Gallowayed: How I Ran, No Walked, No Ran My First Half-Marathon

Gallowayed: How I Ran, No Walked, No Ran My First Half-Marathon

All in all, I feel okay about my first half-marathon. I learned a lot. I know part of what I did wrong was to start with a slower group than I should have—if the people around me had been running instead of walking, the competitive side of me would've kicked in sooner, and I would've stuck to my correct run/walk/run ratio for longer. I drank too much water when I started to get tired. It wasn't that hot, and I wasn't sweating that hard. I maybe should consider the fact that I'm forty and have carried a baby to term and run wearing a Poise pad or something. I should ask my husband and daughter to cheer for me at the eleven-mile mark, not at the end. I don't need cheerleaders at the end; I need them when I'm DYING. I should train on the actual course during my long training runs so I know what to expect and how to gauge my energy. I should maybe think about trying those goo packs around the last few miles to rejuvinate my energy. And I should do a more serious training program than just-to-finish, which is what I did this time. That said, I finished and didn't barf, like the woman who vomited her way across the finish line two people behind me, unfortunately caught on camera by my husband in a play-by-play set of three priceless photos.

The best thing I think about the run/walk/run method for me was the psychological piece: I always knew I was within ten minutes of another walk break. The second-best thing: I really think it saved me from hurting myself more. I weathered the plantar fasciitis with only a week off from running, and the day after my race I felt fine. Two days after is today, and that's usually the worst sore for me, and I feel fine other than to-be-expected hamstring soreness. At forty, my highest priority is not hurting myself, and I really think inserting walk breaks helped me a lot. We'll find out if I'm able to correct my other mistakes on November 15: my next half-marathon.

Rock the Parkway medal

My Precious

Have you ever run a road race? What's your method?

Rita Arens is the author of the young adult novel The Obvious Game & the deputy editor of Find more at

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