Recovering From My First Half Marathon

Updated: Mar 31, 2012 – Added pictures of me during the race.

I just finished my first half marathon last Saturday. Woot!

This marks the official completion of one of my 2012 Finish Year goals.

With my left ankle hurting and my shoulder muscles sore (from running – who knew), it’s time to chronicle this event for praise and ridicule.


Training for my First Half Marathon was quite the bumpy journey. Feel free to read more about it in my previous post about it.

During the Run

On the bus ride up to the starting point, I sat next to a late-50’s/early-60’s man who has run 30-40 half marathons and will be doing his 30th marathon in a year or so.

Seeing so many older runners was probably one of the coolest things about doing this run.

Another cool thing is being in a port-a-potty when you hear everyone cheer as the starter gun goes off.

Time to go…

Mile 1-2

If there was one thing I heard a lot as I was preparing, it was to take it easy. I have to tell you though, when there is a ton of people surrounding you, it was hard for me not to get a head of the person in front of me.

My shins kept me from going all out though. They were flaring up and so my first goal was to warm them up and take it easy until they felt better…which they did during my second mile.

Mile 3-5

Right before mile 3, I met up with another first-timer, Corrine (or Cory). She was very nice to run with me because it really helped me. If one thing I learned from this run is that it’s much easier to keep a pace and more fun when you have someone running with you.

Cory and I met up with the 2:20 pacers and stayed there for a while. Danny was one of the pacers and he had TONS of energy. He was running left and right, up and down with the 2:20 runners. I learned from his sister later that he normally runs a 1:40.

Danny also gave me a couple of Cliff shots around mile 4, so he’s definitely on my awesome list.

Mile 5

The longest race I had done before this one was The 25th Annual Turkey Trot 5 Mile Run.

When I reached 5 miles during this race, it was a much different feeling than when I ran the Turkey Trot. Before it was more of a “wow, I made it” and now it was “really, is that all?” Granted, I wasn’t running as hard as I did during the 5 mile run.

Mile 5-8

When running a race like this, there are water stations every two miles. How about a beer and donut station? It was pretty funny to see some campers hanging out on a big rock, cheering us runners on, with a table of beer and donuts for us.

I cheered them back, but the thought of any of that after running 5 miles and 8 miles to go almost made me throw up.

At mile 6, we were given Cliff Gel for nutrition. I’m not a gel fan, but I didn’t have any gummy cube shots with me. Boy was it hard to get down.

My stomach was not feeling good for the next half mile or so, but I was glad the feeling went away.

With a happy tummy, I started noticing that my right shoe was rubbing against my skin. I stopped to pull up my socks. It looked good, but I am definitely getting longer socks next time.

Around mile 8 was a sad moment – I fell behind my running buddy Cory. I was just running out of steam and I couldn’t keep up.

Mile 8-10

Without someone to run with and wanting to be done, I began to do some walking. I tried to keep it at a quick pace, because I knew if I rested too much it would be killer to get back to running.

Walking up a hill with an older lady, I looked up and saw a camera guy. So I said, “Camera guy! Let’s go!” The older lady and I picked up the pace and started jogging to make a good show.

As we got closer to the guy, what I thought looked like a camera was actually a cow bell as he was encouraging us on.

The older lady and I laughed and started walking again until we got to the top of the hill. She accused me to tricking her, but she was smiling.

Approaching mile 10 was fun because the Canyonlands Half Marathon has a group of drummers that help your heart beat to the rhythm of their drums. It was cool.

Mile 10-12

Around mile 10, the 2:30 pacers caught up with me and I tried to stay with them. It was at that moment that I realized that 2:30 was my original goal. For a while, I thought 1:30 was maybe what I wanted to do, but that is crazy fast and not what I can do right now.

I stuck with them for several minutes and found out that one of the pacers was the sister of Danny (one of the 2:20 pacers).

After the 2:30 pacers past me up, the race turned onto SR 191. Oh boy!

The wind was blasting sand in my face for the next 2 miles.

I think I walked a total of 3 miles and most of it was done here. I was tired, my feet and body wanted to stop, and I was hungry.

I kept going.

Mile 12-13.1

The final stretch.

I thought I could kick in some energy reserves to jog the whole last mile, but it only took me about half way.

All I could think about was being done and I didn’t want to stop moving until I was there. Those are two conflicting thoughts.

Right before the last bend, the 2:40 pacers caught up with me and I was able to stay with them.

They must have had a GPS or something because sometimes they would slow down to keep the pace. I didn’t mind. 🙂

I was able to pick up the pace for the finish line, which was a little odd because I came in at 2:43:27. I thought I would be closer to 2:40 since I was right ahead of the pacers.

