I Went From A 5K To 13.1 Miles, And I Learned A Lesson Each Time My Foot Hit The Pavement

I Went From A 5K To 13.1 Miles, And I Learned A Lesson Each Time My Foot Hit The Pavement

Training for and running a half marathon is easily one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but I could not be more proud to have completed it.
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On March 18th, 2018, I ran the Publix Georgia Half Marathon. For some people, that is no big deal. They dole out half marathons regularly and barely feel the effects of 13.1 miles. For others (like me), it is the longest distance they have ever run and they worked super hard to get there.

Training for and running a half marathon is easily one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but I could not be more proud to have completed it. About three years ago, I was in the worst shape of my life, both physically and mentally.

I struggled with insecurity and hated the way my body looked. I was unathletic and could barely run a mile without gasping for air. Most of all, I lacked confidence in myself, not only in my appearance but also in my ability.

My newfound passion for health and fitness has changed my life and I am happy to say I am doing much better.

Last semester, I was sitting in the car with members of my a cappella group on the way back from a gig and my friend, Julia, casually brought up running a half marathon. She used to be on the cross country team in high school and has legs probably two times the length of mine, so her running that distance made sense.

Then, out of blue, she asked me to run it with her. I have never turned down something so quick. I wasn’t confident covering that kind of mileage was ever going to be in the cards for me and I just accepted that. But something changed my mind. I thought–– I am in the best shape I’ve ever been so why not give it a shot? I started training.

Prior to training for this race, the furthest distance I had ever run was a 5K, three miles. Adding 10 miles to this distance was going to be brutal and time-consuming but I was determined to do it.

I began training in December and started to hit distances I never thought I could. Before I knew it, spring break was ending and race day had arrived. If you have ever participated in a running race before, you know the atmosphere is electric. People are tired but excited and ready to prove to themselves and others that all the training was worth it.

I went into the half marathon with no experience in long-distance running and therefore had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know how my body was going to feel at mile six and I didn’t know how dehydrated I was going to feel at the finish line.

So in my inexperience, I took note of everything at every mile. I wanted to remember just how it felt so that if I ever decide to put myself through this again I will be prepared. Here is what I learned:

Mile 1

It was a blur. The sun hadn’t risen yet and every runner was trying to find a rhythm to hold onto for the race. Downtown Atlanta was asleep and all you could hear was the thud thud thud of tennis shoes on the road.

Mile 2

Almost lost my leg in a pothole (thank you Atlanta roads) but made it through this mile without too much trouble. Still feeling relatively fresh and working hard to warm up my body.

Mile 3

I felt sweat on the back of my neck begin to accumulate and I felt like my body was unprepared for what was about to hit it. But I kept running because I knew we were only just getting started.

Mile 4 and 5

I grouped these together because they honestly felt about the same. I found my running pace and stuck to it. I was still cheerful and taking in all the sights and sounds.

Mile 6

Halfway! Sort of. I couldn’t believe I still had seven miles left because it felt like I had been running forever but thank God for loud spectators and their hilarious signs. One read: “You’re running better than our government is right now.” Anything that put a smile on my face was much appreciated.

Mile 7

Blister time! I felt a little rubbing on the side of my foot which only proceeded to get worse but I didn't stop because I knew I would have regretted it.

Mile 8

The sun was rising at this point and the sky was BEAUTIFUL. Despite my bouncy running style, I managed to sneak some pictures of the sunrise and the Atlanta skyline. It was a pleasant and welcome sight for sore eyes.

Mile 9

Nothing much to say here other than I found the pace-setting team and stuck with them for a little while. They carried me through this more difficult part of the race up and down some pretty tough hills.

Mile 10

Everyone says you hit a wall in races like these. Mile 10 was my wall. Soreness and fatigue like I have never felt before crept into my lower body. I wasn’t about to give up but mentally I was starting to feel drained and a little broken.

Mile 11, 12, and 13

The last three miles felt like they were never going to end. My legs started to feel like cement blocks and my knees began to feel the effects of the past 10 miles. I was exhausted and what I wanted more than anything was to be finished.

.1 miles to the finish line

I sprinted. I saw the finish line and I heard the announcer calling out the time. I wanted more than anything to get in before 2 hours 10 minutes. Every leg muscle was screaming at me but the supportive crowd drowned them out and I crossed that line at 2 hours and 8 mins 59 seconds with the biggest smile on my face. I had achieved something, a younger version of me would have deemed impossible. It was a huge accomplishment.

Cover Image Credit: Grace Bellman

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Internet outraged at Delhi Aunty for Sl*t Shaming

Public outrage - justified or an overreaction?

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When the topic of sexual violence against women arises, women are often held responsible - because of how they dress, or how they behave, or even if they have a voice. A recent incident in Delhi showed that the mindset of people has not changed. In a video posted by Shivani Gupta, a middle-aged woman is seen defending her claim, "Women wearing short dresses deserve to be raped."

This backward mentality surrounding rape and rape culture is horrifying to see. The middle-aged woman first shamed them for wearing short clothes and when she was confronted, she told them "they deserved to get raped." She made things worse when she told other men in the restaurant to rape such women who wear short clothes.

Shivani and her friends later confronted this woman while taking the video. They wanted a public apology for her statement and followed her around. The older woman stood by her statement. Fair enough. They felt threatened by her statements and wanted an apology for her actions. The older lady, however, was brazen about her ideologies and refused to apologize. In fact, she threatened to call the cops for harassment.

The woman who made the regressive statements. Shivani Gupta

While the anger and outrage by the women who uploaded this video are justified, several questions are being raised on whether the older woman was later harassed for her statements. Public shaming is not the way to solve this issue.

"We cannot dismantle a culture of shaming by participating in it." - Rega Jha.

Now, I believe that nobody must engage in victim shaming. Nobody has the right to police the outfit one wishes to wear. It is astonishing to believe that even in the 21st century, people still believe that an outfit determines the morality and character of a person. That older woman was wrong to sl*t-shame the girls for wearing what they want. That being said, even though what that woman did was horrible, public shaming will not work. It will not change the mindset behind these ideologies. What that older woman did was akin to bullying. Publicly shaming her, stalking her facebook account or posting comments or by coercing her, you are also behaving in the same manner of bullying.

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