After a half marathon, I want to do a full one, but let me first share my journey to the half.
I entered the race with uncertainties of how it is going to be and how I am during and after it. I signed up for the race only two weeks before it happens with a belief that my almost two years of just running 1–1.5 miles everyday can be a good foundation and that my 6 mile training is a good evidence to double up as well as with an excitement that this is a challenge worth to go for. 4 days before the race happened, my back pain had come back and knocked me down, which stopped me from doing any further training. Not to mention, I had a history of failing PE (Physical Education) class in middle school, which of course does not matter anymore yet still gives me the nerve.
I was scared and worried for my body but I tried to calm myself down and to listen to my body because I know that no matter how much I am willing, if my body does not collaborate, it is not gonna work. Those four days were time for me to go back and to take care of my body as well as to settle down with the fact that I might not be able to join the half marathon or not be able to complete it, regardless my health is the most important thing. Therefore, I set a goal for me to go beyond, to still be able to run as normal even after the marathon, not just to stop there. Even my friends and family were worried for me, they know my back pain history. However, that was also the time I received so much support and encouragement while I myself had nothing other than a belief and a hope. Before the race, despite all of the challenges, I was happy.
On the day, I had two amazing friends who both did half marathon and full marathon took me to the race, who supported me for every details regarding the race, and most importantly who were there to cheer me up. They took care of all of the logistic so that I could just be there and enjoy the race. On our drive to the venue, they helped me to mentally prepare of how it will look like and all the pro tips, plus it is the best to have someone who knows you well to be with you in the important events. They are a big part of my success, from the beginning to the end.
During the race, for the very first miles, I felt easy and strange because I usually just run alone, now I had so many people around and so much support. On the way to Golden Gate bridge, I enjoyed the view and got curious about the runners around me, their life, their stories, and what made them want to be here. Interestingly, I did not feel tired or had any back pain. I was happily running. There were people from all walks of life, from all groups of ages, with different goals coming here for the race, yet we share one thing, running. I was amazed to see people who are at my grandma’s age still run. Then I was distracted by my thoughts, I thought about how privileged I am to have this opportunity, I thought about bigger things I want to do, I thought about my fears, and I thought about the future. Only when I heard the volunteers’ voice “Water?” and someone behind said “Thank you” to the volunteers, my mind got back to the run. The last three miles, I started feeling hungry, and I felt I could do much more than this, that I should go for a full marathon, still with much more training of course. At the finish line, it was a cool experience to have so many people cheer you up and call your name, and that you know yes, I did it!
Now that I may feel my everyday run too small and easy, I know for sure that it takes a lot of littleness to be great at something, from 1 mile to 6 miles, from 6 miles to 13 miles, and from 13 miles to 26 miles. And that small experience of running every day is enough for me to appreciate, I run just because I want to run. To me, this half marathon is never a competition to win over others, nor an achievement. It is just a high mark of my journey in running, an exciting and memorable experience for me and people who care about me, a birthday gift for myself, and a motivation for me to do the full marathon and many more running, a competition of my own.