91 Thoughts During a Half Marathon I Didn’t Train For

This past weekend, I visited Verona, Italy.  I coordinated this trip so it fell on the same weekend as the Verona Marathon/Half Marathon/10k.  I had been planning on doing the 1/2 for many months…since before I even ventured over here to Italy.  I had training runs all planned out. But then, most of them didn’t happen for one reason or another.  I ran occasionally, maybe once a week, and usually around 3 or 4 miles with my longest run being 6….not at all prepared for 13.1 miles. And before I knew it, the day of my 10th half marathon was upon me and my brain was all over the place, unsure of what to do.

  1. I shouldn’t do it. I’ll just go visit the city sights
  2. Well I already paid for it so I should at least go pick up my race packet and free shirt
  3. Oh look, my name is on the wall with the other half marathoners!Verona Half Marathon
  4. Look at all the people! Ahh I miss running races.
  5. These are my people
  6. Wow, this is a nice race bib. They even put my country on here! I feel like an Olympian Jen Runs Verona
  7. Maybe I should run the race anyway and see what happens
  8. Let me Google this, I’m sure other people have run without training
  9. That was a bad idea.
  10. Cardiac arrest?! Cardiac arrest is a possibility if your heart is not trained for this
  11. Well, it’s not like I’ve just rolled off the couch. I have a little experience
  12. I’ll just run intervals. I’ll be ok.
  13. But what if I die here in Italy?
  14. Plus I am feeling a bit of a sore throat. What if I just make it worse?
  15. I’ll sleep on it and decide in the morning
  16. Ok I couldn’t sleep and am up early so I might as well stretch just in case
  17. I’ll just get dressed and head down to the start and then I will decide
  18. An old woman just passed me, looked at my race bib, and said “Brava!” I can’t let her down
  19. It’s a little chilly out this morning, it’s actually pretty good running weather.
  20. Ahhh! So many people!
  21. These are serious athletesVerona Marathon
  22. I think I am the only one wearing a cotton shirt
  23. I think I am the only American
  24. It would be sad if the only American decided not to run
  25. I wonder if I can switch to the 10k
  26. ‘Did Not Finish’ is better than ‘Did Not Start’
  27. I’ll just run as long as I can and then quit
  28. The race is about to start. I’d better get to the start line
  29. There are a lot more spectators than I thought there would be. That is kind of cool!
  30. Well, I think I’m in the correct corral, I can’t really tell.
  31. Oh! We’re moving! I’m really doing it! I’m running the world!
  32. Ok well, I haven’t really done it yet, but I’ve started
  33. I know I can make it at least 6 miles without any trouble
  34. Running on cobblestone streets is harder than I thought
  35. My nose is running already
  36. Juliet’s balcony is just down that road and to the right!
  37. Oooh! A vineyard!
  38. Oooh! A castle!
  39. Not as many spectators outside of the city center
  40. At least there are a lot of police and medics every ¼ mile or so…just in case of cardiac arrest
  41. Ok the 10k turns off up there. The ½ and full marathon keep straight
  42. What if I just take the 10k route and say I made a mistake?
  43. But the 10k runners don’t receive a medal
  44. But my bib does say half marathon on it. Maybe they’ll give me a medal anyway
  45. But I didn’t really EARN it. I’ll always know
  46. Ugh ok. Continuing forward
  47. Ooooh! A vineyard!
  48. I’m glad Verona is not very hillyVerona Half Marathon
  49. Ok halfway there!
  50. My nose is still running. I wonder if any of these police officers has a tissue
  51. How do you say “tissue” in Italian?
  52. Whatever, I’ll just keep using my sleeve
  53. Ok! Mile 8! Only 5 more to go!
  54. I’m getting tired now
  55. I can’t stop coughing
  56. Oh there is a van that says “servizio ritorno”…I could just get in there and they will drive me to the finish
  57. But then I still wouldn’t get the medal.
  58. I guess I’ll keep going
  59. Oooh! A vineyard!
  60. Ugh! My nose!!
  61. I definitely need to change my shirt as soon as possible.
  62. Why do these water stops serve tea?
  63. I would give anything for some Gatorade
  64. The 15k mark! Only 6k more to go.
  65. That’s just a little bit more than 3 miles. I can handle that.
  66. So if I can maintain a 10 min mile pace, I only have 30+ more minutes
  67. Which still wouldn’t be my worst half marathon time
  68. I wonder how many people are behind me?
  69. Ugh a photographer.
  70. He really should have been at the beginning of the race when I looked a little better
  71. Oooh vineyard!
  72. Ok if I just walk the rest of the way, I will still be able to make it before the 3 hour time limit.
  73. Oh people are watching. Gotta run
  74. Ooooh a castle!Verona Half Marathon
  75. I just realized I did not see a single spectator sign throughout this entire race.
  76. Maybe that’s an American thing?
  77. Keep. Going.
  78. *cough cough*
  79. I got this! Only 1 more mile!!
  80. WOW! All the spectators are still here!! Lining the streets!
  81. Everybody is cheering!!
  82. I can’t see the finish, but it must be close
  83. There it is!!!
  84. Yay! I did it!
  85. The announcer called my name AND pronounced it correctly!
  86. Give me that medal!
  87. I can’t feel my legs!
  88. Where are the post-race refreshments?
  89. I would do anything for a banana and water right now.
  90. For real, nothing?
  91. Oh well, I guess it’s time for me to take a selfie next to this ancient arena Jen Runs Verona

So, I ran the race, didn’t die, and got my medal.  My legs/knees hurt so badly the day after and I did, in fact, make my cold much worse by running.  I did not go to work the following day and stairs quickly became my worst enemy.  I would absolutely NOT recommend what I did to anyone.  But I’m pretty impressed with both my mental toughness and my healing capabilities, as my muscles were good as new 2 days later.  In the end, I am glad I did it and it was definitely a great way to see Verona!

~ Jen

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