road to the half marathon: complete!

The weather could not have been more perfect along the coast of San Diego for my race day. It was cloudy with a light dewy layer that kept me cool and comfortable every step of the way. The first part of the race went slightly down hill, so I booked it, knowing in the back of my mind that the last two miles of the race I faced a slowly growing but rather aggressive hill.

AFC Half Marathon MedalMy medal, so proud of it hanging over the San Diego skyline.

One of our ambassadors gave me a race day tip that I will carry with me on every run here on out. He told me to take each mile one at a time, and race yourself mile to mile. Bring a watch and time each mile so you have an idea of your pace by the end. That I did and in timing myself mile to mile, I suddenly wasn't running 13.1 miles, I was running just 1.

afc half day marathon race day gearSeamless socks, chocolate agave slow burning energy goo, saved my race and my medal is the proof.

I really was happy as a clam to be running this morning. One guest last week told me to smile at every kid cheering along the road and this would pick me up. Totally right, thank you for the tip Kat. I literally found a smile at every mile. The runners around me had become my allies in battle in my mind...At least until mile 9.

running the half marathon

Smile like you mean it!

Fresh off mile 8, a looped part of the course where you ran past the runners ahead of and then behind you. I ran past my husband who was a couple minutes ahead of me and I was so happy to see him I found a little more bounce in my step. Then I looked up and noticed a guy in front of me wearing a terrible maroon and yellow shirt that read the words, "Fight On."

smiling after running the half marathonMy husband Alex, signed up for the race last minute so I would not be running it alone! Amazing huh? Yeah, his training was the carb load pasta dinner the night before...

Now, if you're not a University of California at Los Angeles or University of Southern California alumni, this may mean nothing to you. But being a UCLA alum, and always a Bruin, my blood boiled in reading this. For you Canadians, I guess you could compare this to reading a shirt that said "American Hockey is amazing, so bite me Eh!". Or something like that, I know lame analogy.

i ran the half marathon in lululemon Bruin blood runs through these guns.

I have nothing personally against that guy wearing the shirt, it's just in my blood to be upset in seeing these colours and passion for USC. I faced a choice, I could keep my pace, and continue to read the shirt that was clearly affecting my race, or I could speed up and pass the Trojan. So I sped up, passed him, and completed the mile at 9 minutes and 45 seconds. I didn't see him again, but definitely thought about him later in the day.

training is complete - running the half marathon

Almost at the hill!

Coming to mile 11 I knew I had two miles of a hill left. Having calculated my pace in my head, I knew I was a good 6 minutes or so ahead of time so I gave myself 1 minute to walk and mentally prepare for the hill. I made it to the top, and almost asked the crowd on the sidelines if I was actually moving because it didn't feel like it.

I thought I had caught up to the minutes I had banked, so I decided to sprint the last 1/4 mile of the race. My softball coach from UCLA, Sue Enquist, a woman you should definitely Google ran through my head at this moment. When we would run wind sprints and gassers after practice she would always, scream, "Run through the line! Not to it!!" This is a lesson that's translated to much of my life, and in this particular moment came in quite handy.

sprinting to finish the half marathon

Literally sprinting through the finish line!

I crossed the finish line, and my time read 2 hours and 17 minutes on the race clock, and I was crushed. My goal time was 2 hours and 15 minutes. My legs were tired of holding me up so I didn't want to wait for them to post my official time.

Later that day, soaking my toes in epsom salt, I suddenly felt proud of myself. I ran and I ran well and that felt better than my time. My husband found online that our official times had been posted, and to my surprise he started to laugh. He said, "So they posted the race times... Your official time, wait for it... 2 hours 14 minutes and 45 seconds!"

standing strong after running the half marathon

Standing strong and ready for brunch.

I made my goal time and it felt amazing. Suddenly I thought of Coach who made me sprint through the finish, and you guessed it, my good friend from USC who I had to pass and thus shed 15 seconds off mile 9. Thanks to him and Coach I ran the race as a Bruin, and achieved my goal time, so fight on I guess!

This entire experience has been amazing, and I really want to thank those of you who kindly lent me your running tips, and compassionate encouragement. I really did feel like I ran with a team on Sunday, so thank you from the bottom of my heart. Until next time, namaste.

read more related posts:


What is the brand name of the agave goo you used? Where did you find it?

Congratulations on your half!


Comment by H-woman — August 18, 2010 @ 8:26 am

Congratulations! I am SO happy for you! I got shivers reading this. This is such an amazing accomplishment. ps. your husband is so sweet!

Comment by lesia — August 18, 2010 @ 8:37 am

Congrats Whitney!! Loved reading about your journey. This was my first half marathon also. I feel so proud of this accomplishment. My son ran with me and was my inspiration! 2 hours, 13 minutes and 6 seconds. Yeah!

