A Stream of Thoughts While Running a Half Marathon in Yosemite

There comes a time in some people’s life (mine) where they (me) decide they are going to be the person who runs half marathons.

Maybe it’s a godly force of human athleticism that inspires this lunacy, or maybe it’s a well posed Instagram ad that prompts you to text your best friend and say something like, Yosemite Half? And your text prompts her to say something like, Hmm, there’s a thought. We’re sufficiently in shape people. We completed at least 60% of Whole 30 that one time. We run the Marina Green bi-weekly. We’re here for all the fitness trends under the sun. (And boy let me tell you, in these parts that constitutes as a second job.)

Half marathon. Yeah, we could do that. That is something we could physically do.

But is it?

Physically, yes. No one died. (At least to my knowledge). But mentally? That’s a different game, amigo. We went to some dark places on that run. 

When we signed up for the run, we weren’t thinking of the 4 a.m. wake up call or the foggy freezing temperatures or the fact that Yosemite is in the middle of literal nowhere, or that that thirteen miles is a long drive let alone a long run, and also elevation is a thing and it makes it harder to breathe. Much harder. You know what else makes it harder to breathe? Running. Ha. Go figure. 

After four hours in a vehicle driving through nondescript tiny towns of California, my sense of adventure was matched with my sense of dread and fear and doubt that I could really, in fact, do what I was about to do. I thought to myself, this is probably the closest I will ever get (I hope) to feeling like I’m about to go to war. In this first world bubble of mine, I can’t decide if I am proud or ashamed that this is one of the more difficult things I’ve done. In all honesty I’m still not sure what to feel...

Anything goes in a half marathon. You can make a best friend in the amount of time it takes to double knot your shoes. En route to the shuttle stop, we picked up three hitchhikers. I guess runners have a blind and unwavering trust in one another. Based on the outrageously eccentric people falling in line, jazzed up on endorphins and decked out in lycra and sweat-tech gear, however, I’m not entirely sure that trust is properly founded. 


Thoughts I had while running a half marathon: 

Man, is it early. 

Do I hate myself? Surely I must, because why the ‘eff would I have agreed to this otherwise. 

Did I PAY MONEY to participate in this? Why?!

And how is it possible that hundreds of people shared the same idiotic thought that running a half marathon would be fun? 

Did a ten-year-old just lap me? Wait, did a seventy-year-old just lap me? 

Have I lost ten pounds yet? 

How about now? 

When does Runner's High set in? 

Do I look like Ty Haney yet? 

Am I hashtag doing ENOUGH things yet?? 

Outdoor Voices. This is all your fault. 

Whatever dick decided a half marathon was going to be thirteen POINT ONE miles can go take a long run off a short pier. It’s cruel and unusual and also mathematically dissatisfying. 

After that 13th mile, you can see the finish line. It’s there. Yet still, so ‘effing far. 

Your entire human form is crying. 

You’re sweaty. 

You’re ugly.

It all hurts, then it goes numb, then it all hurts again. 

You’re struggling. I don’t know, maybe there’s been a large twig stuck in the bottom of your Hoka One’s and you’re too competitive to stop and fish it out so now you’re running club-footed, groaning like an undead zombie. 

Running down this last point one mile could very well be a torture tactic. Someone alert Guantanamo. I’m not kidding. I literally hate everything about everything. But then...


Thoughts after running a half marathon: 

The world is my oyster, I am the most beautiful gazelle-like specimen of a homosapien since seventeen-year-old Brooke Shields walked this earth. 

I feel like a bendy rubber band ball; I could probably run to the moon.

I love everyone and everything around me and the world is so lucky to have me. 

I love myself. Mhmm. 

Tell me I’m not the greatest thing that ever existed. I dare you. 

Let’s sign up for another one? We should totally do more of these. (Repeat cycle.)

// Photography by Hosea Georges.


Isabella Welch is a graduate of UCLA with a degree in history. Her writing has been featured in history journals, travel blogs, arts & culture magazines, and more. Director of Editorial & Creative Development at Bob Cut Mag, lover of stories and tinto de verano, she’s usually found wandering the Headlands.


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