Here we go! #MotivationMonday

I simply can’t fathom that Race Week is here. Every workout, every short jaunt and long sprint, every chafe, every Nuun tab and all the carbs all lead up to this. Aside from the whole nutrition and extra rest yada yada that will come this week, my goal is to wrap up my final thoughts into this blog because until now, this week was nothing but a dream. A so far away dream that is now here and I’ve already pinched myself a thousand times since waking up this morning.

#MotivationMonday comes in the form of thanking everyone who inspired me and carried me throughout this journey. I can’t even when it comes to listing you all, but to Scott for the sushi dates before long runs and being patient when I had to give up a big part of our weekends, to Marysa for always checking in on me and cheering me on from the PNW, to Ann for your coaching and companionship, to Randy for bragging about me to everyone at work, to Mark for engaging with all my posts and always sending encouraging texts, to my family for forgiving me when I had to train, to Evven at Evoke for helping me reach new feats in strength training, to Pawko (yes, my dog) for helping me stretch and finish out many of my last miles, to New Found Glory for your upbeat and fantastic music that I could blare through my headphones to find my happy place at mile 13, to wheat toast, bananas, peanut butter, ibuprofen, Honey Badger, GU, potatoes and water for the energy boosts, to Frankie for the honk-and-waves and tweets, to Allie, Elizabeth, Margarita, Nancy, Kristen,  Brandy, Mary, Bridget, Kris, Ray and Lara for liking every single one of my social posts (yes, I noticed!), and to my body for toughing out through injury, soreness, laziness, lethargy and whatever other obstacle came my way these last six months – thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

In all seriousness, I really wish I could list every single person and thing that has helped me out along the way and please know that if you even so much as acknowledged that I was running a marathon, you were a part of this with me. You motivate me because I don’t want to let you down!

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Super Sad Soppy Running Story

Six months of non-stop training is sure to teach you a lesson or two – not just in what you’re attempting to do, but about yourself, your journey, who you are and everything in between. I’ve said over and over this is quite the emotional journey for me and I’ve shared numerous times that I was once really fat. And while I’m still emotional, I’m no longer fat. My thighs still rub, the scale is still pretty high, I haven’t inched from my size 14 jeans and I can still truffle shuffle. But at the end of the day, running has changed me, running has taught me, running has formed me. The aforementioned transformation has never been more prevalent than it has throughout this journey.

Things I’ve noticed or learned bout myself while training for a marathon:

  • I talk about running… a lot.
  • The thought of a marathon makes me want to pee my pants.
  • I half-doubt, half-know I can do this.
  • I buy a lot of things when I have a goal in mind. New running pants, GU packets, Naan hydration tabs, new running belt, new music, new water bottles. All things I think I need, but really, shopping is a nervous tick for me.
  • I have come a really, really, really long way. I always introduce my running story as “I played soccer for eight years as a goalie because I hated running.”
  • Can’t stop, won’t stop.
  • I actually do like running with friends – but only on long runs and only ones that will still let me put my headphones in.
  • Eight miles isn’t that far for me anymore.
  • A 10K is my new running average.
  • My body is done losing weight, and I’m okay with that. Look at all that muscle!
  • I can lift heavy weights, do hanging leg lifts and use the drop back bench.
  • You CAN chafe on your back, and your side, and crack, and well, everywhere else.
  • I like listening to Podcasts on long runs.
  • If I want to run faster, run through the ghetto.
  • I can run 18 miles then go to Wine Walk after.
  • Motivating a fellow runner, who may be a stranger, is a lot of fun.
  • That I have incredible surroundings – not just in where I run, but who runs with me through body or spirit.
  • I love eating toast with peanut butter before a run – no matter the distance
  • I refuse to drink the night before a run – even if it will calm my nerves. Now, after the fact…
  • Sometimes, thinking about a huge stack of pancakes is all it takes to get me to the finish line.
  • I hate chocolate energy gels, which is weird because I don’t hate chocolate anything. I am woman.
  • If you dance your way to the finish line, it still counts.
  • I’m not fast, but I can go far.

Most importantly, I’ve learned how incredibly proud I am of my body and my mind. How comfortable I certainly am in my own skin. How there is no ideal “runner’s body” just an ideal runner. I mean it when I say that my eyes start to water every time I picture myself crossing that finish line. Not just because I’m going to get a swanky medal that says I did it, but because this body, this body that has come so far, from a place where with the mind alike it was so dark, because this person, this me, did it. I did what was once unthinkable.

In 33 days, this will all be final, all be real. In 33 days, I’ll have learned the greatest lesson of all: that I AM a Marathoner.

Now here’s a little story I’ve got to tell…

Over the weekend, I took a break from training and instead participated in a 5K fun run ahead of a night of holiday debauchery – the Santa Dash. