On the Run

The Why: Run a Half Marathon

Hello, internet people! I’m currently cozied up in my warmest hoodie at the coffee shop, because the university where I work got a snow day! It’s in the single digits with a negative wind chill here in Pittsburgh, so it is cold. As much as I try to embrace winter, I can’t help but ask “why do I live here?” any time the temperature gets below, say, 30 degrees.

But instead of complaining about the cold, let’s talk about those 2019 goals and some of the reasons behind them.

First: run a half marathon. More specifically, run the 2019 Flying Pig Half Marathon.

As I mentioned in my intro post, 2018 was the year I became a runner. Since my first 5K in college, I’d been flirting unsuccessfully with the idea, running for a little while before giving up when I didn’t see progress or when it got cold outside. I loved the way it felt to finish a run, but I didn’t feel like I could be a runner. I expected to give up before I even started.

When 2018 time came around, I had a radical thought: what if I just… didn’t give up? It sounds small, but in all the years prior I’d gone into my goals with the underlying assumption that I wouldn’t make them happen. So what if I went in this time without quitting as an option? What if I set a goal just for me and then, what if I didn’t stop until I achieved it? What if, like runner Kelly Roberts says, I made impossible possible?

On my 26th birthday, I ran my first 10K. It was not at all the victory lap I’d hoped for. It was cold that day in Erie, and the Shamrock 10K turned out to be a small, locally run race. Standing there in the crowd, who all seemed to know each other, I felt like the odd woman out. My roommate had bought me a “Born Lucky On Saint Patrick’s Day” t-shirt to wear for the race, which was buried under several layers due to the cold temps. I didn’t feel excited for this race–I felt cold to the core and terrified to boot.

Ready or not, the race horn sounded and we took off. Soon after, I realized I was in the middle of a mild social anxiety attack. Between my panic and the chill in the air, I couldn’t catch my breath and ended up walking most of the race.

In spite of the gorgeous lakeside scenery, I had never wanted to quit so badly. But I still didn’t. When I crossed the finish line, I was surprised that I didn’t feel disappointed by my shitty time or how much walking I’d done. I was proud that I kept going, that I stuck it out.

To make up for the sad showing, I registered for a second 10K: The Flying Pig in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.

This race is known for being one of the best cheer crowds around, and it was amazing. Cheering crowds with funny, encouraging signs lined early every section of the course.

In fact, I even ran past Run, Selfie, Repeat and She Can & She Did founder Kelly Roberts, one of the people who inspired my journey to be a runner! I didn’t recognize her until I saw an Instagram post from her later, so I didn’t get a high five, but I did laugh at her sign as I hobbled past!

I broke the sacred rule of running that day and wore something new on race day–specifically, I wore new shorts. As you can see from the anxious Snapchat I sent before heading to the course, I felt pretty good decked out in my favorite color, wearing my Panic! at the Disco hat. But those shorts did not stand up to the test, riding up to the point where I endured pretty terrible thigh chafing starting at Mile 2.

In spite of the wardrobe malfunction, the Pig gave me everything I’d hoped for from that first 10K. Even though I’d been telling my runner friends there wasn’t a Half in my future, I knew the minute I finished the Flying Pig 10K I’d be back next year for more.

For a while, I kept quiet about this newfound goal, but as my running miles passed 300 for 2018, I knew it was time for the next challenge. Half Marathon registration opened up and I put my money where my dreams were, registering before I could talk myself out of it.

Now, four weeks into Half Marathon training, my emotions change on an almost daily basis. Some runs make me feel like there’s no way I could possibly stay upright and moving for 13.1 miles. Other days I find myself doing things the old me would never have imagined, like bundling up and running in the snow, and I feel capable of more than I’ve ever imagined.

Training for this goal gives every run a purpose and keeps me getting out there, becoming stronger and getting closer to my goal. Plus, the running community is pretty inspiring, and I love being a part of it.

Since truly leaning in to running, I’ve discovered so many phenomenal communities. I belong to the BadassLadyGang Facebook page and Potterhead Running Club (formerly Hogwarts Running Club), where I see all kind of amazing people setting and crushing goals just like mine. The more I get to know these other amazing runners, the more they inspire me to keep going. And that’s why I’m pushing towards 13.1.

I’ve learned a lot about layering since that first 10K

Soon enough, my training will take me past the current furthest distance I’ve ever run. It’s scary and exciting to know that soon, I’ll have more than 6.3 miles at once under my belt. Added bonus? This lets me explore the city and find new places to run, since my old routes don’t cut it anymore.

In this blog, I’m going to try and be honest as I bring you along on my running journey. Not every day is great and sometimes I still feel like giving up when progress stalls, but there’s something about running that I just can’t quit.

I’ve always said “I’ll never run a marathon.” Right now, that still feels true. But I’m excited to take on my Half Marathon and see what new goals it inspires. Plus, I’ll get to take a 13.1 mile tour of the beautiful city that I loved and left!


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