February 17, 2014

I Ran a Half Marathon!

Let's Move! | Grown-up Shoes

Ballet Dancers Rehearse, by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1936

On Sunday morning I woke up around 5 AM, along with 18,000 other people, and ran 13.1 miles. It was the furthest I’ve ever run by a full four miles! The first time our group met to train, about seven months ago, we ran two miles and I thought I was going to keel over. It was so hard! I’d love to tell you more about the training, why I now love waking up early and running on Saturdays, and how it totally changed my approach to exercise and fitness.

I should first tell you that I’m not someone who considers themselves a runner. I was most excited about joining because it meant I could justify buying some Lululemon pants and catch up with Meagan for an hour on Saturday mornings. But then I really started loving it. I loved our group of people of all ages and walks of life, all body types and experience levels. I loved that we got up when it was still dark on Saturdays and met to run 3, 5, 6, 11 miles together as a group.

Meagan and I talked our way through seven months of running—through job offers, her new baby girl, all five seasons of Breaking Bad, my struggles and success with freelance work, birthdays, party planning, and the ups and downs of everyday life. And we made new friends who shared with us about their wedding plans, their bad knees, their Match.com profile pictures and their summer vacations. In a way, it felt like a support group for everyday life. Each week, no matter what had happened Monday through Friday, on Saturday morning I would wake up and meet with this group and we would run and laugh and struggle together.

It was amazing how quickly the time went by, before I knew it we had run a few miles and it was time for breakfast tacos. It made me realize that my workout routines need to be fun, that I push myself way more when I’m with a group, and that having a friend to hold me accountable makes all the difference in whether or not I even show up. So, even though we’ll take a break from training until September, I’m going to keep those things in mind as I start to build an off-season routine for the spring and summer. I’m thinking a yoga class, a jog with a friend and some tennis with Adam sounds like a fun, sustainable weekly routine.

There were some great signs out yesterday but the one I loved most was “I’m proud of you, random stranger.” It was funny, but it was also true. I felt proud of everyone that was out there doing this amazing thing, and to hear strangers cheering me on when I wanted to quit gave me chills. Here it is: running with a group reminds me that we’re all in this together. Not just this run, but this life. In our current world of constant distraction we’re hardly making time to meet someone new much less give a kind word to a stranger. So often we’re far too concerned with making plans, being busy, proving and comparing ourselves to make real connections with others. What a relief it is to stop and see our sameness. To take just a minute on Saturday morning to remember that we’re all in this together.

Wherever you’re from, whatever you look like, whatever you do for a living—I’m proud of you, random stranger.



  • Brittany K  / 

    Love this so much! I have found a love for running in the past year after 23 years of being completely un-athletic. So excited for you and your journey! I’m proud of you, random stranger!


  • Nomadic D.  / 

    Congratulations!!! What a thrill! I ran my first race last summer (a 5K only, nothing like a half-marathon, but still a huge accomplish,net for me) and I was shocked at all the emotions and excitement and camaraderie that came just from participating in the event. I didn’t even talk to anyone there, but just being in that pack of humans, all doing the same thing, it was exhilarating in a way I never expected. Health reasons have kept me away from running for a while now but I look forward to getting back into it, and the idea of a training group like the one you had is such a great one! You go girl!



  • Meagan  / 

    Love this and love you!


    Ana Perkins / February 18th, 2014 at 9:02 am



  • Natalie Melchiorre  / 

    Congratulations! What an amazing accomplishment and commitment. Any tips on where to find such a group?


    Ana Perkins / February 18th, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Thank you! I trained with Austin Fit, which I really loved if you’re in Austin: http://www.austinfit.com/

    If you’re not in the area, I think just stopping by a local running store (we have Luke’s Locker here in TX that sponsors Austin Fit and similar programs in different cities), they’ll probably have a particular group or a list of groups for you to look into. Good luck!!


    Natalie Melchiorre / February 18th, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Yay! I found one in Phoenix. Training doesn’t start until August though :(


  • celine  / 

    What a beautiful post. It made me tear up reading it. I’ve always told myself I could never even run a 5k, but you’re inspiring me. congrats on such a great achievement!


    Ana Perkins / February 18th, 2014 at 9:06 am

    You can totally do it!! Thanks for the support!


  • Molly Porter  / 

    congratulations! that is a great accomplishment. i hope to run in the austin marathon next year. great idea to join a group!


  • Bonnie  / 

    Yay! Y’all are badasses!!

    I fell in love with running when I trained for the Austin Marathon last year. I actually just joined Austin Fit to get my speed back up after being pregnant and to prepare me for my first marathon next fall.


  • mike  / 

    I agree 13.1 is the right balance of challenge confidence adventure that can continue to be successfully run well into retirement (im 45) In OK we have 2 opportunities (1 fall and 1 spring) to marathon Is a tale of 2 cities OKC/Tulsa for running. Then we go to TX to run for a change of scenery.


  • Ivory  / 

    We fell in love with fitness and training years ago! Thanks for posting. Very nice.


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