Third Half Marathon in the Books // Why I Run

My whole body hurt when I woke up this morning and my first thought was "OH GOD WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?!" Then I remembered that, not only did I run 13.1 miles yesterday, but I managed to fall flat on the cement at mile 3 while doing so. At least falling while I run is nothing new. ;) Considering that today is Father's Day, the fact that yesterday marked the day that my dad and I crossed the finish line together, marking his first half marathon and my third, is pretty special. It was in the fall, when my dad was running the Old Glory Relay with Team Red, White & Blue, that we had the idea to run a half together. He hadn't even trained for the relay, thinking he'd run 5 miles at a time, max. So when he texted me one day casually telling me he ran 11 miles I couldn't even believe it. LIKE OKAY DAD YOU ROCK. We picked out the Rock n' Roll half marathon in Seattle, I created a training plan for him, and BOOM we were in action.

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This time around, I didn't stress too hard about training. Our goal was to run it together and finish it together, not try to make a certain time. Not constantly worrying about my time while training made it so much more enjoyable and it helped make the whole thing a lot more fun, as running should be.

And let me tell you, this race was SO FUN. The other two half marathons I've ran were really small, local runs, so I didn't even know what to think when we arrived in Seattle yesterday morning at 6:30am. Music was blasting and thousands of people were roaming around... you could say my nerves starting getting to me. But once we started running it was like the miles were just flying by. I honestly checked my watch a couple times to make sure it was working right because I thought there was no way it was going so well.

Then the worst case scenario happened. At mile 1 I saw an old man who had fallen and was bleeding everywhere (gross, I know, sorry) and I thought "Wouldn't that be just my luck if I fall?" (I have a tendency to do so when I'm running). At mile 3 I turned around because I thought I had lost my dad in the crowd, and next thing you know I was getting up close and personal with the cement. I hopped back up with my dad's help, let myself cry for 2.2 second then we were off! Yes... I'm that crazy runner who skids across the cement then gets up and runs 10 more miles with blood all over her.

Everything was going well until about 9 miles when my knee started hurting so badly, but there was no way in he** that I wasn't going to finish. I ran through the pain, took one more little stop because I thought my knee was legit about to break in two, and downed some tylenol from the medic station (after they almost wouldn't give it to me because they thought I was too young...) and we somehow still finished in under two hours!!! Under two hours for his first half marathon? Once again, MY DAD ROCKS.

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Crossing that finish line, holding hands with my dad, was one of the most amazing things I think I will ever experience and I will cherish that memory forever. Through (literal) blood, sweat and tears, my dad and I did it and I couldn't be more proud.

People tend to assume I've been a runner my whole life, considering how big of a role it plays in my life now. The truth is, I didn't really start running until winter of my freshman year of college. I'd been a dancer my whole life, then a cheerleader all through high school. I did track freshman year of high school, but I sprinted and I didn't even really like it. I tried it out again junior year, opting for long distance, but knee troubles forced me to stop. Until college I just worked out at the gym, doing the elliptical mainly and lifting. The max I would ever run was 3 miles and that was pushing it.

On November 16, 2014 one of my friends was killed in a random act of violence right off of our college campus. Life just kind of crumbled around me and I didn't know how to cope, so I turned to the two things that play huge roles in my life now: my faith and my running. I reconnected with my faith as a way to help me find hope, peace and let go of some of my anger. I took up running to help me clear my head and find solitude in the confusion that life had become. I may not be vocal about the fact that that's why I began running, but I run every mile for him, and through these miles I have learned so much about my own strength (mental and physical) and passions, and it has given me a sense gratitude for this amazing life we get to live. It may be a slow journey, but running has helped me begin to heal, and I am so thankful for that.

Running has helped me through the hardest time of my life, and continues to help me through every struggle, bad day and frustration. Running also helps me celebrate the good days and excitement, soak up the beautiful place(s) I live in, and truly feel alive. It has blessed my life in a way I can't even begin to explain and for that I'm forever grateful.

"The hour or so I spend running, minding my own silent, private time, is important to help me keep my mental well-being. When I'm running I don't have to talk to anyone and don't have to listen to anybody. All I need to do is gaze at the scenery passing by. This is the part of my day I can't do without." - Haruki Murakami

XO nat