Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Highlights From A First Timer

Linda and Emily enjoying their race

by Linda Miskho

Last Saturday I ran my first half marathon --  The Phoenix Half Marathon.   This was a big thing for me.  Okay this was a HUGE thing for me.  Why?  Because up until a year and a half ago, if someone had asked me if I would ever run a half marathon I would have looked them straight in the eye, laughed a little and then with all seriousness said something like, "I'm not a runner, I hate running, I have bad knees and I have no desire."  In fact, that was the same response I gave a year and a half ago when I was asked to participate on a Ragnar team with 11 awesome women, Lorie Tucker being one of them.  How grateful I am for the power of friendship and a purpose!  Running has become a source of strength for me. 

I don't remember the day that I actually went from hating to run to enjoying it,  but I remember one experience that changed my perspective and has helped me through many runs.  I love running east down Lehi Road in Mesa.  I love that run because I can see the beauty of Red Mountain and the other mountains in the distance.  I love the orange groves.   I remember being so grateful to Heavenly Father for his beautiful creations. And then I had the distinct impression that I should be just as grateful for the ability to be able to run.  I don't have to run but I have the gift of a healthy body and I get to run.  Gratitude

The first thought I had about the possibility of running  a half marathon came to me during a ten-mile leg I had during the So. Cal. Ragnar.  Three weeks before the race my relay leg changed from 4.6 miles to 10.  Who does that to someone?  What a blessing that turned out to be.  I remember during that run thinking how good I felt.  Could I do three more miles?  Could I really do a half marathon? 

The Phoenix Half Marathon was the perfect course for me.  I remember checking out the website and looking at the course map.  We would start and  run right by my neighborhood.  How cool would that be to have my family out front cheering me on?  I was excited about a new goal to train for after Ragnar.   This was definitely one of the most strengthening, powerful experiences in my life. Here are a few tips, tricks and highlights from a "first timer".

Goal: When I first signed up, my initial goal was just to finish the race and enjoy it and not worry about finishing by a certain time.  But as I trained and got stronger I realized that setting speed goals gave me a sense of strength and accomplishment.  I started timing my individual runs and once or twice a week I would try and improve by pace.  Toward the end of training I set a goal for myself that I would like to finish the half under two hours.  I felt a nine-minute-per-mile pace would be challenging.  Two weeks before race day, my running partner, Emily and I set out to run the course as a practice run.  We completed it at a pace of 8:45 per mile.   We were under two hours!  Emily said adrenaline will help us go faster.  We might be able to do 8:30!  At the start of the race we were fast, under an eight-min-mile pace.  Honestly, toward the end at mile 10 I felt like I couldn't get a deep breath.  I remember thinking that when I saw the finish line I would really cry because this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  I remember seeing the clock at the finish line and it was all worth it.  1:49.23 an 8:21 mile pace.  Since I'm a first timer any time would have been a personal record but I really knew that it was a PR for me.

Running Friends: I truly could not have run this race without training partners.  I think, actually for me, training was the highlight because of my great partners.  We laughed, complained, planned and motivated each other.  Seriously -- when its only 35 degrees out, you need friends that rely on each other to get you out of bed.  We had great therapy sessions!  On race day Emily and I ran together.  She had run 4 marathons and did the Phoenix Half last year.  She was such a source of strength.  When I would tell her that I was struggling, she would say "Breathe, we got this" or "You're doing great." I needed her.

Training:  We used the Hal Higdon Training, intermediate program for the most part.  It was great to have a guideline to go by, however,  we modified or added miles as we needed.  I did strength training two to three times a week and crossed trained some on the mountain bike.  The part I wasn't so great with was stretching and I realized a little too late how important that step was.  After long runs my hamstrings would be so tight that it was hard to sit for long periods of time.  I'll do better with this next time.

Phoenix Marathon Race:  Being a first timer and not really being able to compare it with anything but the Ragnar, I absolutely thought it was well planned and a great course.  I loved running through neighborhoods and downtown Mesa.  The volunteer aid stations were spaced out perfectly.  My favorite was the finish line and runner's area.  It was organized and the volunteers were amazing.  Words of congratulations were everywhere.  It really made you feel special.   

Now that the race is over I am left with the same feeling I had after Ragnar of "What's next?"  I need something to keep emotionally and physically strong.  As Lorie would say "Dream Big".  That is kind of scary!  Maybe the half marathon again?  Maybe the full?  One My favorite quotes:


  1. This is very cool! Wish I lived closer to that Lorie Tucker!

  2. Way to go Linda! I am so proud of you!!! You are awesome!

  3. I LOVED reading this! Linda, you are such a great writer! Thank you for penning my thoughts exactly! Loved being your running partner...Correction: I needed YOU!! Printed off your final quote for further reflection and to share with my kids...it's a good one!
    Love you! And love your blog, Lorie!

  4. ok i dont have your phone number or address i need both 602-330-5602 text it to me


Que lindo es sonar despierto.
How lovely it is to dream while you are awake.

Dreams That Have Come True