thirteen point one


I did it. I ran a half marathon.

{the lump near my left armpit, in case you were worried, is where I stored the balled-up gloves that I was wearing but took off during the race, not an unwieldy growth.}

The first 3 miles were exciting. “Woo! Half marathon! Life goal being completed right here, folks!

Miles 3-6 were… less so. I took my first walking break. The shiny newness of the race began to tarnish. I somehow missed seeing mile marker 5 and just kept thinking that mile 4 was the LONGEST 1600 meters ON EARTH. Right around mile 6 I took another walk break – I’m huffing it up a moderate incline when a cute girl in a pink jacket jogs past me, then turns around.


“Yes? Hi?”

“I’m Katie! I read your blog!”

“O, HI! So, uh, I should probably start running again now, huh?”


Miles 7-9 were actually pretty good. I started listening to sermons when I was training because I found one of my biggest struggles was boredom. I picked a couple of my favorites from training to listen to during the race; Mark Driscoll can PREACH, let me tell you. I found a groove and the pack had settled into our general order so the runners I was near started to develop some rapport. We danced and sang along when one of the bands on the course was playing Lady Gaga as we ran by. I had a conversation with a couple of women about Broadway musicals, of all things. Miles 7-9 were pretty fun.

Mile 10. O, mile 10, how I loathe you.

This course had a half marathon and a 10 mile race using the same path, the 10 milers just ended earlier. Talk about a downer. First of all, I’m not a violent person, but I would like to put the person responsible for the balloon arch at MILE 9.5 in a choke hold. You come up this hill and see a blow-up archway and you’re all “Hey hey! That’s 10mi right there. Last 3mi here I come!” only, nope. You get to the arch and it’s not a finish line for anyone, it’s just an arch for the heck of it and you can’t even see the 10mi marker yet from where you are. PSYCH!

Then once you finally do get close to the 10mi mark, half of the pack gets left and gets all jazzed up to finish.You and the other half marathoners stay to the right and the sad song from Charlie Brown is playing in your head as you trudge along toward ANOTHER 5K.

By this point I was pretty much jogging for 3 minutes then walking for 1 minute, repeat. Running this race was a head game for me because I knew my body could finish, it’s just that I inevitably got to the point where I didn’t want to finish anymore. That is what mile 10 did to me. Darn you, mile 10.

A really cool thing happened at mile 10, though, too. A good friend of mine (fellow mom of pre-schoolers, Bible study mate, and just plain awesome lady) recently ran the Twin Cities Marathon and she decided to do the 10mi that day for a pace test, really challenging herself. After finishing her race (much, much before I got to the 10mi finish line), she waited for me to come through, then she ran the last 3 miles of my race with me as a support.

{how cool is that? I mean, really.}

O, those last 3 miles, y’all. This is the part where I tell you that I didn’t actually eat a breakfast that morning. I don’t know. I waffled (ba dum ch!) so much between eating something for energy and not eating anything for fear of yuckiness later, and I guess I went with the not eating. Right about mile 10 I really started to regret that. I actually began talking with my friend about all the food that would be on the other side of the finish line as a means of motivating myself to get there. (How’s that for irony?)

“There will be bananas up there, right Emily?”

“Yes. There are always bananas.”

“Really great, ripe ones? Enough for me to have a few?”

“Yes. Boutiful boxes of bananas.”

“Good. Running to the bananas.”

It was kind of like how we’re called to look toward heaven while we’re here on earth so that we can ‘finish the race that’s set before us’. Am I right?

You’re thinking: Uhm, that’s kinda heretical, Allison. Heaven is not comparable to bananas after a half marathon.

And to that I say: There have been few experiences in my life more heavenly than my post-race banana. Amen and amen.


The fam, across the finish line (also post-banana consumption)

After dragging my hungry, grumpy, sore, tired, phsyched-out self through miles 11, 12, and part of 13, the last half mile was actually pretty fun. Both seeing the finish line (BANANAS!!), and another friend walking a moment with me (while wearing her baby) were encouraging. The last little bit was a blur, so much so that I didn’t see the sign that DanO and the boys made me, nor did I notice a handful of friends who had also run the race (and finished before me, obviously) cheering loudly as they announced my name and I crossed over the timing pad. I did see the smiling faces of my in-laws just across the line as I finished, and I’m pretty sure the first thing I said to them was “Where are the bananas?”

