Mandy Langston Manley Foundations :: The Road to Publication

June 3


Back in 2006, one of my closest friends (Rachel) moved to Alaska to take a job as a social worker. At first she only planned to be gone for a year or two, but she’s still there. We miss a lot of each other’s lives, and I recently realized that we were going months at a time without any communication. Sure, we send them occasional update email, but they contain mostly big updates and life changes. I missed hearing about the tedium of her life and felt disconnected. Read the rest of this entry »

Running to the Beat: Yurbuds Review

May 10

Sometimes I go through phases with my running. I’ll run consistently for several weeks and then suddenly lose interest. Then after a few weeks not running, I start to miss it and want to get going again. One surefire way of motivating myself to get moving again is to change something about how I run – specifically, to troubleshoot and solve a problem I’ve had before. I can log several “shakedown” runs just testing out my new solution and before you know it I ‘m running regularly again! Read the rest of this entry »

Rung Boutique: More Than Just Shopping

May 5

Have you ever shopped for a cause? Donated to a charity? You can combine your efforts at Rung Boutique in St. Louis. This is one of my favorite resale shops in the city, and yet another reason that I love living in the Gateway City. You don’t find not-for-profit shops like this in smaller towns. If you come to St. Louis to shop, skip the mall and head to Rung! Read the rest of this entry »

Life Journal: You CAN Take It With You

April 30

People keep journals for any number of reasons. In the course of my person writing, I have kept journals for fitness, emotional health, snips of brilliant ideas, quotations, daily activities and lists. I’ve written about my dreams, both day and night, to gain better perspective on what my subconscious might be trying to tell me. I try to pay attention to my body, personal rhythms and moments that seem coincidental but make me feel like the universe might be trying to tell me something. Read the rest of this entry »

First Half Marathon

April 18

After many weeks of training, I completed my first half marathon on Sunday, April 15 in downtown St. Louis. The Go! St. Louis Marathon was a blast, and I was lucky to have two other friends running and a support crew of 5 friends there to cheer me on at the finish. My sweet husband even brought a bag with extra Gatorade, Gu packets, flip flops for my poor blistered feet and anything else I’d need.

Kristen, Damian and Mandy with our race medals!

So what was it like? What can you expect? First, I can’t encourage you strongly enough to follow a trusted training program for a half marathon. You might be able to skirt by with an untrained 5K or 10K, but running 13.1 miles is a challenge if your body isn’t used to moving for more than 2 hours at a time. Start slow and work up to it. I followed Hal Higdon’s half marathon training schedule and was doing one long run of increasing length every Sunday. By the end of training, I had run 12 miles and knew that I could tackle 1.1 more on race day.

This was by far the toughest challenge I’ve put my body through. There were moments during the race that I just wanted it to be over. My official time was 2:35. Can you imagine running that long? I couldn’t help but think of all the things I could do in 2 hours: watch a movie, drive most of the way back to my hometown, mow our entire yard. It won’t sound tough to you full marathoners, but we all have to start somewhere. This was challenging for me, but I’m so glad that I’m doing it 25 pounds lighter than I was last year. I can’t imagine running that far with all that extra weight.

Hubby and I took the Metrolink down to the race at 5:25 am to avoid parking nightmares. Runners were required to be in their corrals by 6:40 am for the 7 am start. We also took the train back to our car post-race. I heard several people on the train bragging about how they hadn’t trained at all. They probably did more harm than good, and I know that my overall health benefited from all the short and long runs I have put in since Christmas. The folks who didn’t train missed out on all that cardiovascular exercise, and they certainly didn’t condition their bodies for such a workout.

I don’t believe in regrets, but there are a few things I’ll do differently next time. In the days leading up to the race, the St. Louis skies were stormy and there was never a good day to “drive the course” and see what I should expect. Next time, I’ll make sure to take my motorcycle out on a nice day and ride the course so I know where the hill are how

My first race medal is like the one on the right!

steep they will be. The Go! was far more hilly that I had expected, and my pace and time really suffered for it. I hadn’t trained on hills and my hips got so tight that I had no choice but to walk miles 8 and 9. I had just enough adrenaline to finish by running the last miles, but it was agony. If and when I do another half marathon, I’ll know what to expect from the course and train accordingly.


Next time, I’ll be sure to make use of the provided water stops. I ran past the first 3 or 4 water/Gatorade stops because I didn’t want to get tripped up by other runners zig-zagging across the course. I thought it would slow me down to stop for 20 seconds and hydrate. Instead, I drank from the Amphipod fuel belt I wore. The 16 oz. of water I was carrying didn’t last long, and it seemed that the water stops were farther apart toward the last half of the race. I’m not going to make that mistake again. I’m going to save the water I’m carrying for when fluids aren’t readily available elsewhere.

One last note – I wear a Timex heart rate monitor around my chest when I run to keep an eye on my BPM. It has proved invaluable because I can anticipate when I’m going to feel awful from pushing too hard. If I keep my BPM under 190, I can truck along a lot farther without suffering. At the Go! Half (and for the first time) my HRM rubbed my skin raw. I didn’t notice it until my post-race shower when the hot water hit the sore spot. I’m not sure if I need to put a bandage there to prevent this from happening again, but it wasn’t a pleasant feeling.

I’ve been recovering for the last two days and plan to do some light cardio this evening to get my muscles warmed up again. Appropriately, I found a fantastic article from Fleet Feet about the recovery period and it gave me some great ideas for food and things to keep the blood moving. I might even wear my Zensah compression sleeves while I sleep tonight!

Have you run a half marathon? What did you learn about yourself? Did you feel truly challenged? Was it harder or easier than you anticipated? I’d love to hear how you train, and to know your accomplishments!

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