13.1 Miles Later...

November 26, 2014
Rachel Newman

I recently ran my first half-marathon, hopefully the first of many more. I woke up at 5:30 a.m., went out into the 30-degree weather (real-feel 21? yep...) in my blue striped knee-socks and neon pink sneakers and equipped with a playlist of Lady Gaga, Avicii, Israeli reggae, and about 20 songs I heard on the radio in India this summer.

And I ran. A lot.

I remember my first gut impulse to do something like this came this summer, when I got the same email I had been receiving for the past two years about the Princeton half, which I usually ignored. But this time it was different.

As I may have mentioned more than a few times, I spent most of my summer traveling alone. First, a visit to London, during which I toured the city alone for two weeks and became about 200 percent more cultured than I was when I first landed. It was a pretty good deal. Then, the main event of my summer, as you all know by now, was my internship at the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy in Kolkata, India. During my time in both of these places, with such an enormous amount of freedom and so much to see and do, I found myself adopting a policy of "sign up to see XYZ areas of town each day, and figure out the details when I got there." 

I realized I needed to set a loose agenda for each day and get as much done as possible on each outing, leaving room for detours and being open to spending as much time out and going as far away from my living arrangements as public transportation and safety would allow.  Put more succinctly, I winged it most of the time.

This little policy of mine had me looking at an email advertising something I considered way too crazy for me a little differently than I had in the past. All of the sudden, a little voice in my head said "sign up, and work out the details later."

And that's exactly what I did. I had enough friends who had experience in long-distance running to get tips (and I had the internet!) and I had friends who were on the board of Team U and could get me set up with a team.  It wasn’t a totally smooth ride, and I got the best of strained muscles and balancing schedules just like any good runner, but I got to be a runner.

And next chance I get, I can’t wait to do it again.