Running is not my preferred way to stay active, but somehow I ended up completing a half marathon in under 2 hours with only 4 months of training and a knee brace. I am not a glamorous runner by any means; I breathe hard and stumble while also trying to maintain a quick pace. Somehow at age 18 – only 6 months after my 1st ACL surgery – I decided to sign up for a half marathon. It was right before Christmas and I was finally able to walk again post-surgery when I decided. The race was at the beginning of March, so it was time to get to work. Running a half marathon was something that always scared me, so I knew I had to go for it. I believed in myself and that is all that mattered.
The preparation was challenging, but I had a determined group of friends that held each other accountable through the entire process. We started off running 1 mile a day and slowly increased the distance over the 4 month span. This meant 1 mile a day for a week, 2 miles a day for a week, etc. Eventually, we finished out the final week running 12 miles two separate times. We saved the full 13.1 miles for the big day so we could say the first time we ran a half-marathon was on race day – not the smartest idea because that extra mile is tough but we didn’t care.
I trained for this while in high school, working a part-time job, and preparing to compete in Miss South Carolina; so time had to be set aside daily for training. This meant 5am alarms and late night runs at the gym after work. On Christmas Day, New Years, and even Saturday mornings I maintained my training. One week in January, it snowed in South Carolina and all the roads froze over. I ran to the gym and completed my training inside – there were no excuses.
Running a half marathon gave me much more than physical strength and a medal I get to show off. It gave me confidence, endurance, and time management. Running across that finish line is something I will never forget. My dad met me at the 12 mile mark to cheer me on the last mile because that was the hardest mile of my life. The elevation of the hills in downtown Columbia, South Carolina with the morning humidity rolling in was taking a toll on me, but I did it. We all did it.
The race ended at the state house while we were awarded medals and I even came in 2nd in my age group. Little did I know this was the start of my adventurous life.
The way I did this was waking up every morning with a goal: work towards completing a half marathon. The main key was dedication. This type of dedication made me mentally and physically stronger, and slowly a half marathon did not scare me. It was one of the first events that jumpstarted my “I can do anything” mindset.
From here, I have gone on to accomplish many things such as sky diving, flying a plane solo, and more.