On April 10, 2016, I completed a half-marathon. When I talk about this, people are quick to offer congratulations and express how they themselves could never complete a half-marathon. But like all those people, I never thought I could either. 13.1 miles seems daunting, absolutely daunting. And it is. It involves months of training and more mental toughness than I knew I was capable of. Quite honestly, mental training and learning to think positive and encouraging thoughts, replacing the "I can't's" with the "I can's" is a major part of being able to complete a half.
Looking back on my training, I know I was not prepared, and my body told me too. Once I hit mile 8, every joint screamed in pain, but I had nearly 5 miles left to go. The lesson I learned, along with perseverance, is to not skimp out on training. And even more, don't pick a race that takes place during your busiest semester of school yet. Running a half-marathon changed me, but not in the whole "I -am a new-found health -junkie, I run religiously every morning at 5 a.m." type of way. It taught me that I am so much stronger than I thought I was. That slow and steady may not win the race, but it gets you across the finish line. And that your body is capable of so much pain, so much strain, and so much agony. When you feel like you can't take another step, you run another 10 feet. You just keep going.
Since my half, I haven't run much. I took a break for a while because I needed to recover, physically and mentally. I spent nearly a week waddling around campus, my muscles and my joints in constant pain. Then it was time for finals. Now that I am home, I have finally had time to myself again, to exercise, to hike, to read, to watch Netflix. And now it's time to get back to the pavement and pick another race to focus my energies on.