My alarm goes off and I open my eyes to a dark room. It takes me a moment to remember why the hell I’m getting up, but slowly reality comes back to me. I throw on my leggings, sports bra, and hoodie. It’s time to run.
I hit the road and am instantly filled with regret. The temperature is just below freezing. The ground is covered with a layer of frozen slush, causing my shoes to slide along moreso than run. I’m going no faster than I can walk. Ten miles to go.
Who the hell is masochistic enough to start training for a half marathon in the middle of a Boston winter? Me. Apparently I am.
Despite the terrible running conditions and early morning runs before class (during a full semester of organic chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and nutrition), I do it. I wake up every day and face the cold, packing in close to forty miles a week. I start eating high carb and protein meals, eating more to compensate for the energy used running long distances. I learn to discipline myself, pass up late nights of partying, and run.
Three months later, I cross the finish line of my first and potentially last half marathon. I have run 13.1 miles in just over two hours. No one came to watch me, but that’s okay. I did this for myself.
In its most basic sense, this race taught me to set a goal, work every day, and achieve it. I pushed my body to its limits and saw what it could do. I learned how to spend hours with just myself, listening to my body’s needs and pains. I may have hated the 5 am wake ups, but the payout is worth every second.