13 Things I Learned in 13.1 Miles

So, Dane and I ran a half marathon this weekend. I know, it sounds totally crazy and that’s because IT IS. Ever since Dane ran the Honolulu Marathon two years ago, he’s been encouraging me to run a race and really push my fitness to the next level. That’s all good and fine, but I’ll be totally honest — the thought of running in any sort of competition scared the pants off me. Outside? Fine. On a treadmill? Great. With 10,000 other people? Holy Shit, no thank you.
I knew the only way I would ever get it done was if the trigger was pulled for me, so when Dane announced we were signed up for The Hapalua, I wasted no time shitting my pants preparing.  I will admit, the fact that he agreed to be by my side was actually really inspiring. Dane’s fitness is light years ahead of mine, so when he promised to not leave me behind and encourage me every step of the way — I felt really good.
As soon as we picked up our race packets, it started to settle in that we were really doing this. When we woke up at the crack of dawn on Sunday my palms were already sweating.
Garmin Forerunner 235, c/o Garmin
And when the gun went off at the starting line, my stomach fell into my ankles.
But….we did it!
I figured since this was my first race ever (I know, I know…no pressure at all), I would share what I learned in 13.1 miles.
1. KT Tape will change your life. I was skeptical about pushing myself for 13 miles of pavement pounding, because Dane and I both suffer from knee issues that date back to high school sports injuries. When a friend of ours recommended we get taped prior to the race, I was all about it. Turns out, they were right! I didn’t have shooting pain or pressure like I normally do and neither did Dane. #WINNING
2. Having a buddy is perfect. At mile 7, I was feeling like toast. The sun was getting to the level of crispy and my hip flexor felt like it was going to pop right out of my skin. Thankfully, Dane was right beside me, as promised, to push me through all of that.
3. Miles 8-12 were all entirely uphill and I wasn’t prepared for that. I had done incline running, but not to the capacity of what is otherwise known as the Diamondhead circle of pain. We had kicked ass up to that point, so I didn’t beat myself up about walking when I felt sore.
4. Plan your race day outfit! I practiced running a couple times in the outfit I wanted to wear and I’m so happy I did. I felt comfortable, no tags were being annoying and I knew how my sweat would wick. This seems like a great time to give UnderArmour’s underwear design team a huge shout out, because their workout underwear is FREAKING AMAZING.
Everything I wore can be found here:
5. Chub rub is real. I specifically wore longer shorts, but at mile 12, I could practically hear my thighs clapping for me. I applied BodyGlide prior to the race, but it had all sweated off by the time I was near the finish. Next time I’ll bring it with me.

6. Speaking of bringing things with us, Dane and I both used RooSport Pouches and they were amazing! We met the owners a couple years ago and Dane has used his, but this was my first real use. I LOVE IT. If you’re a runner or marathoner, I highly suggest them.
7. Lots of people have lots of opinions on sneakers, but Nike changed the game for Dane and I. We love our Nike Free Runs with Happy Feet insoles.They’re lightweight, support our arches and come in tons of fun colors!
8. The entire time I was running, the only thing I could think about was my pre-planned post race meal — a giant tray of shredded rotisserie chicken on top of french fries with honey mustard. I think this is what drove me for 90% of the race. #realtalk
9. Because this was my first race, I took the advice of several fellow runners (shoutout to Sarah & Jen & Mallory & Lexi here — you ladies are THE BEST) to not set the bar too high. So I didn’t. My only goal was to finish and cross the line holding Dane’s hand. Mission = Accomplished.
10. Finishing is finishing. Our final time was 3 hours and 19 minutes and I am DAMN PROUD of that! I sweated my ass off, burned my muscles (and 1800 calories) and felt a huge sense of accomplishment when we crossed that finish line hand in hand.
11. Take all the things! Free water, free Gatorade, free energy packets, free Vaseline, free sunscreen sprays, free donuts, free shave ice, free bananas, free hugs — TAKE IT ALL PEOPLE! And those people giving out free high fives and smiles along the course are the real MVPs! I can’t tell you how many times I saw someone cheering with a sign and it totally put a spring in my step! I think my favorite sign was: MAKE THIS HILL YOUR BITCH!
12. The fifth place female finisher of our race rocked this thing in 1 hour and 5 minutes. She is my hero.
13. You can do anything you put your mind to. Seriously. I know that sounds cliche, but it is SO TRUE. So much of running a half marathon is mental that if your mind is in a positive place, your feet and body will be, too.
13.1. I sort of cursed Dane for pushing me to do this, because I was afraid. But I think that might be what I love most about him — he knew I could do this and wanted me to prove it to myself. I’m forever grateful for a partner who supports me in all that I do AND pushes me to do crazy things like wake up at 3AM and run 13+ miles 😉
Are you a runner? Have you ever participated in a half marathon?
*Special thank you to The Hapalua, Garmin & Nike for making this all possible!


