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Why First Half Marathons Are Just The Best

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.”

Nicki Miller

Nicki Miller

Nicki Miller is the managing editor for Women's Running and spearheads our nutrition coverage. She’s an avid runner but also loves cycling (both on and off-road), yoga and all kinds of crazy videos to do at home. Formerly the editor of Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, Nicki started her journalism career at The Washington Post. Her first races were duathlons (run, bike, run) in her twenties with her husband, and then triathlons, completing the White Lake Half Ironman in North Carolina. Since joining Women’s Running in 2013, she’s been more focused on half marathons and trail running. Some of her proudest moments have been running the Boston Marathon (first 26.2), and becoming an RRCA certified running coach and helping others take up the sport.