Post-race reflections:

From the very beginning of my training I had a goal: to train well and to finish the race.

Guess what? I did both!

So why the sinking feeling of dissatisfaction?

In the end my time was 2:54 and change (I actually don’t know what it was exactly, I should probably find out and write that down somewhere?) and that’s where my emotions get mixed. I guess secretly in my heart I had hoped for a better time, even though I never let myself say it out loud or even think it consciously. I do feel like I gave my all for most of the race, although I think if I’m really being honest my head got the better of my body for those last three *bleeping* miles.

{have I mentioned that I didn’t so much like the last 3 miles?}

I have decided that my half marathon experience was akin to a birthday in a couple ways. First, there was all this build up and prep and excitement leading up to it, then it was all over so quickly that it was really kind of sad to me. That evening we went and made apple pies with our family and some friends and life… kinda just went on.

But hey, wait! Guys! I just ran a half marathon! A half freaking MARATHON.

Also with birthdays, there are those times that you have in your head an image or an idea of what it is going to feel like when you get to a certain age. When I’m 25 then I’ll really feel grown-up. But then you get there and it turns out that you’re still just you and it doesn’t really feel dramatically different than yesterday. 25 seems a lot less impressive from the other side of the fence.

I guess I thought I’d cross that line and somehow feel different. Truth is, I don’t.

{and that’s ok. I’m just trying to be honest.}

One of the things this race solidified for me is that I have absolutely, positively zero ZERO ZERO interest in running a full marathon. The idea of turning around at the finish line and going back to where I started makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and cry.

I would, however, do another half. I don’t have specific plans to right now, but I think I’d like to make it a regular-ish thing. You know, when I’m not busy gestating and birthing babies. ::flips through calendar::

I also like knowing that in a few weeks time I can build up to running a 10 miler. I enjoy the trails around the lakes near our house and honestly came to love my long runs by the end of my training. That’s something I will hold onto from this experience. Knowing that I can get to the point where running is something that I enjoy is a good truth to keep in my pocket for those low-motivation times.

I think to sum it up I’ll say this: If I can do it, you can do it.

And I mean that will all my banana-loving heart.

29 Responses to “thirteen point one”

  1. Brandy

    Congrats! It is impressive! I think it is funny you were craving bananas after the race…I was running to the pizza stand!

  2. Heather @ a young wifes tale

    Wow! that’s great. You did it. It may seem like life goes back to normal. I have a friend that ran a half marathon and every time i see her marathon photos on facebook or see her wearing her shirt, I have immense respect and it’s so motivating. So just know that you are giving us all that gentle nudge that we need. And, look at it this way, if the world really did turn in to zombie land you have a pretty good chance of outliving all of us… because you could out run us :)

  3. Erin

    One thing I would say about running is don’t push yourself… there’s no shame in moving backwards and running 5ks until you feel like those are easy, then moving onto 10ks, then tackling a half-marathon again. Your body will still retain the muscle memory that you built up, while working on owning the last three miles of the next half-marathon! I tend to double training schedules, which I know probably seems crazy and slow to people, but it’s helped me gain speed and endurance, while being able to tackle the long runs and not feel sore or strained afterward (although hilariously, I felt sore after the last 5k I did, go figure!). That’s what works for me and my body, though, and yours may be entirely different. The important question is, did you get your 13.1 car decal yet?

  4. michelleJ

    yay! I have so been waiting for your race report. Yes, I think about the finish-line food too and also use that as motivation. If you ever, uh, find yourself in the Houston area (??) (or if I am ever up that way!) I would love to run with you.

  5. Jenny

    Yeah!! Way to go!! That is so awesome, and I am beyond impressed. I am in the last days of training for my first 5K (I am doing the turkey day 5K in Minneapolis) and I can’t imagine running 10K. Very, very impressive.

