It’s 8:41 pm and approximately ten hours and nineteen minutes before my very first ever half marathon. I’ve roughly been training for this now since January, but I think just as important as being physically prepared is the fact that I am now (after weeks of anxiety provoked anticipation) – calm and mentally ready.
Before last fall, I hadn’t ran more than one mile for my high school gym class. However, now that I am a student at the University of Oregon and a proud advocate of Track Town USA, supporter of the Olympic Trails held in Eugene last spring, fan of Phil Knight, Bill Bowerman, Nike and the running legends like Steve Prefontaine – my greatest goal since freshman year has been to be able to call my self a Eugene runner.
My roomate Whitney, who has already run three half marathons, has been my main source of inspiration through my mental preparation. I also decided to take a run/jog PE class last fall to see if I could ever make my running dreams a reality. As it turned out, I fell in love with it, and pledged to complete the half marathon six months later on May 2, 2010.
Why you ask? Because 1) I wanted an excuse to get outside again 2) I needed an activity to work towards and be proud of before graduating 3) I wanted to prove my strength of character with a demanding physical challenge
I fell in love with running overnight because I enjoyed the independence and the ability to explore. Yes, it helps with shaping up. It also helps put some much needed color on your Oregon face. But more than anything I love having the space and time to clear my thoughts.
Here’s my favorite part: Running is alllll about you. Every run is about you setting your own goals, as meeker or ambitious as you want them to be. It’s about finding your own voice and sense of adventure; and being just with yourself for as long as your feet and your head can take you.
Post-Half Marathon, Ten Hours Later:
Running the half at the Eugene Marathon was the most incredible experience. Aside from the throbbing ankle and the burning knees during miles one through twelve, by mile 13 I was cruising. I felt no pain as I sprinted past as many fellow participants as I could to the spectacular finish through the gates of Hayward Field.
The thousands of cheering fans and supporters, and my name on the loud speaker, provided the greatest rush of adrenaline I have ever felt. Suffice to say, I am proud of myself and so damn proud I never gave up.