I have run over a dozen half marathons in the last 5 years.
I’ve written about a lot of them in my blog, Running For My Life, and annoyed my friends with the constant tales from my training and from the races themselves.
I’ve encouraged many to become runners and by others been told that if I bring up the running thing one more time they’re disowning me.
But one time, I did something in a half that I’d never done before.
I WALKED the whole thing.
It wasn’t because I wasn’t trained – I was and could have easily done the distance but my friend, Sara, had an IT band that was giving her fits and although she had hoped to run, just a mile in we realized it wasn’t happening.
She, of course, told me to go ahead, but you know what?
I’ve run a lot of half and full marathons. And I really love Sara and wanted to hang out with her. So we made the decision, made our way to the side of the road to stay out of people’s ways, and walked the whole darn thing.
And I had A BLAST.
Here’s the good:
- We could really laugh and talk and take it all in. We weren’t strolling, mind you, we were focused, but walking you can solve the problems of the world and also stop to take plenty of pics with characters. Loved that.
- We actually didn’t sweat all that much. I mean, hear me, we weren’t pristine at the end, but we both looked pretty good. Not that drowned rat look I typically have after running a half.
- We felt GREAT at the end. We headed to the race retreat and hung out and honestly had plenty of energy to enjoy the rest of the day.
- We got the same medal and the same shirt and the same perks as everybody else. And felt a ton better.
- We never felt like we didn’t belong (well, at least not by race organizer. See below). There were plenty of other walkers (this may not be true of all races so definitely check to see if a race is walker friendly).
But there was some bad:
- People can be JERKS. Here’s what I wrote about that part in my blog right after the event “RANT having never been a walker in one of these races, I totally get now those that gripe about how rude the “runners” can be! Sara and I were very careful to move to the side although sometimes we’d get caught in the middle, and the number of snarky remarks we were blessed to hear was truly ridiculous. GET OVER YOURSELF, LADIES! I feel like I’ve look at life from both sides now (and sure, I’ve been known to complain about walkers that go 5 abreast on the road) but SERIOUSLY, Ladies, were running a race dressed as princesses. Let’s act like them, shall we? I was tempted to tell the Fairy Godmother on a few of you. Truly just flat out rude.”
- It took a really long time. There were a few moments when I thought we would never get to the finish. Walking can be slow.
- The next day, I was actually more sore. I’m sure this is because I was trained to run a half, not walk it, and walking uses different muscles. My shoulders and arms hurt and that’s never happened before.
But even with the bad, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Because seriously, you’re walking through Disney World with your best running friend and laughing hard and having a ball.
And we lead busy lives as working moms and professionals. So we needed it.
And we burned a few calories that could be used to celebrate well after with lots of wine and things with sugar and cheese (not at the same time).
So if you’re thinking of training for a half as a walker (especially for a Disney race!!) DO IT.
You will have a blast, get fit, and have a shiny new medal to hang on your wall!!
Happy running, or walking!
Jen is a pastor, runner, vegetarian, dog lover, wife to Scott (for 25 years!) and mom of 3 teenagers (so her house frequently smells and they are always out of milk). You can read about her adventures at Running Pastor Mom where she writes about faith, family, running and keeping her sanity.