So yesterday I ran six miles for the first time in about four months without even thinking about it (yes, my legs are killing me and I’m 99% sure I tasted blood for the last three miles). BUTTTTTTT it got me thinking about my half marathon I ran back in August 2015. While on my run (and dying from oxygen deprivation) I remembered my training and the half marathon itself and how it truly parallels many aspects of life and I want to share with all of you why that is and why you should all run one.
First, because I’ve established you’re all like me, when you hear a person say they’re running a half marathon you think, “Why would you ever want to do that?” Wellll a little background, in July 2014 I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t breath, it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. It eventually subsided and I went to work the next day but it happened again and I called my mom and we went to the hospital. It turned out I had pericarditis, an inflammation of the outer layer of my heart, my heart was basically squeezing itself. I had to stay the weekend in the hospital and have numerous tests done until I could be released.
Needless to say I was not happy, especially after the news I received when I was discharged. They told me I couldn’t do any vigorous activities for three months and no competitive sports for six months. To a person who tries to be as active as possible like me this was devastating. But I did my best to eat well and maintain my figure and I said to myself after these six months I would make it up to myself; I would run a half marathon.
So we’re up to speed now and I’m beginning to train for my half marathon and during my training I learned the first thing that parallels life:
To train for a half marathon you need to be dedicated to running, working out, and eating healthy, and the same thing is true about life, the dedication that is. If you’re trying to be an athlete you have to put in the dedication to train but you have to do the same thing if you want to be a lawyer, doctor, or teacher.
Anybody who has accomplished something in their life will tell you they had to make sacrifices to fully dedicate themselves to reach their goal. For me it was cutting back on beer and start eating kale and other green vegetables I cringe to think about (seriously, who thought a plant that tastes like dirt was a good idea to ingest?) But for others it means cutting back on going out with friends and spending more time with your books or job to reach your goal.
Dedication gets you this far but in most cases you will experience:
The training was over, the race day was here, and I was running. I felt pretty good and kept telling myself I could do it, but I hit the wall around mile 9 and immediately my thoughts changed to, “You idiot, why are you doing this to yourself? Stop I beg of you!” I thought that was going to be it and in many aspects of life you will experience similar apprehension.
In the pursuit of your dreams you will feel you’re on your way and then suddenly you will hit a road block and think the train is derailing. Whether this is relapsing and going out to the bars again or ignoring your responsibilities for a momentary second of bliss.
Anxiety and apprehension happen when you think you’re missing out on “important” life experiences in pursuit of your dreams but what defines a person is:
Although I had a moment where I didn’t think I was going to make it, I pushed through all the pain, remembered all the work and dedication I put in, and finished the race (This wasn’t easy either, they made the entire last mile UP HILL! WHAT?! WHO DOES THAT?!) But I did it, I crossed the finish line and I’m still here and I’m damn proud that I did it. I felt better than I ever did in my life and that’s the true power of perseverance.
No matter what type of apprehension or anxiety you experience in life, so long as you remember the reason you started in the first place and push through the pain, you will persevere. Although we all wish things would come easy for us, I believe the victory and reward is much sweeter when you experience adversity.
What I want you to take from this post is running a half marathon requires dedication and perseverance to push through the adversity you WILL experience along the way and life is no different. I want to challenge all of you to run a half marathon at some point in your life. It will be one of the most mentally and physically challenging things you will ever do in life, but the outcome will be so rewarding. It will help put all of these points in perspective and help you enjoy the journey to your goal.
*Why a Half and not a Full?
As with anything in life you need to recognize your limits. I knew I wasn’t the strongest long distance runner at the time so I chose to do a half first. In life never be afraid you admit you aren’t ready for something because it’s past your experience.Recognize your own limits and never take off more than you can chew.