The Half that didn’t happen
Susan Zhu | Friday, April 15, 2016
I woke up to snow on April 9. Actually, no — I woke up to a blizzard. I looked over at the t-shirt and shorts ensemble I had laid out for that morning and felt my stomach drop. For four months I had looked forward to (and dreaded) this day. Despite the weather, I threw on two sweatshirts and began the long, cold trek from Ryan Hall to Stepan Center. The atmosphere in Stepan the morning of the Holy Half was one of excitement and confusion. The race had already been delayed 15 minutes as the snow continued to pile on the ground, and I had the sinking feeling the organizers would soon announce what everyone in the room was thinking. At 9:10, five minutes before the race was supposed to begin, a statement was made that the 12th Annual Holy Half was canceled due to potential safety hazards along the race path.
I never anticipated the sadness I felt as I walked home. I didn’t run a half marathon that morning. I didn’t get to do round two and attempt a new P.R. from last year’s Half. I had planned on running the race every year I attended Notre Dame, and it was overwhelmingly disappointing the weather decided I would be unable to do that.
I tell my friends I do one cool thing a year, and that cool thing is always the Holy Half. My training plan both years was abhorrent, but I was looking forward to pushing myself for a little under two hours with 1500 other runners. I didn’t pick up running until I came to college and I couldn’t find the motivation to hit the tennis courts every day as I had in high school. As I walked home, I remembered the shared disappointment, as people reflected on months of training and anticipation. Some still ran in the snow, but I knew it was something I couldn’t do, as I nearly slipped three times just on the walk over.
Although I didn’t end up running the race, I am still glad I made the goal in December to beat last year’s time. It pushed me on off-days, and kept me going. It was what got me through the last few miles on a long run, and gave me a little bit of purpose in each day. Even if I would have a bad day, I wouldn’t have a bad run. I know that the Half is a goal for a lot of people, and even though the majority of the runners didn’t accomplish that goal physically, I still believe they completed it. A canceled race doesn’t negate the hard work and hundreds of miles run during training. There will always be a little leftover sadness for the Half that didn’t happen, but I am still grateful for the way it pushed me to be better than I was and for the purpose it put into every day. As I start my training for the 2017 Chicago Marathon, I can only hope it doesn’t blizzard in early October.