Author: Kacey Hengesbach


Hi! I did it! I completed the Holy Half! I have to say that it is probably my greatest accomplishment since getting into this University that I now call home. If you're new, head over to my first post to learn more about the Holy Half by clicking here!

Training was such a unique journey—unlike any that I've ever embarked upon and I've come to appreciate running more than I ever thought possible. I think that I've gained alot from the pressure that I put upon myself to complete a task that at once seemed impossible and I feel like I've grown as a person. I figured there is no better way to reflect upon a journey than to give advice to someone who also wants to embark upon that same journey so, here's 13.1 tips for completing the Holy Half!

TIP 1: NEVER SAY NEVER

  • Had you asked me last year if I ever thought I would be capable of completing a Half Marathon, I would've laughed and said it probably would never happen. Although I have had this run on my Notre Dame Bucket List since freshman year, I never imagined that I would ACTUALLY train for it and complete it. I imagined that it would be part of the 'I never go to it' section of my bucket list because running has never been that important to me. However, I did it and proved to myself that even tasks that are seemingly impossible can and will happen.

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TIP 2: USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM

  • This is the most important part of my race day ritual and the sole reason I was able to run 13.1 miles. Without the encouragement and support of my dear friend Sadie, I would never have been able to continue running when things got tough. That is what friends are for, to pick you up when you fall (I literally fell and twisted my ankle so she actually had to pick me up lol) and to believe in you even when you don't believe in yourself. Find yourself some good friends that will be there for you, no matter what crazy events (such as running a half marathon) you try.

TIP 3: PUSH YOURSELF

  • It is so easy to go through life without ever wanting to move outside your comfort zone. However, I truly believe that you will never grow so much as a person than when you make yourself do things that aren't comfortable. Life isn't meant to be wasted and everyone dies but only a few truly live. Therefore, push yourself to do things that aren't easy and aren't expected of you. You'll be amazed at what you are capable of.

TIP 4: LOVE YOUR BODY

  • As with most girls, I have never truly loved the way that I look. Its so easy to find the flaws and point them out to yourself when you look in a mirror. I know that my body is still not "perfect" but I've never loved myself so much as when I saw that my body was capable of carrying me 13.1 miles. It showed me that bodies are beautiful not because of what they look like, but becasue of what they can do. Appreciate yours for that - for what it does. 

TIP 5: MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY

  • I've never felt as good as I have this semester while prioritizing healthy choices such as getting adequate sleep. You are far more capable of being successful when you are well rested and you will be amazed at how much your ambition increases when you're not simply looking forward to the next time you can nap because you are well rested. This is a huge fact that I have learned while in college and the sooner you learn to make sleep a priority, the sooner you will be living a less stressful, healthy life.

TIP 6: KEEP HYDRATED

  • This goes for all activities of ever. If you remember to drink lots and lots of water, you will avoid sickness, cramps, headaches, and much much more. The race itself was made much more toleratable thanks to the water stations along the route and all the hydrating I was advised to do before the race.

TIP 7: TAKE IT ONE STEP AT A TIME

  • Every journey starts with one step. This includes half marathons. Don't look at the whole 13.1 miles, just look at each step in front of you and it really won't seem as scary. This is also applicable to other parts of life. Nothing is too big for you to do if you break it down and take it step by step.

TIP 8: NEVER GIVE UP

  • It definitely is easier to quit when the going gets tough, however nothing worth doing is ever accomplished if you give up easily. Push through the tough times and watch as you impress yourself and those around you. Nothing is better than the taste of victory after a hard-fought battle.

TIP 9: SET GOALS FOR YOURSELF

  • People who set goals for themselves are able to track their progress as they move toward those goals. Set yourself some goals, even ones that are going to be a lot of work to accomplish. It will help you get your life in order and also help you to acheive all of your dreams.

TIP 10: MAKE THE MOST OF COLLEGE

  • As mentioned in my first post, college is a chance to try new things. This for me meant trying to become a runner. Although that wasn't quite what happend and I have more blisters and sore muscles than a typical 'runner' might have after a half marathon, this attempt did help me to grow as an individual. Find something that will push your boundaries and try it out.

TIP 11: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

  • Now, you need to realize that your body will feel better if you attempt to eat healthy. Especially if you want to do a half marathon, you need to eat a good breakfast prior to the run. I was also advised by friends of to stay away from fiber and increase your carb intake in the days leading up to the race. Now, let me just state that I am in no way a doctor and I don't study nutrition so I can't be held liable for anything that results from you following my advice. But it is super important in college to learn to feed your body what it needs to succeed.

TIP 12: THERE'S NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT

  • You can say you'll start tomorrow but tomorrow you will wish you started today. The longer you push things off, the harder it is to actually start working toward a goal. So stop procrastinating and making excuses, get up and make a positive change today!

TIP 13: ANYONE CAN BE A RUNNER

  • I mean this. The Holy Half is an event that causes people of all different levels to run. There are people who run the Holy Half that have done many half marathons and there are people who run the Holy Half that have never done them. There is also a 10k that you can run if a half marathon freaks you out. I have mad respect for anyone that attempts to do any kind of run or athletic event. There's nothing more inspirational than people trying to be the best they can be!

BONUS  TIP 0.1: MAKE A NOTRE DAME BUCKET LIST

  • There is no better way to make the most of your time at Notre Dame than by making a list freshman year of all the Notre Dame traditions that you need to do before you graduate! Watch for my next blog that covers the essentials of a Notre Dame bucket list.

 

Thank you for following along on my journey and I wish you the best of luck in your own 13.1 mile journey!