Life lessons I learned from my first half-marathon

Ok look, I know I promised I wouldn’t write any listicles. But I’m about to drop some real truth bombs, so listen up. For the past, what feels like 2839473289 months, I’ve training for my first half-marathon. I started off not being able to get through a single mile. Literally, when the treadmill hit 0.66 miles, I had to stop to catch my breath or nurse a leg cramp or something.

Even when I pushed myself to run more, I had to deal with all kinds of ridiculous beginner runner injuries like shin splints and swollen ankles and knees and I pretty much felt like an old lady limping on one foot around campus for many weeks. But thanks to the Couch to 5k app, a lot of Kendrick Lamar’s “good kid m.A.A.d. city” album on repeat, and the Map My Run app, I can now proudly say that as of Feb. 15, I’ve run a half-marathon in 2 hours and 30 mins, at an 11:04 pace. Not the greatest, I know, but to be honest, I’m just so proud that I finished. Running for hours at a time allows for a lot of introspection and unnecessary navel gazing so here’s the closest I’m going to get to disclosing the meaning of life on this blog.

  1. Consistency trumps skill. To get from 0.66 miles to 13.1, there is literally no shortcut. There’s no crash-course. You can’t “cram” training the night before, like you *cough* I *cough* study for exams. There’s no way to get from 0.66 to 13.1 other than consistently training for multiple days a week. I feel like if I applied this to all of my other goals, I would be much more forgiving of my initial inability, and have a lot more patience for the process it takes to go from mediocre to competent when you’re trying to develop a new skill.
  2. Competition is a good thing. When I was training by myself, I was running at a pace that was usually slower than 12 minutes. It was pretty bad. But just being surrounded by people on race day — people of all different skill levels and abilities — it pushed me to run and hold a pace much faster than I thought I was capable of. If I looked at competition as a healthy motivator instead of taking it as an attack on my personal abilities, I’d probably have a much healthier relationship and state of mind when dealing with it on a day to day basis.
  3. Don’t compare your first race to someone’s 20th. I was pretty happy just to finish the race. It’s ridiculous to expect to kill the game if it’s your first time playing. It’s great to have people to look up to and to motivate you and give you a goal to keep in mind of where you want to head. But putting your accomplishments in context with your experience is important.
  4. Rest and recuperation is just as important as training. This is something that I only realized in hindsight because “rest and recuperation” feels a lot like doing nothing. When I was dealing with pretty frequent injuries, making sure to abide by my rest days and making sure to cross-train are what helped me get over them. I guess that extends to every day as well. Don’t feel guilty about taking a reasonable break if that’s what’s preventing you from burning out.
  5. Mind over matter. Every time. When I was training on my own, exhausting the same routes and same music playlist every week, I was able to run about 6-7  miles without having to stop. On race day, with an entirely different and challenging route, a new playlist, and the energy of people around me, I was able to push through 10 miles without having to stop. It’s crazy how much of the challenge is a mental one.
  6. Success isn’t a defined destination. This is a conclusion that I’ve been arriving at, not just through running, but in other aspects of my life as well. You always feel like a beginner. There is no moment of “making it,” no matter how many goals you achieve and hurdles you overcome. I finished running my half-marathon, a goal I was working on for months. But immediately after finishing, I found myself idolizing the people with faster paces, or the people who went on to finish the full marathon. There are always people ahead of you, and always people behind you. The expression “Work until your idols become your rivals” is bullsh*t, because it assumes that your idols aren’t working towards their goals either. Your idols are not waiting for you to catch up, so the best you can do is keep working until you attain a level of self-contentment that’s not dependent on the achievement of people around you.
  7. It takes a while to love something. I think all of us have this secret wish that we’re going to find a skill that we’re magically amazing at and love immediately. But with running, I didn’t actually enjoy the process and look forward to running until really late in the game. I guess with anything, you have to invest energy and effort to really develop a passion for it. Now, after my first rest week in months, I’m anxious to get back to running.
  8. Sometimes, problems look worse than they actually are. During the half-marathon, we ran on NW 16th St., that Gainesville natives know, is absolute hell. Crazy rolling hills that I’ve never run before. Every time I’d see a hill, I’d think, “There’s no way I can run that.” But every time, I’d start the incline and realize that it was nothing close to the struggle I thought it would be. Definitely need to apply this my life. The most difficult part of a lot of challenges is to just get started.

