If you needed motivation to train for a half marathon, then you should know about LeeAdianez Rodriguez-Espada, the 12-year-old girl who accidentally ran a half marathon in Rochester, New York last week. She had signed up for a 5k, but ended up running 10 more miles. Five other 12-year-olds and a 7-year-old ran the race in case you thought Lee was an exception.
However, if you want to run a half marathon, or any race, you don’t have to accidentally do it. For people who like schedules, there are plans for runners ranging from beginner to advanced. These make you feel accountable, but beware the plans if you don’t like to be told what to do, but then feel bad when you don’t do something. Running when you feel like it, if you are self-disciplined, sometimes can lead to a PR, or personal record in running jargon. You wake up feeling like you want to run six instead of seven miles one week, so you run six miles, and then continue to listen to your body. Eventually, you do have to attempt running 10 to 11 miles, but you never have to run 13.1 until actual race day, which adds to the excitement and anticipation.
I’ve always said everyone can run a half marathon, which I still believe is true. If you have the ability to run and the desire to run, then you can do it. The same CNN article that announced LeeAdianez’s accidental accomplishment claimed that dogs have run half marathons before. If man’s best friend can endure 13.1 miles, then you can as well. I’m not saying that everyone needs to run a half marathon, but don’t discredit yourself or discourage yourself from running one on the assumption that you physically cannot. Physical constraints can either make or break us, and as more people attempt half marathons, I think they start to realize that certain constraints are actually just constructs of our own mind meant to deter us from trying.
If you search for Lee’s story, then you also find other stories of people accidentally running races. In 2015, a teenage boy accidentally ran the Philadelphia marathon. Evan Megoulas and Lee are just two people who have tricked their minds, which often stop us from going the extra mile, or 10, or 13.1.
What we learn from Lee is that running is 90 percent mental. If you want to run a race, whether it’s a 5k or a marathon, then just do it. Don’t make excuses about how you can’t, because Lee shows us that we can. Running doesn’t just have to be for track runners. It can be a way of challenging ourselves and allows us to quantitatively track our progress. Even though Lee was without a doubt the most sore she’s ever been after that race, she ran one the next weekend. If accidentally running a half marathon didn’t traumatize her to the point of never running again, then anything is possible.