by Daniel Millar
I actually did most of my training abroad! I started seriously training back in September when my semester in Madrid, Spain started. And I was lucky enough to live just 10 minutes away from a neighborhood park while I was there, so I got into the routine of running each night after classes ended. Which was really cool, because I got to experience the three seasons pretty intimately while I was there. You can actually look up pictures of the park on Google. It’s pretty beautiful. It’s called Retiro Park in Madrid Spain. Watching the leaves change each day was probably one of my favorite things about my time in Madrid. So I decided to sign up last April after having just turned 20 – also thought it would be a good way to start my 20s off right.
Anyways, back to the running stuff. So my training plan built up to a long 20 mile run after my semester ended when I returned back to the States. I actually ran two days after Christmas in San Antonio, which in hindsight, wasn’t that great of an idea considering Christmas time for my family means binge eating for about a week straight while digesting it all during our Netflix marathons. But alas, I managed to survive what was at the time the longest run I had ever done in my life.
And then in the past couple of weeks up through the end of my first week back at Rice meant turning it down a notch, carb loading, and resting up until race day. So I can’t really say that my Syllabus Week this time around was all too exciting considering I was in hibernation mode all week. But it definitely was all worth it, because being able to say I successfully ran a full marathon is one of the biggest accomplishments of my life.
As much as it was a physical challenge (and this next week of limping will attest to that), I would say running a marathon is a test of one’s mental strength. And I’m not saying I’m the strongest willed person, but I can say that did gain a lot of self-respect along the way.
Like during the marathon, there were SO MANY times where I really just wanted to stop, and I tried to come up with excuses to justify why that would be a good idea. But just knowing that my friends and family were out there supporting me (even if it meant just seeing them for like a split second of the race) gave me huge inspiration to just keep going. Which I know is cheesy, but it’s the truth.
And it’s funny, because people keep asking me when the next one is gonna be, and right now that’s the last thing on my mind. But I can say that running will continue to be a huge part of my life – a lot because I think running reflects the challenges that life offers. Life’s like a marathon. It’ll give you a million reasons to wanna stop or focus on what’s going wrong in that moment. But it’s taught me that really anything is possible if you take it one step at a time.