As I entered mile 7 my body began to shame me. I had not prepared for the distance or accounted for the toll that 13.1 miles would take on my body. My first half marathon was just over half done and I was falling apart.
I remember my decision to run a half marathon. It was October 16, 2013 and I thought to myself, why not? I headed out to a brand new park in eastern Jefferson County and committed to 4 miles. When I hit the 4 mile mark, I said why not 5? After talking myself into half the distance of a half marathon, I stumbled through until I hit 6.55 miles. I felt awesome!
What I Did Next, I Was Not Prepared For
On my way home I thought that I could definitely run a half marathon and soon! A quick Google search and I found the 2013 Republic Bank Big Hit 1/4 and 1/2 Marathon. The race was just 10 days later and I signed up!
During the course of the race I felt good, until that 7 mile marker. I had hit the “wall”. The wall is the point that your body just feels like you’ve ran into a wall. My lack of planning, training, and entire approach to this challenge left me in a place that was not pleasant. But then I discovered something.
When I started the race, I was worried about everyone else there. The competition was all around me and I didn’t want them to smell fear. It was around mile 7 that a kid that couldn’t have been much older than 11 or 12 flew past me that I realized the most important thing of all. This was a competition alright, but the competition was internal.
The Internal Fight
In all of my preparation (or complete lack thereof), I never thought about the race being a race against myself. Once I realized that I wasn’t competing against every other runner, but the real race was deep within, I was able to focus and cross the finish line.
The internal fight that I was fighting was not an easy victory. My mind was telling me to quit and my body had all but quit. It was the bite sized approach that pushed me through. Well that and my hard head.
Committed that I was not going to quick, I started looking at the run in a different manner. With about 5 miles left at this point, I started breaking down one mile at a time and each 1/10 mile. My brain told my body to step, step, step, step. Once I was able to get the momentum going again, I knew I could finish.
The Finish Line
Coming down the last stretch I remember thinking to myself “You did it!”. That was a huge accomplishment for me in my book. Yes I hurt and was already sore but I just ran a half marathon. My time for that first race was 2:12:16. A time that would take me another four tries at the half distance to break as a personal record.
The finish line in the race reminded me of the goals in life that we must meet. Sure we have different distances and times to get there, but the end goal is always to finish as best we can. In business, we choose to give up sometimes because it’s easier. There is very little internal reward in giving up.
The Fight Worth Fighting
I’ve now run in seven halfs and one full marathon. Each race has provided so much for me to learn about myself. The fight that is worth fighting is the one in front of us now. We cannot grow until we challenge ourselves in capacity higher than we are currently capable.
In weight lifting and strength training, the point that we are comfortably able to lift weights does us very little to change our physical muscle. It is not until we take the extra repetitions that we begin to see improvements. In running, it is the consistent mileage at varying distances and speeds that change our body.
When you find yourself in a tough situation in business, lean on the fact that you are stronger than you realize. Our bodies and minds are far more capable of things that we cannot even imagine. We have to commit to the task at hand to be successful.
Run The Good Race
I’ve never had a bad race. Sure I’ve had some that were painful and others that did not finish in a time that I was hoping for. A good race for me is when I am able to grow and learn from the experience. I may meet a new acquaintance that proves to be a valuable asset or learn something about my approach to pacing.
During my last half I used the 2 hours as an opportunity to finish listening to Grant Cardone’s The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure. The chance to grow through educational development was a great use of time management. I completed the race feeling refilled and refreshed.
Why You Should Run A Half
As I have laid out above, running the half taught me a lot about myself. I learned to overcome discomfort and see the long term reward. The realization that I can do things that I never believed to be possible was an important aha moment for me.
You really should run a half marathon. Now, I don’t recommend jumping in head first like I did. Find a suitable training plan and do it right, it is definitely more enjoyable that way.
Here are 5 reasons to run a half marathon:
It will make you happy!
Running releases endorphines which give runner’s their “high”. 30 minutes of exercise has been found to make someone significantly happier.
Running can help you live a healthier life by improving overall health, reducing the risk of heart disease, and it burns calories to help trim your waistline.
Keeps you sharp
I have found that when I run regularly, I have a sharper focus on life and my goals. Good habits feed other good habits. As you age, this becomes more important.
It can add years to your life
Studies have shown that running can add years to your life. What better way to make an impact than living longer?
Show you how to overcome
Like I said, running a half marathon properly requires preparation, commitment, training, and mental strength. Running the half distance pushes you physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you’re really up for the challenge, run the 26.2 mile full marathon.
What About You?
Question: If you’ve run a half or farther before, what did it teach you? What race will you commit to running within the next year? You can leave a comment by clicking here.