The First 13.1 Miles

By Anna Hiran
Distinguished Young Woman of Texas for 2013

In my previous blog post, I made a promise and said that I would finish my first half marathon no matter how long it would take. On February 16, I completed my first 13.1 miles in 2 hours, 9 minutes, and 7 seconds. Those 2 hours gave me a lot of time to think, and I really enjoyed the early morning because of the all the entertaining signs people were holding up to cheer on the runners. I thought it would be best to make a top ten list of what I learned during my first half marathon because completing it was definitely life-changing!

  1. The hardest part is getting started. I’ll truthfully admit that I did not enjoy the first 3 miles of the run, but once I reached mile 4, it got much easier. I started enjoying the scenery and discovered new places as I ran through the city of Austin.
  2. It’s a lot easier to run if you’re smiling! It completely changes your attitude and makes those 2 hours more bearable.
  3. Be sure to fuel properly beforehand to avoid getting tired too quickly. I woke up at 5:00 am to have an early breakfast and ate a good bowl of oatmeal with berries and soy milk.
  4. Socks can make or break your run. I used a pair of extra squishy socks and didn’t get a single blister on either foot!
  5. Have a playlist that will keep you motivated throughout the run. I love listening to songs by Lady Gaga because they all have great beats that match my tempo of running.
  6. Water is magical! Being outside in Texas for long periods of time can definitely be dehydrating, so I always make sure I drink tons of water to be safe.
  7. Take care of your body. I know this one sounds really obvious, but be sure not to push yourself too hard! I had four short walking periods throughout those 13.1 miles so that I could give my knees time to recover from any pounding I might have been doing.
  8. Running is a “mind over matter” activity. Never think the word “can’t” during a half marathon because it creates doubt. Have belief in yourself and draw in the positive energy coming from the crowd for fuel!
  9. Take advantage of the free massage services they have available at the finish line. It significantly reduces soreness, and your body will appreciate it the next morning. I also find that drinking black coffee after running helps muscle recovery, but the effect is different for everyone, so do what’s best for you!
  10. Don’t be afraid to try it again. My personal goal was to finish within 3 hours, and I surprisingly finished in a little over 2 hours. Now my goal for the next half marathon is under 2 hours, and I’m going to continue working toward that for the next few weeks. As my roommate likes to say, the difference between try and triumph is a little “umph!”

Anna Hiran is a college freshman at The University of Texas in Austin, Texas majoring in Business Honors. Originally from Houston, Texas, Anna was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Texas for 2013. Learn more about Anna here!

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