I’ve done them in Disney with friends, but I haven’t actually braved a half marathon alone since the Staten Island Half Marathon last October.
To say that that race really messed with me is kind of an understatement. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what happens when life doesn’t follow the linear progression of improvement the way we want. Running has become tied up with a lot of other things; it entered my life when I was undergoing a lot of changes and things seemed to be (relatively speaking) improving. Then I felt stuck and it reflected in life and in turn in running.
I couldn’t control the other things I was dissatisfied with, so I obsessed over running. Like an anorexic, I wanted control and running felt like the thing I could control; I could control my own body and make it work harder. But when I couldn’t, it was like I had no control over anything.
A year later, I feel like the Navy Air Force Half was a good gauge. It helped me conquer my fear of not being able to run alone, or worse yet running with my own dread, self-loathing, and problems always being along for the ride. If nothing else, mentally, I’m going into the Marine Corps Marathon with a much better mindset than I did the New York City Marathon last year.
Here’s to hoping you all are in a better place this year than you were last.