  • Jen

    Aww thanks for the shoutout! You are a damn rockstar my friend! I am so proud of you and oh my gosh yes about UnderArmour underwear, it is life changing!!

  • Congratulations! I'm so very proud of you excited for you! Want to come home and run with me, now?

  • Congratulations! I am right now training for a 5K. I am only on week 4 and I am dead. I will keep on pushing though!

  • This story inspired me so much! You have once again proven that our bodies are capable of doing much more than we think they can.


  • You go girl, this is so inspiring! I really need to get back into my running routine and stop making up excuses! I have zero plans for 13.1 miles, I'll stick with trying to do a 5k first 😉

  • Way to go!! My running friend says never say never, but I don't think I could ever do 13.1! Good for you for getting through that!

  • You are amazing! Good for you! I am still mustering up the courage to sign up for my first 5K!

  • SO excited for you! Finishing a 1/2 is such a huge accomplishment, both physically and mentally. I absolutely knew you would rock it. My favorite part is that you and Dane did it together. I know I could never do it without Jason right by my side! PS- Jas and I are both obsessed with Under Armour underwear and briefs!

  • Way to go girl!! I always say that I could never do a race…but I feel like I should throw it on the bucket list to do ONE someday. I bet you felt fricking amazing afterwards! At first I thought maybe you painted on your legs for fun, but that's the tape right? I don't know what's up with my knee's because I've never been super athletic, but they do hurt often too. So that's always been an excuse why I don't try to run lol. I think that was a good idea to pick out your post race meal beforehand because that definitely would get me through it too! I'm doing an at home program right now (no running, thank goodness…) and I've had my treat meal picked out for three weeks haha. For me it's a PIE that's pushing me! Love this though, and great tips for when I eventually try to do something like this…

  • Congrats, girl! You so need to celebrate and enjoy all of this success! LOVE your tips – and was dying laughing at the chub rub! I had no idea that they created something to help with that! Totally checking that out! 😉
    Karen | GlamKaren.com

  • Woohoo!!! Now that you crossed that finish line, you can ALWAYS say you are a half-marathoner. 🙂 It's insane how mental running is. You really can only do as much as you know you have to do. Hope you got that post-race meal and enjoyed the heck out of it! Love that you guys ran together. 🙂

  • Congrats! What an amazing accomplishment, especially with all of those hills! Go you!!!

    I'm not a runner, but have done many races for "fun" and to see if I could do it lol. I have done two 10-milers and a half is my next goal. I'm so intimidated to do it (I also have knee problems), but you've inspired me! Thanks!

  • Great job! Congratulations! I've done a few half and one full. I loved seeing the signs people made. There were some really funny ones.

  • Food would totally push me to finish anything LOL! Congratulations – that is a wonderful accomplishment! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  • Congrats! I'm not a huge fan of Nike shoes (but I run almost exclusively in Nike shorts!), but I'm a firm believer that there is a show out there for everyone. And my Garmin watch was a GAME CHANGER when it came to running! But I'm super glad you mention the RooSport Pouch. I have looked at SO MANY types of belts, and none of them ever felt right. I gave up, but that Pouch looks like the perfect solution!

