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A support system can go a long way

Follow Rachel’s day-to-day training on her twitter and facebook pages and read more of Rachel’s marathon experience every other Sunday in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

By Rachel Luna, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/04/2011 06:37:06 PM PST

It’s official. I ran a half marathon. Well, a half marathon length (13.1miles) in my training, not a race.

But it still counts. It’s definitely a major breakthrough.

My training group even rewarded me with a chocolate medal of excellence for my accomplishment, which I ate shortly after showing it off.

Hunger and a desire for a chocolate treat are to blame. It was my first running award … darn!

My photo instincts managed to kick in just in time to snap a memorable photo before it was too late.

It’s the little things keeping me running. I’ve gotten so used to having a support group behind me through this experience.

And there’s nothing better than training with a group to top it all off.

Each Saturday, 200 of my closest running buddies from the Inland Empire L.A. Roadrunners and I run together, encouraging one another to keep up the training and stay focused on our marathon goal.

The program has become an automatic reliance to keep my training consistent. The extra bonuses with being a part of a running group are all the water stations that keep me hydrated along the routes and the complimentary treats table to enjoy after a long run with everybody.

I don’t have to worry about a thing when I stick with the group.

However, I faced a big hurdle when I had to complete the 13-mile-training. I had to do it alone and had no idea what to expect. Without my accustomed “safety net,” I prepared myself for a lonely half marathon in the Northern California countryside in the middle of nowhere.

It was a thrill knowing I’d reach the half marathon point, but nerve-wracking to face the reality I wouldn’t have anyone talk to or train with during the run.

It was a long run – a two hour and 52 minute run/walk to be exact (it took a little longer because I kept slowing down to take photos). But it flew by.

And the best part was I still had my support group interacting with me via social media. I got the pleasure of sharing my experience of running in the boonies with others.

It helps that I’ve somewhat learned how to tweet while running … when it’s safe.

My first half marathon experience was an unusual accomplishment in my training process. It never felt like the lonely 13.1 miles I expected.

So to all my running mates, followers and readers out there, thanks for your continued support in my endeavor.

I’m nearly halfway through it and at the rate I’m going, I think it’s safe to say I’m going to stick around to see how my adventure ends.

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SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 2014