Running Through My Mind: A ‘Timehop’ Reflection

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For those who don’t know what the app “Timehop” is, it’s basically a way for people to make a #TBT everyday (which stands for Throwback Thursday, for those who really don’t keep up with the times). It pulls content from all of your social media accounts and tells you what you posted on that exact day one year ago, two years ago, three years ago, and so on.

My favorite is seeing statuses from eighth grade Holly who thought she’d get hundreds of messages by posting “text me <3” every day. *Insert eye-rolling emoji*

With the Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon this weekend, I know I am going to see a plethora of pictures from when I did it last year in my Timehop, so I thought I’d reflect on my experience of my first (and only) half marathon.

First of all, I can’t believe it’s already been a year; I remember having the relieving thought of “yes, now I can go for a two-mile run and not feel guilty,” and while I recently began training for my second one, I’m already excited to have that same weight lifted.


Training for the Rock ‘N Roll was difficult for me – I started at the end of March while I was still at school, and while I had a good routine going then, coming home and working full time totally messed that up. Come June when I was supposed to be up to eight miles, I was still struggling with five. Cue the freak-outs.

I actually contemplated dropping out; I remember having one really terrible long run a few weeks beforehand, and my mom told me I didn’t have to do it if the training was just going to stress me out. I was more nervous about falling to the side of the road dead than I was stressed about getting my mileage in, but I continued with it anyways.

So many people had told me that the adrenaline gets you through the race; even if it feels long, there are hundreds of other people around you going through the same things, and if they can, so can you. While I doubted them, those were my feelings for much of the race – whenever an 11-year-old or 84-year-old passed me, I thought, “alright I’m not that pathetic, I can do this.”

And I did do it! I did walk a little bit (after stopping for a bathroom break my motivation was significantly lower), but when I crossed that finish line, I actually had tears of accomplishment in my eyes. I had been saying since high school I wanted to run the 13.1 miles, and I finally did.

Now, everyone I talk to who also ran the 2015 Rock ‘N Roll Half, the first thing they comment on is how brutally hot and humid it was – even though the race started at 6:30 a.m., I was sweating just standing on the start line. Thank goodness for the sponges and misters they had along the course and after the finish line, because a heat stroke was not an unlikely outcome.

Overall, I enjoyed the race a lot – aside from the heat, the course went pretty fast and there were people cheering everywhere. However, the one thing that disappointed me was the lack of music: the name itself indicates it’s a rock ‘n roll themed race, and the website said that a band would be playing at every mile to aid motivation. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. From what I can remember, the first five miles were completely silent, and all of the bands were crammed in towards the end. The theme is what actually persuaded me to do the race, so I hope this year the music scene is a lot livelier for those running.

The after-party was definitely jammin’ though. Andy Grammar performed, and at the peak of his song “Honey, I’m Good,” he was a hit. The post-race food was good as always, and the overall attitude was extremely positive. If I could see four months into the future and know the expected weather conditions of race day, I would definitely do the Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon again.

As mentioned above, I am currently training for my second half marathon. I’ll be competing in the Life Time Chicago Half Marathon on Sept. 25, and fingers crossed that it’s not the middle of an Indian summer or beginning of the next ice age. But in Chicago, anything is possible. And hopefully next September when I look at my Timehop, I’ll think “wow, best race of my entire life.”

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Holly's running career began in high school; after being bummed about not making the volleyball team her sophomore year, she decided to join some of her middle school friends on the cross country team. She also did track in the fall, where the 1600 m race was her niche. Since then, she has run several 5Ks, and completed her first half marathon in July 2015. She graduated from Illinois State University in May 2016 with a degree in journalism.