All of a sudden, searches of upcoming marathon races and even ultra marathons and half IronMan races around the world dominate my browsing history. Despite reminding myself that my first and most recent half marathon was only 13.1 miles, I still fell into a rabbit hole on YouTube of training plans, race day vlogs and countless experienced runners telling their stories.
I’m fascinated to hear how other people got into running. The same weekend of my half marathon was also the New York City Marathon, one of the major five marathons in the world. “Runtok” took over my TikTok feed and countless pictures and vlogs from mile one all the way to mile 26.2 were shared on social media for everyone to understand the emotional rollercoaster that running a race entails.
Seeing thousands of runners all working towards the same goal (literally) gave me such a big wave of comfort as I prepared to tackle my first half marathon. It’s a truly indescribable feeling to be part of a community where you don’t necessarily know everyone but feel like you’re still connected to them all in some way. It’s sort of like the “If you know, you know” moment. There were countless weeks when many of us had to skip on a fun night out so that we could get quality rest and be hangover-free the next morning for a 12-mile run. No more binge-drinking on the weekends; taking magnesium and carb-loading on a Friday night became our lives, in the best way possible.
I personally look forward to having a routine. By eliminating most uncertainty in my life and having a set plan to work towards my goals, I feel more motivated to push harder in school and other areas of self-development without feeling stressed. A lot of the time, my mindset is: “I’ve ran 13 miles, what’s so hard about writing a five page research paper?” By framing things in this way, the task at hand diminishes and I complete it with a better mindset and come out with less stress.
Of course running isn’t for everyone, whether it’s due to injury or simply because cardio isn’t your thing, there are a variety of reasons why this specific sport may not be for you. But, injuries aside, one race is all it takes to catch the marathon bug, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Though it’s certainly a sacrifice of time and energy, that same amount of time and energy you put in comes back and catapults itself into other aspects of your life. So take this as a sign to take a chance on yourself and your abilities by signing up for the Berkeley 5K or even the half marathon next year. Who knows, maybe you’ll fall in love and catch the marathon bug too.