Comment by Jill L. — August 18, 2010 @ 8:44 am

Congratulations Whitney! You are a rock star, sister. I’m running my first half-marathon in a little less than a month and being able to read about your training and race has been so inspirational and motivating! Thanks for keeping me on track! What you said about your coach pushing you through the finish line really stuck out to me – I think every athlete can relate to that and is thankful for all the breath-stopping sprints we’ve had to do in our lifetime. Thank you, Coaches and thank you, Whitney!

Comment by Carolyn — August 18, 2010 @ 9:46 am

Congratulations!! It was very inspiring reading your blogs and on your big day. :)

Comment by Charlene — August 18, 2010 @ 10:00 am

Just what I needed to read to motivate me for my long training run today! I’ve really enjoyed following your training and reading this post made me SO excited to run my half in about 3 weeks!!! My track coach used to say the same thing, “Run through the finish!” Congrats on a great race, Whitney!

Comment by Heather — August 18, 2010 @ 10:13 am

You guys are amazing!

@H-woman it’s called Chocolate #9, Chocolate Energy Gel and it is ahhhmazing!

@Lesia, thanks so much lady love!!

@Jill L. Congrats on your accomplishment that is huge! Woo hoo for half marathon finishers!!

@Carolyn thank you for the kind words, cannot wait to hear about your journey! Keep us up to date my lady!

@Charlene thank you for your support!

@Heather, best of luck! You will be amazing.

Comment by Whitney — August 18, 2010 @ 11:21 am

Congratulations! Reading this reminded me of running my first half and how amazing it felt to cross the finish line…gave me goosebumps!

Comment by Keri — August 18, 2010 @ 11:23 am

Congratulations on your run and meeting your goal time…and with 15 seconds to spare, to boot! You did a great job, both physically and mentally. The weather that morning was perfect for a 1/2! I went for a 12 mile BIKE ride and never got close to overheating.

Comment by olivia — August 18, 2010 @ 11:24 am

Congratulations Whitney! This is huge! I’ve been following your journey via the blog and almost jumped when you beat your goal! Great job! Way to be!

Comment by Tess — August 18, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

Awesome job! I was there running it last Sunday also, so stoked when the weather was nice and cool the whole way through! Hope to be able to follow your journey for your next race also, once you do, they can sometimes become addicting :)

Comment by Kaitlyn — August 18, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

Yay! What an awesome success story! I, too, am a Bruin, and I can totally understand the effect a USC shirt can have in that situation. I always pick an “enemy” in a race. I’m a happy, well-balanced person, I promise, but it motivates me to think, “I can’t be beat by this XX-year old, this little kid, this old man, whatever!” And it feels very good to surge past them when I do. :-) (P.S. You’re even wearing blue and yellow — intentional?)

Comment by Sarah — August 18, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

Way to go! As I am reading this I am 4 days away from my first half marathon.

Comment by Jen Hamel — August 18, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

Congrats Whitney! I’m currently training for my very 1st half marathon coming up November 20th. I’ve really enjoyed following your journey. Reading your last blog here has given me new inspiration! I keep asking myself if I can really do this…and I can. Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Candy Gladden — August 18, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

Congratulations! I have enjoyed witnessing your journey~ I’ve never ran a race before but you have inspired me and it is now on my radar!

Enjoy the rest of your summer~

Comment by Tenaya Amelia — August 18, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

Congrats Whitney, I was pulling for you to make your goal time from the East Coast! Your story has been truly inspiring, I will miss reading about your journey, I guess it’s time for all of us to get out there and create our own!

Comment by Kristina — August 19, 2010 @ 5:22 am

Thank you so much everyone! I literally have goosebumps having read your comments. Good luck to all of you in your upcoming races, and to those thinking about a race, if I can do it, I promise you can too.


Comment by Whitney — August 19, 2010 @ 6:48 am

Whitney, I’m glad you took my advice to heart, assuming you’re referring to me. A half-marathon is just like any other large goal we set, we have to break it down into smaller more manageable goals, so we don’t get overwhelmed and stay motivated.


So what’s your next goal?

Comment by Rob Medsger — August 20, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

YOU GAMER! I am so proud of you AND your Prince! I love how you prepared, pushed through, passed that darn Trojan, AND MOST IMPORTANT, sprinted through the END.

You have always been a champion in my eyes. Race or no money will always be on you Whit!

Love you Tonage,
Game On!
Zoom Zoom!
Coach Enquist-UCLA BruWin

Comment by coach enquist — August 23, 2010 @ 9:56 am

Go Whitney!!! So proud of you again! : ) Way to get it done. Miss you.

Comment by Ami — August 23, 2010 @ 6:10 pm

CONGRATULATIONS! It was awesome reading about your training, and SUPER exciting that you achieved your goal!

Comment by Becca — August 24, 2010 @ 8:28 am

Congratulations Whitney!! So proud of you! :)

I’m living vicariously through you as I battle through a knee & IT band injury preparing for my own half. Will have to put it off til next year but it’s for the best.

Really inspiring story.

Aleksandra (aka @alisaan)

Comment by Aleksandra S — September 1, 2010 @ 7:49 am

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