1. The Moment of Spontaneity
Your friend asks you to run a half marathon with her and you sign up because why not? You’ve never really done anything like that before, so you say "Sure!" Often, in this moment, you do not realize that this means you will need to be able to run 13.1 miles. This involves a lot of running. And you’re not the best at running. But hey, why not try it anyways?
2. The Moment of Regret
It’s your first day of training. You throw on your sneakers and head out the door to run a quick five miles, no big deal! You reach mile two and realize you’re going to have to start a lot smaller and decide to head home after mile three. What did you get yourself into? When you get back home you count out the weeks you have until the big day and start mentally doing the math to see whether or not you’ll be able to whip yourself into shape by then.
3. The Confidence Boost
This usually occurs around halfway through your training process. You reach some sort of milestone you set for yourself - for me it was running ten miles for the first time in my life. You start feeling confident for the first time since you signed your name up for the race. You can do this!
4. The Mid-Training Stretch of Laziness
Ok, so the confidence didn’t last too long. You’re in the middle of training and you feel as though you’re running out of steam. You take a day or two off and make another running playlist with new songs hoping to find a way to boost your energy and motivation. Training is boring. TV is better.
5. The Oh, Shoot. It’s in Two Weeks Moment of Realization
It’s not like you haven’t been thinking about the half marathon from day one, but between all the school work and busy days you’ve been having, time’s just sort of flown by. So suddenly, when your friend brings it up in conversation, you instantly freak out and remember that the day is coming up. Despite all the miles you’ve clocked since signing up, you still don’t feel ready for the run.
6. The Fake Injury
It’s the day before the race. You’re scared. And you decide that you may want an out. So your mind convinces you that you just can’t run tomorrow because you think you pulled something in your shoulder during your sleep. You spend all day trying to stretch it out but it’s not going away. Well, if I’m still injured tomorrow then I can’t run, you think. By the end of the day, you talk yourself out of the injury. If you spent this long training for it, you’re going to run this race come hell or high water.
7. Race Day: The Early Rise
The worst thing about most running events is that they usually take place in the morning. You are not a morning person. Even on the big day, you roll out of bed and snooze your alarm so you can keep sleeping. There's no way you’re getting yourself out of bed to run 13.1 miles this early in the morning. This leads to you stressing out later when you’re late to registration and see there’s a long line. But despite the extra stress, you make it to the start on time.
8. The Starting Line
You've stretched, you're pumped and now are ready to go! The playlist you made is already blasting in your ears. You hear the bell ring and suddenly you're off (although you didn't realize that the starting line is quite a hectic occasion)! While others are plowing over each other to gain momentum, you try your best not to get trampled before you even reach the .1 mile mark.
9. Half-way Through: Accessing the Damage
You may be getting tired. You're trying to figure out how long until you reach the finish line. You may be most concerned about how achey your feet feel, or how your arms and hands are numb, but you keep going. This is the most important part of the race for you to stay motivated during, or else there is no end in sight. You turn up the volume and keep running.
10. The Finish Line! Accomplishment!
You are cheered on by a crowd of onlookers, mostly strangers. You have a few friends and family in the crowd that you try and look for, but for the most part, your eyes focus on nothing but that line in the near distance that you have to cross in order for your run to finally be over. Once reached, you barely even know what to do with yourself. You spent months looking forward to this moment and you find it hard to stop running immediately after you pass the line.
Soon enough, you become sane enough to remember that your feet have been throbbing since mile 8. You finally slow down, collect your medal, and meet up with your supporters to celebrate your accomplishment over brunch. Later in the day, you still feel sore, but you have noticed an insane energy boost due to your new confidence. Maybe you're cut out for running after all!