marathon training plan (just google it), and it does a good job of preparing you for a half marathon.

3. Have fun!  Enjoy the race, be present, and be proud of yourself!

So have fun running, and I will see you out there at a half marathon soon!

-Cassie

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