  • I'm so jealous! I haven't done a marathon in so long, I really need to get back into running. This was a great inspiration! Great post! xx felinebykatsairs.com

  • Congrats!

    I am not a runner. I'd die if I did this.

  • Congrats!!! What a first race!! And kudos for running in shorts– I only did a 5k in shorts and my thighs rubbed more than I would've preferred so I've never run in shorts again lol

  • I am not a runner..we have tried a few times to transform ourselves into runners. We have a couch to 5K app and it's time to get started. I would love to run a marathon.

  • Aw! Congratulations hun you should be so proud of yourself and I would love to do a half marathon one day x x

  • I mean, huge congrats! You guys are awesome!

  • Go you!!!!! I love when people set a goal and work hard to achieve it! I need to run a 5K before moving on up to the 13.1 party!

  • Wow congratulations what a huge accomplishment !!! My sister loves running as well.

  • Wow! That's amazing! I've always hated the feeling that I get running, but I guess if I did it with a partner, I wouldn't be so discouraged. I've always been inspired by people who can stick to it (and through it). You should be so proud of yourself!!

  • SOOOO proud of you! I knew you could do it! Now you're a half marathoner!!

  • Congrats you too on your victory. What a lovely person dane is, you have a good one there.

  • What an amazing journey. Enjoy every moment of your accomplishment.

  • Wow. Thats really awesome that you did it!!! I could NEVER! I have heard how inspiring running marathons is. I would practice in my outfit, too!

  • This is something I have always wanted to do but I haven't gotten around to. Congratulations on the race! That is awesome!

  • Kait I love this story. Congrats on your first half. It's my favorite distance to race.

  • Great job girl! PS – i totally understand about chub rub 🙂

  • This is awesome! I'm so impressed that 13.1 was your first race, and that's so great you two did it together. Totally agree with the tips of doing the race in clothes you're used to running in, and of having an elaborate plan for your victory meal. Way to go!

  • Such an amazing experience! CONGRATS!!! I'm so not a runner, and did my first 5k last year. I can't imagine a half marathon – you rocked it 😀
    Green Fashionista

  • Congratulations! I stopped running once I got out of the army because of my back/knees problems but I'm happy to see that you did it. Now I may start running again and some of those things you learned, I actually learned while running as well, although I'm a fan of Nike, I've found that Asics work wonders for me. 🙂

  • I admire your bravery! I'd never make a mini marathon much less a real. I did a 5k once and that was enough. Lol. Nice work.

  • Great to learn about the tape for the knee. My husband has a lingering knee injury from the past that always pops up to bug him. The tape will come in handy now that he's playing soccer once a week.

  • I ran my first 1/2 marathon about 5 years ago so I completely understand the pain, the chaffing, the total exhaustion and exhilaration! Congrats on finishing! Now when's the marathon?
    (I just signed up for a triathlon in september!)

  • Congratulations! What an accomplishment! My sister-in-law is a runner, I can't seem to manage more than 2 miles 🙂 I bet having a buddy is a great way to stay motivated!

  • Great job! I love it when our spouses push us to do something out of our comfort zones, especially when they know we can succeed!

  • Omg congrats gurlie!!!!! I don't know how you people do it!!!! I get tired just listening to your success stories lol…. Great job on the race!

  • Michele

    I had the same reaction (crapping my pants) when someone signed me up for a Spartan Race. Now that I did it I am so glad I did. But there was a lot of trepidation! Congratulations! That is a crazy wonderful accomplishment! Signed…. omg, no marathon (even a 1/2 ) for this girl!

  • Congrats on your race girl! I definitely agree having a buddy can be the best in those situations. So glad you pushed through and finished 🙂

  • Woo! Congrats! I've run one half marathon and one full marathon, and I will say, undoubtedly, the half was so much more difficult for me!

  • Great job! I don't think I could ever do this! I'm amazed by people who run.

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