The Runner’s High

Trigg Skoe


By Clarissa Dolson


half marathon, running, run
Clarissa Dolson, CSU student, poses after placing in one of her 13 completed half-marathons. (Photo Provided By Clarissa Dolson)

After thirteen half marathons, I am finally training for my first full marathon. If I have learned one thing from training for half marathons, it’s the importance of mental strength and endurance. Your legs will become accustomed to running long distances but your mind will always try to break you down. I have had many instances where I have wanted to give up and stop running altogether, but there is no greater feeling than crossing that finish line and breaking your last PR.

The road to my first marathon has not been an easy one, but it has been a great adventure. I have run half marathons in every weather condition from 100 degree Nebraska summer mornings to a muddy trail run in below freezing weather while it’s also pouring rain. I have placed in some of these half marathons and am constantly creating new personal records. One of my greatest accomplishments in running was back in the summer of 2016. My father, an avid marathon runner, and I headed up to the Montana/Wyoming area to run the Grand Teton and Yellowstone Half Marathons. I signed up for the Caldera Triple which is 2 two half marathons and a 5k in just under a week. On top of that, my father and I decided it would be a good idea to hike an average of 16 miles in between the races. We could not walk after that week!

With running, things don’t always go as planned, which can have an affect on your mentality. I have ended up in the hospital multiple times from heat exhaustion and heat stroke and have had my fair share of medical tent visits after my race. I have had chafing that left  my legs were completely raw with blood running down them, and I had to just grit my teeth and push through the pain. Pain and discomfort are something you have to train your mind to overcome when running.

half marathon, running, run
Clarissa Dolson, CSU student, poses with her dad after competing in one of her 13 completed half marathons. (Photo Provided By Clarissa Dolson)

Motivation, I’ve found, is another key to building mental endurance during a training period. When my father was deployed to Afghanistan for a year, I promised him I would keep up my running so when he came home we could run more races together. In April, he was granted a couple weeks to come home so he could visit family in Utah and, of course, this was the same time as the Salt Lake City Half Marathon. My mother and I collaborated on a plan so I could I fly up to Utah and surprise my father and we could run the race together. If that isn’t enough motivation to train for a race, I don’t know what is. I have run with my father for years and the bond we have built together is unlike any other. We compete, motivate, and support one another. This strong support system has helped my running a great deal and is the main reason why I am crazy enough to run my first full marathon.

Running isn’t easy, but it is not impossible, and anyone can do it. When I first started, I could barely finish a mile. Through disciple, dedication, and perseverance, I am where I am today. I am currently training for my fourteenth half marathon and will complete my first full marathon in the summer of 2019. Running has made such a positive impact on my life, and I am beyond excited to complete my first full marathon.