My First Half Marathon

On Sunday March 11th, I ran the San Diego Half Marathon, my first half marathon. Crossing the finish line was one of the best experiences but it came at a cost and it wasn’t easy. Continue reading for the story.

The Training

Going into the training I was very excited but also nervous for what I was getting myself into. My amazing trainer Pam made me a training schedule to follow and everything was going to plan. After my 9-mile run I started dealing with some blister issues. Nothing horrible, but I kept getting blisters in the same place. With every long run that came, I tried something new to prevent, treat and heal the blisters and nothing seemed to work. Two weeks before race day I set out for my last long training run. I was planning on running a minimum of 12 miles but if I felt good, pushing it to 13. Around mile 3, the blisters started to bother me but I pushed through. Around mile 8 there was some bad news and some good news. The bad news- the toe went numb. The good news- I couldn’t feel the pain anymore! I kept running and then it hit me again around mile 11. The numbness went away and I was in a lot of pain and I knew I had to stop at 12 miles. After the 12 miles, I limped over to my car where I sat for about 15 minutes because my foot was throbbing so bad. The next morning, I woke up and my foot was super swollen and it was clear the blisters were infected. I went to urgent care where I got them drained and was prescribed antibiotics. (I had two doctors tell me I shouldn’t run the race but as you’ll read, I didn’t listen). Needless to say, the two weeks leading up to race day I wasn’t able to run or really even put real shoes on; I rocked Birkenstocks and socks for a week. Race day was going to be gamble.

The Race

 I got to San Diego late on the Thursday night before the race still unsure of how everything was going to pan out. Friday, I stayed off my feet the majority of the day. I got some work done at a local café, went to the expo and picked up my bib, and got some dinner with my family. 


Signing the San Diego Sign

Taking a picture with my bib with the USS Midway in the back

Saturday wasn’t much different. I had a work meeting in the afternoon, enjoyed a delicious dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory, and then got ready for the race. When I went to bed Saturday night it was pouring rain but luckily when I woke up on Sunday morning it was clear skies! I woke up on race morning, got ready, wrapped the blisters and headed to the start line. I got into my wave and waited to start unsure of what to expect.

Everything was great until about mile 4 when I started feeling some familiar discomfort that I had experienced during my 12-mile training run. I decided to tell myself it wasn’t going to hurt anymore (that didn’t really work out for me) but I kept on going. I got some amazing encouraging text messages along the way that were popping up on my apple watch so I could easily read them. The scenery also helped keep my mind off of the pain. The course was absolutely beautiful and included 5 miles on the water front. 


I hit mile 10 and I’m in so much pain I’m almost in tears. My pace slows down a lot and I don’t know how I’m going to finish but I know I have to. I ran 10 of the 13 miles, I have to finish. I keep pushing and I see the mile marker for mile 12 and I’m miserable (just imagine running 13 miles on raw skin from blisters that were infected). 


About .75 from the finish. I wasn’t joking when I said miserable.

I know that we finish in Petco Park and Petco Park is nowhere to be seen. This begins to feel like the longest mile of my life (which is funny because it’s actually the fastest mile I ran during the race). I turn the corner onto 7th street and there is Petco Park! I’m so close and I can’t believe I’m going to finish. I cross the finish line and see my mom in the stands screaming for me! My phone becomes flooded with texts and calls from family and friends that were tracking me along the course. I’m so happy to be done and I can’t wait to sit down. I met my mom where I immediately sit on the ground and take off my shoes and it hits me…I finished. I’m not sure if it was because of my stubbornness, determination or stupidity. Probably a combination of all three but I did it.


The Aftermath

After going back to the hotel, showering, changing and resting I head over to my cousin’s house and she’s ready to celebrate popping champagne! Even my grandma is celebrating who never drinks! After some celebrating I decide to take the wrap off my feet and it was bad. I’ll spare you the pictures and you can take my word for it.

I wake up on Monday morning and I’m very sore. I haven’t been sore like that in a long time. I hobbled my way through the airport, sat down in the plane and flew home. We landed and I realize just how sore I am trying to get out of my window seat. To the nice man sitting in seat 21D on Southwest flight 6588, thank you for helping me get out of my seat and not laughing at me too much.

A week later and I’m still dealing with the blisters and some other issues that have come up but I’m on the mend!

Final Thoughts

1-    I need to figure out what is causing these blisters and problems. I know I will and this hopefully won’t be an issue again.

2-    The mind is a lot stronger than you think it is. I truly believe in mind over matter.

3-    I have the most amazing people in my life and I don’t know what I would do without them in my life. Everything from the training schedule Pam wrote and did with me, to my friends and family that encouraged me, my mom who sat in the cold at Petco Park for 2 hours waiting for me to finish, and many other people in my life.   

4-    Would I do it again? YES! Am I in any rush to do another one? Absolutely not. This race is the first one in a series of 4 so I at least have to finish that, right? :) 

-Emily Garcia