Bloomington, Indiana

State #4

Location: IU Campus
Half: Hoosier Half Marathon
Date:  March 28th, 2016

More Midwest? Yes…

This race was in many ways the turning point for my running goal. When I registered for this race, when I finally clicked submit, I had officially decided that I was on a mission to conquer all 50 states. The training for this race was when I finally realized that running was my peace when there was too much stress, when there was chaos, when I needed a little break from life. The journey to this race was when I finally realized what an amazing adventure this goal was providing me.

There was a massive amount of chaos brewing in my life during the training for this race. I was beginning my last semester of my senior year, my last semester in college, my last semester before shit got real. As I weaved through all of my final assignments, launched the job hunt, and panicked about the massive changes coming, I used running as my time alone. I used running as my time to worry solely about myself, my pace, my race. I focused on my breathing, my steps, my body, my mind.

As my mom and I began our journey to Indiana, I was grateful for the time I was able to spend with her during the craziness that was currently my life. I was thankful to escape from the Athens bubble for a weekend and focus solely on running my race.

As was usually the case with my mom and I’s trips, the journey to IU was quite an adventure. We got in late and decided to go to MY FAVORITE PRE-RACE PLACE TO EAT: OLIVE GARDEN!! I don’t know why, but something about that place (the salad and breadsticks) makes my heart happy. After eating dinner, we had dessert (I’m not sure why but for some reason my nutrition always takes a nose-dive the night before the race). Then we stopped at the gas station and I, per usual, got a snack (again, wtf??). Then we started the search for our hotel.

We got absolutely fucking lost. It was late, too late, past my usual bedtime, and we were stuck in the middle of nowhere on a highway that wasn’t even registering in mapquest. It kept telling us to take exits that didn’t exist. It was making up roads that were nowhere to be seen. We were on a wild goose hunt at freaking 10 p.m. before race day. I was screwed. Finally we found a place to turn around, got on the right road, and we were led into a state park…

What the hell??? WHERE WERE WE?? Did we accidentally register for a campsite and not a hotel room? What the hell. Out of NOWHERE a hotel appeared, a beautiful hotel with what turned out to be great beds and a beautiful pond behind it, all tucked away inside a secluded state park. At this point I was thinking, “Okay, so I’m freaking sick to my stomach from filling my stomach so full, I am going to be tired as hell in the morning, oh and the forecast says it’s going to be about 20 degrees…. AWESOME.”

It was fucking freezing. Like the freezing where your hands can’t even be exposed to the air without gloves for protection. I was full of nerves and anxious energy as I looked around the starting line and saw hundreds of girls and boys my age (22) running for their schools: Texas, Wisconsin, OSU, you get the point. “Just run your race,” I thought to myself. And the race began. It was beautiful, cold, but beautiful. The sun was shining, the air was thin, I was thankful to be alive and to be running.

We ran through the campus, through neighborhoods surrounding campus, through parks and around big, long, bends of the road. It was a beautiful run with so much to see. As I was running, I realized my pace was actually pretty great, it was my best run yet. I was cruising, passing college runners during the hills that the hills of Athens had prepared me for during my training. I was in my zone. Then my phone died. Rather than just giving up and submitting to a pity party, I picked it up. I ran faster, pushed harder, literally to the point of tears. I was so thankful to be free to run, be able to push myself, to be worrying solely about my body and my mind. As I raced around the final corner, my phone turned back on. It blasted, “I don’t fuck with you” into my ear as I took my final step.

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