  6. Becky

    Congratulations!! I’ve read your blog for a while and really enjoy it. I thought I’d come out of lurk-dom and let you know I am impressed that you found time to train with not one but TWO little ones at home!

    I go to Mars Hill and you’re right about Driscoll! Some of those sermons will make you pick up the pace! :) Which one(s) were you listening to?

    Again, congrats and many bananas to you!

  7. Kate

    Do you know what’s crazy????!!! I just finished my first half-marathon about a month ago and we finished in the same amount of time!!! And EVERY single thing you said about each mile and how you felt was EXACTLY what it was like for me!! I kind of felt like I was reading what I would have said about the experience! So crazy! But congrats- What an amazing accomplishment!! WAY TO GO GIRL!!!!

  8. Jessica

    You’re amazing :) It’s so awesome to finish something you worked so hard for, and on top of it you have such a great way of telling your stories :)

    Also now *I* want a banana, and I kind of want to go try to run or something. Except for the whole 39 weeks pregnant thing. In a few months!!

  9. Vanessa

    Yay Alison! And I totally get the banana/heaven analogy. Totally. :)
    One day I will run a 1/2 marathon. Maybe even a marathon! Booyar.

  10. Stephanie Hanes

    As I finish eating my banana…(seriously, I did just eat a banana – yum!)…YOU GO GIRL!!! Seriously, what an amazing accomplishment. You give me inspiration – if you can do it I CAN DO IT! I just finished my first ever 5K (decide an injury that kept me from training well and even from running most of the race) and it was the best feeling ever to know I accomplished something I set out to do – a huge challenge for me too! My next goal is a 10K…and then a half marathon. Oh my – I can’t believe I’m actually thinking about it…me, the girl who always hated running. Suddenly I LOVE it!

  11. Kaitlin Cole

    I am so proud of you and you are inspiring me. I have my 2nd due in 3 weeks and can’t wait to get the all clear to run! Also, I live in Seattle and I am a HUGE Mark Driscoll fan!! It warms my heart to hear he is loved (because he can start SO much controversy here:)

  12. Annie

    Way to rock it! I am impressed you were able to train and run with two littles at home. And that you *like* running now!?! I tried running at one point and did not like it. But I wasn’t training for something. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Shannon

    Can you please please tell us all HOW you completed this awesome feat? (is that even how it’s spelled? beats me!) you are so completely awesome. and even more awesome for running a half marathon. I have 20 baby pounds that *will not* come off – still nursing, though, so I’m hoping my body is one of those weird ones that holds onto weight until I wean her. Anyway, point is – I would love to run! You are my inspiration :)

    • AllisonO

      I am 800% serious when I say that if I can do it, you can do it. My body is a nursing weight holder, too. In fact, I have lost depressingly little weight through this whole process. Fortunately, that wasn’t my goal. My goal was to run it and I did. xoxo

  14. abby

    You are awesome!! I’m so impressed! The morning you ran your half, I ran a 5k and honestly I can’t imagine having run the half! Keep up the great work!

  15. Elaine

    I’m over here training for one as we speak but I’m doing it 2 years post-partum, not like 5 months. I am in AWE of you Allison!!!! You’re amazing and strong and I’m just beaming for you over here. SO MANY congratulations! YOU ROCKED IT girl!! xoxo

  16. Ran

    You go, girl!! Running a half by yourself is no small accomplishment. So proud of you. Love, Ran

  17. Cheryl

    Congrats! What an amazing accomplishment! Ok – everytime I hear Mark Driscoll I think about my Mother in Law – She has had more than one of his kids in her class – He is an awesome preacher.

  18. DARCIE

    It’s almost embarrassing how far behind I am in my blog reading – but, day by day, post by post, I’m tackling the ones I do want to cover…
    So, here I am…
    And WOW!
    I think it’s awesome…and amazing…
    Way to Go!

  19. Gina

    Stumbled across your post about finishing your half marathon as I’m training for my first one. Bless your banana-loving heart! Is there a way to follow you on wordpress, I can’t find the follow button!


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