I ran my very first half marathon a couple weeks ago and I'm still processing the experience. Even though the race was in Walt Disney World, so there was lots to see, going 13.1 miles gives you plenty of time to think and reflect on what you're doing and how you feel about it. As I started running I was surprised by the mix of emotions I was feeling. A few miles in I had an epiphany that hit me in the face like the cup of water thrown by that douchy guy in front of me-- running a half marathon is just like losing your virginity.
1. You're going to be nervous.
You can study the course map until you've memorized it or read all the How To internet articles you want, but those minutes before you actually start are always going to make your heart race.
2. Your body might not look the way you envisioned it would.
I thought that training for my race would help me be svelte by the time the big day rolled around, but there is a thing called post run hunger (aka runger) and it was not satisfied until it had sweet, delicious carbs. But in the end, how I looked didn't matter, what mattered is that I had trained and was physically ready to run. It's the same with having sex. It doesn't matter if your body looks like a porn star's or not, what matters is that you feel ready to do it.
3. You're going to be sore the next day.
Even if you take it easy and try not to push yourself too hard, running great distances and your first time can leave you feeling it afterwards. Ice packs, warm showers, drinking plenty of water and rest are helpful in both scenarios.
4. You will enjoy it more if you use lube.
Friction is not your friend, whether it's coming from your partner or your sports bra. Lubricating for sex and running covers many of the same body parts-- down below, around the bra area-- though it's a special kind of person that would lube up the feet before getting busy between the sheets.
5. You will be emotional.
The way you'll feel about running a race and having sex for the first time are exactly the same. Before you start you're excited, nervous, scared and part of you wants to just get it over with. While it's happening you can't believe you're actually doing it. And when it's over, you're exhilarated. If you're anything like me, you will also burst into tears after both occasions, but will immediately want to do it again.
6. You don't need any fancy equipment.
While there are tons of fun accessories for both running and sex, you don't really need $200 running tights with reinforced knees, blindfolds or belts of any kind. It's best to keep things simple, especially when it's your first time.
7. You'll feel like you're part of a special club.
Once you lose your V-card, you look around at your peers to try and figure out who else is sexually active so you can compare notes. Post race they gave us all giant medals to wear around our necks, so finding my tribe to commiserate with about blisters was easier.
8. Your performance matters less than you think.
I stressed for days over my goal running time and whether or not it was obtainable, but once I finished the race, I realized I didn't really care how long it took me (even though I totally beat my goal time thankyouverymuch). No one else gave a crap either-- not a single person who congratulated me asked what my time was. Having sex is the same way. For all the songs that sing about going all night long, no one really cares how long you do it for, they're just impressed by the act itself.