Ok that’s it for now. This half-marathon has been a great confidence booster for me, and I’m hoping to ride this wave of motivation through the rest of the semester.

race

Maintaining Motivation: How to Overcome the Daily Struggle

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

When it comes to the daily grind of school, it gets too easy to forget why you chose a major and career goal in the first place. We can all relate to taking core classes that are sometimes completely irrelevant from our actual interests and dealing with difficult professors who makes it easy to lose focus. Here are some ways to incorporate more motivation into your day to keep you on top of your game and always putting your best foot forward.

For full post, click here.

Picture source: http://www.jeffshore.com

How to Beat the Monday Slump

Monday: the day of the week when getting out of bed is the hardest. It’s on this day that each minute of class feels like an hour. It’s when your levels of “can’t even” reach peak heights. If you’re looking to improve your Monday experience and make it slightly more bearable, check out these tips.

For full post, click here.

Picture source: anothermotherrunner.com

Popular Health Foods: Buy or Skip?

It feels like there’s a new diet fad to try out or a new health food to taste test every week. Here’s a breakdown of the most recent crazes and whether or not they’re worth your time and money.

1. Kale
Kale has exploded on the health food market in recent months with endless recipes and possibilities from kale chips to juice and everything in between. Touted as a “super food,” kale purportedly has high calcium, Vitamin K, Vitamin C and beta carotene content.

Verdict: Buy. Kale, as a leafy green veggie, definitely has tons of nutritional benefits and is easily incorporated into your diet in smoothies, salads and snacks. That being said, don’t go overboard with it like Jake Gyllenhaal. An all-kale diet sounds both unhealthy and miserable.

For full article, click here.

Picture source: chiaseedshealth.org

Why Being a Sophomore is Better Than Being a Freshman, as told by Harry Potter

Although the beginning of freshman year was riddled with anxiety, stress and unrealistic expectations, I can say from personal experience that sophomore year is a major improvement in all aspects of college life. Here are just a few of the things that make sophomore year so much sweeter:

1. Sophomores already have a group of friends to come back to. 
Freshman year was full of introductions, cheesy icebreakers and pressure to immediately become best friends with everyone you met, but sophomore year is not. There’s already an established group of friends whom you love and have seen through the best and worst times. Although there’s plenty of opportunity to meet new people and see new faces, sophomore year comes with the comfort of having people around that we’re already close to.

For full post, click here.

Picture Source: images2.fanpop.com

This post was a top chapter article on Her Campus, on Sept. 16, 2014!

A Freshman’s Guide to UF Involvement

It’s your first week at UF, and one walk through Turlington Plaza leaves you struggling to hold on to the dozens of fliers hastily shoved in your face, and bulletin boards around campus are a haphazard collage of neon papers. You know you need to start getting involved, but don’t know where to start. Not to worry, new collegiettes™! Here’s your all-inclusive guide to the do’s and don’ts of involvement, student organizations and extracurriculars in The Gator Nation.

DO join a club that has a group of people you feel you could get comfortable with. 
Involvement outside of the classroom is going to be a way to connect with people who have similar interests or career goals. Seek out groups that would not only provide a support system, but also push you to be your best with some healthy motivation. Steer clear of clubs and groups that pressure you into activities you don’t feel comfortable with, make you feel inadequate or that you just don’t click with. Your involvement should be a positive experience!

For full post, click here.

Picture source:

travel.naturalnorthflorida.com

This is the way the semester ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.

The last few weeks have been crazy hectic. All of you incoming freshmen: know that IB exams, high school finals, and AP exams ain’t got nothin’ on college finals week — it’s pretty much the bottom of the trough in the college happiness index graph. But now, recuperated by a healthy diet of good nights’ sleep and multiple home cooked meals, I write to you my last post as a First-year honors blogger (*cries*).

College is a time of change, as written in every cliche college guidebook ever written. Here are a few of the changes I’ve observed in myself, from the major to the trivial.

I never thought I’d…

Regularly drink coffee. I was never a coffee drinker, and I still don’t consider myself dependent on the caffeine fix like a lot of my friends, but there is a strange comfort in drinking an over-sugared, over-creamed, iced mocha coffee when you’re plugging away at Study Edge videos at Library West. To incoming freshmen, I bequeath unto thee this sage advice: don’t waste your time or money with the $5 Starbucks like I did the entire first semester. The 3- to 6- pm Dunkin’ Donuts $0.99 happy hour is where it’s at.

For full post, click here.

Picture source: i974.photobucket.com