Why First Half Marathons Are Just The Best

No matter how many races you've run or will run, the first one is always one to remember.

Photo: Justin McChesney-Wachs
Photo: Justin McChesney-Wachs

For Stacy Mahoney, she was lucky enough to have some pro advice from a coach, nutritionist and sports psychologist as part of an article in our July issue before running the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon. But she still had to carry herself through her training and all 13.1 miles. Stacy did a fantastic job and shared her top memories. Some are racing regulars that are definitely cool to experience for the first time:

1. Running with a partner: Having someone to run with while training and on race day makes running so much more fun. Stacy trained with me, first for the Hot Chocolate 15K, then for the half marathon.

2. Cheering spectators: “I loved the energy from the various people,” says Stacy, who especially enjoyed seeing her neighbors and family cheering her on.

3. Being a role model for children: After seeing so many kids with their families alongside the course, Stacy hopes  seeing all the runners inspires them one day to take up the sport.

4. Music on the course: Stacy enjoyed the music on course, particularly toward the end, where tunes were amplified and echoing in a tunnel—along with flashing lights. Talk about a grand first-half-marathon finish!

5. A vacation didn’t derail the race: All her walking and little running during a pre-race trip to Europe worked out as she ran/walked the race in a respectable 2:45:43. “My vacation did not hinder my run as much as I thought it might.”

6. Motivational signs: Not only are they encouraging, but Mahoney says they also give you something to read to distract you from how much farther you have to run.

7. Inspired to run farther: “I’m not ready for a full but would like to do another half and hopefully be a little quicker,” Stacy says, adding that she’d like to up her usual go-to run to 5 miles instead of 3—and decrease walk breaks.

8. Dreaming of more races: For her next 13.1, Stacy is looking out of town. She says, “It encourages me more because I like to travel.”