Tim’s Half Marathon Project

“I’d always admired distance runners and their examples of the mental grit and physical stamina required to complete such a challenge. I wanted to become more physically fit after switching to a desk job. I’d dreamed of running a half-marathon (and more!) ever since my early teens but for a long time, I doubted that I was capable of pulling it off. In my mind, it was nearly a “too-big” challenge. However, in choosing a project for Ascend, I realized that training for and running a half-marathon was pretty easy to plan, even with the busy schedule I had at that time.

“I was expecting the most rewarding part to be the joy of running a half-marathon. It was awesome to cross the finish line alongside my friend Tamma and feel the exhilaration of a goal accomplished with lots of sweat! The rewards went way beyond that, though.

“The best rewards came along the way as I trained for the half-marathon. About halfway through the 10-week training program, it hit me: I could tackle audacious goals, break down the steps necessary to achieve them, and make them happen. That was an incredibly freeing moment for me as I realized that hardly any goal is too big to tackle if one just plans for it, prepares for it, and goes after it with grit. This has been a powerful life skill that has changed my outlook on life.”

¬†“The hardest part was maintaining the grit to get it done. Distance running was much more of a mental game than a physical one for me and I learned that if my mind can decide to endure, my body will follow. There were lots of times I felt I couldn’t give any more, that I couldn’t run any faster or longer. In those moments when I felt the weakest, the hardest part was overcoming the mental block and simply refusing to stop. Unrelenting persistence became my mental theme.

“To overcome those hard moments, I adopted my own mantra, which I borrowed from Scott Grant: “Just don’t quit.” I’d repeat this over and over on long runs and reminded myself that as long as I was putting one foot¬†ahead of the other, I was making progress. I also reminded myself often of why I started and that the end goal was to complete a half-marathon.

Finally, I tried hard to keep it fun! I made sure I had good running shoes, used great supplements, and ran in fun places to add variety to training. I also used an app to set goals and track progress with friends.

“[The most important thing I realized is] that nearly any audacious goal is attainable if you can identify it, put steps in place to achieve it, work hard, and just don’t quit. It’s hard to emphasize how much this realization changed my outlook on life. Instead of thinking, ‘That’s not possible for me!’ I started thinking, ‘Man, what does it take to knock that one out?’

“I also learned the importance of being surrounded by supportive friends while on the adventure of conquering goals. Training with Tamma and sharing my progress with family and friends helped me progress way faster than if I had done it alone.”

“Finally, I learned that audacious goals take time, sweat, and grit to accomplish. Few things in life worth having can be had very quickly. They take time. It’s important to pace yourself and put in the hard work even when you don’t feel like it. If you know what you want most over what you want now, you can make it happen.” – Tim