First Half Marathon Race Recap: Kristi [Guest Feature]

This is another featured guest post. Today Kristi Yates volunteered to share her first half marathon experience with us. Kristi is one of the rockstars I met in the “Train for a Half Marathon” Facebook group. Feel free to click the link and request to join the group for some inspiration, accountability, and encouragement. Enjoy! ~Alexis

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I chose to become a runner and a half marathoner back in 2016!

My best friend ran the inaugural Yellowstone Park half marathon the year before and convinced me that I had to “become a runner” and go back to that amazing run with her the following year, so I did!

The race was the second weekend in June so I started training as soon as the snow melted. I didn’t follow a training plan–I just went out and ran! I remember vividly the first time I ran 4 miles: I remember exactly where I was at (just a few blocks from where I live). All I could be was ecstatic! 

I must be a runner now if I can run 4 whole miles!!

After that, I remember training up to 11 miles. Then I signed up for another half marathon on a whim–just a local one–that was 3 weeks before the Yellowstone half. I decided I needed to run one to convince myself I was capable of it!

My First [and Second] Half Marathons

My First Half Marathon

My first half marathon was the Run for Heaven’s Sake in Billings, MT in 2016. I finished with a time of 2:04:22 and what I remember most about that run was that my right calf muscle started to hurt at some point but I just kept pushing and mile times got faster and faster!

All by myself, I didn’t have any family or friends at the finish line waiting for me but I did run into one of my dear friends after I finished that had run the 10K. My calf muscle felt like it was pulled and the last couple miles were brutal! But I finished as fast as I could…barely walk the rest of the day, but I was proud!

Then…My Second Half Marathon

I went to West Yellowstone 3 weeks later for the Yellowstone half marathon. My oldest son came with, and I left my two little ones out at my cousin’s farm for the weekend. My best friend’s husband was there with her kids and I figured he could handle one more while we ran if it was my oldest! We drove a good 4 hours to get there and we stayed in a little cabin at the KOA campground. My bestie ran the 5K the night before with her little girl and we made it in time to watch.

I remember the race night atmosphere and was truly hooked after that night! We got up SUPER early the next morning and headed to the start.

It was a trail run and I wasn’t a trail runner, but I fell in love that day with the trails. The race-day atmosphere was second to none! On the first mile I remember that same calf muscle feeling like I pulled it! I even stopped running and jumped off to the side to try and stretch it. I decided to push through the pain and keep going.

The trail was very rocky I kept my eyes on Nikki’s feet. She was right in front of me. If she got too far ahead of me, she would walk until I caught up.

I didn’t run hills to train and those uphills were hard! I was with her at mile 12 and I felt like I was holding her back, so I told her, “Just go…I’m out of gas.”

I finished with a time of 2:11:45 and she finished about 30 seconds before me.

Forever Changed

That run was a turning point in my life, and I can honestly say that I’m a different person now than I was 3 years ago. 

I have learned SO much about running since my first half! Before, I knew nothing about replacing electrolytes back then. Now I run with Nuun or Tailwind— and no more calf pain!

I’m on my last module to becoming a certified running coach, I’ve ran 12 half marathons, and I’m 7 weeks away from my first full! I was completely trained for my first full last summer when I broke my ankle 2 weeks before the run. Talk about a heartbreak! But this is the year of redemption for me…

I’ve learned that strength training the glutes is key! I’ve ran half marathons anywhere from 1:57:58 to 2:26. Destination races are the best! When my babies are grown, I want to quit my job, go work for Vacation Races, and travel the world directing runs! I’m on the board of a nonprofit and we are directing our second annual trail run next weekend.

Thanks for reading my story! #RunningIsLife


Thank you to all the incredible half marathoners who contributed their story for the July “First Half Marathon Race Recap” Guest Series! ~Alexis