Over the past three months, I have had countless fun and enjoyable experiences in the Outer Banks. It’s bittersweet knowing we only have less than a month of the semester left. Nevertheless, I have decided to write one journey that has been consistent throughout the fall semester: training for my first half marathon!
On my second day here, I decided to go on a six-mile run early in the morning. The evening before, I reunited with Steve and met Rebekah and Jane. Steve and Rebekah expressed interest in joining me on my run, which surprised me. Normally when I tell people I’m going on a run, no one really wants to join. Rebekah was the only one who actually made it on my run, since Steve was unable to force himself out of bed (which would be a common occurrence throughout the semester). This first run of the semester was hot and humid, despite it being early in the morning. However, I still had a blast running with Rebekah. She ran with me for over a mile before deciding to take a break. I ran for a little bit longer, but since I didn’t want to abandon my newly formed friend, I turned around. But when I reached her, she insisted I keep going and began to cheer me on!
Towards the end of my run, I was surprised to see Rebekah still running along the path. I was so impressed with her since she ran/walked four miles. Her perseverance was my main motivation to my first six-miler in the Outer Banks and she gave me hope for the rest of my training!
One of my favorite runs in the Outer Banks was at Jennette’s Pier. Steve, Joseph, and I decided to run by the shoreline, which would later be hazardous since my shoes became soaked. During our run, I could not help but appreciate our surroundings. The sun was beginning to set, which gave off a pink hue. The sand was left with freshly made footprints from Joseph and Steve running ahead. The waves provided a soothing sound effect. It has always been my dream to run at the beach during sunset, but never did I imagine I would enjoy it with the new friends I made at this field site. After our run, we rewarded ourselves by cooling off in the ocean, which felt rich to the touch.
My half marathon took place on Ocracoke Island, which requires a ferry ride to reach it. A group of my peers came to cheer me on, and I was thankful for their support! We booked a motel room on Ocracoke since my race started at 7 AM, which would require us to wake up bright and early. On race day, my alarm went off at 6:20 AM, and I was excited to start the day. Steve, however, was not.
Anna helped me get ready, and we went to group up with Rebekah and Blakely. I began my race and Blakely, Rebekah, Steve, and Anna cheered me on. I ran four miles until I saw Kenan and Jane cheering me on at the campgrounds. Shortly after, I saw Mackenzie and Caid sprinting from the bathrooms so they could see me run by.
The next time I saw my friends was from mile eight to mile ten. Rebekah held a sign that read “Run for the Sour Patches”, Steve taunted me to get me to run faster, Blakely and Anna were at the Ocracoke lighthouse, Jane and Kenan were at the Harbor, and Mackenzie and Caid cheered me on by a restaurant. At the end of the race, everyone was so excited for me; I, however, was dead and immediately looked for a chair to collapse in.
I am grateful for everyone who came out to cheer for me, both in-person and spiritually. I would not have been able to accomplish this goal without everyone at my field site. They helped me keep a great mindset by supporting and hyping me up for my runs. A special shoutout to the people who ran with me over the semester while I was training: Jason, Steve, Rebekah, and Joseph. Another shoutout to the people who came to support me at Ocracoke: Rebekah, Jane, Steve, Blakely, Anna, Mackenzie, Kenan, and Caid. For anyone reading this, make sure to go on adventures and to events with your peers. They might become some of the people you appreciate the most!
—Nathalie, OBXFS 21