I averaged a 12:12 pace.

Right After

After the race, I wanted to sit down, but I wanted to get over to my wife before I did so I wouldn’t have to get up again.

I decided to get my picture taken on my way to the water. I’ll post it here when I get it.

While in line for bananas, oranges, chocolate milk, etc, I was feeling my right ankle again.

I looked down and saw that my shoe had dug into the back of my ankle and it was bleeding. Now I was aware of it and it started hurting more.

I was feeling okay except for my right ankle. So after eating, getting blister help, and treatment for my bleeding ankle, I washed the sand off my hands and face and headed towards the car.

I really wanted to just lie down, but we had to get home. I was glad my wife was there to drive me.

Going up stairs was a little scary because my knees were not working at 100%.

Post-Race – Day One

Surprise, I slept in. My knees felt better although the arch of my right foot was very sore. My shoulders also started to be really sore.

I kept eating protein and carbs and drinking Gatorade type drinks.

Post-Race – Day Two

I went to the gym and swam for 10 minutes to get my muscles moving again. It actually felt pretty good.

Today’s aches are my left ankle (it must have migrated from my right because it feels better now) and my lower back.

I’m wondering if I’ll have a new pain tomorrow. I get hungry faster and I can’t wait to eat again.

Final Thoughts

I’m very happy that I accomplished this goal and finished the race.

I’m a little bummed because my intramural soccer tournament game is scheduled for this Wednesday and I’m afraid that’s too soon.

The Provo Half Marathon is May 5th and it’s tempting me.


What am I missing as a newbie runner? What did I do right?

Moab Half Marathon Pictures of Me – Click Here

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  • Caratobey

    I think you did a lot of things right. You finished alive. Things I learned from my first half to my second were similar to what you have experienced. I got better socks and that made a huge difference. I had wrapped my toes and ankles with tape the first time and because my socks were better the second, I didn’t and didn’t need to. You didn’t mention if you drank at every opportunity. I would definitely recommend that you do. I also poured water over me after drinking each time. I started using a pace group the second time, then found I was better off keeping my own pace but keeping an eye on where they were especially in the second half. It was motivational for me to be ahead of them for the first half and within eyeshot the second. At one point(mile 10) I overtook them again but then because in Nashville there were 2 killer hills after that, I ended up 3 minutes behind them. Paying attention to your stomach is good. I find that if mine hurts, I’m going too fast so I back off just a bit until it doesn’t hurt. I personally would not be recouped enough to play soccer but you are way younger so if you can call when you need to get out, try it. I, too, am eyeing a half on May 5th in Columbus.

  • Congrats Joel! You seemed energetic today, so I would have never known of your awesome accomplishment. While I am not planning to do any half marathons, I would be interested in talking with you about your training. Again, great job!

  • Mike

    Congratulations Tobey!  My wife is training for the SLC half, so I can empathize with you a little.  I have been really proud of her hard work.  I have refused to do any exercise during school; good for you for accomplishing a great feat!  

    • Doesn’t foosball count as exercise?

  • I ended up playing soccer last night. It was great and I was able to run more during the game thanks to my training.

    Oh, and I found out my official chip time was 2:39:49, which makes more sense since I was slightly ahead of the 2:40:00 pacers.

  • Jenessa E

    CONGRATS Joel!!!  I wish I had been there (I was supposed to be, but injured my foot a few weeks ago).  I LOVE half marathons: it’s long enough to be challenging, but not so long (like a full or an iron man) that it is devastating.  Plus, all the crowds and hoopla is really energizing and inspiring!  You’ll become addicted- half marathons are so fun and you feel such a huge sense of accomplishment!

  • Emily Tobey

    Ditto to mom’s “Drink every time you can!” comment….I usually take a really big swig and hold it in my mouth for a while, swallow in little bits.  Feels like you’re drinking a bunch but doesn’t make you sick.

    I would say that my advice is just force yourself to make time for the training runs…especially the long weekend ones.  It really makes all the difference when you’re good and trained up.  And then when you get good and trained up, you can go longer stretches between long runs and still STAY trained up.  Which is nice.

    I’ve found that being registered for a race is good motivation.  It’s easy for me in my crazy busy life to have running be the thing that “gives” because it’s about me, and I’m not accountable for it the way I am school or work or mothering.  But when you have a long race looming on the horizon, you know you better keep at it or you’ll have an awful run!

  • Dave A Stuart

    Marathons are something I don’t do, but I have great respect for those who do. Running just isn’t my thing, but I can keep up with my wife, and she is a good runner, just not recently, since we’re expecting. But boy do we ever exercise the landlord’s dog! We walk him everywhere!

  • I finally got some pictures up of me during the race. Enjoy.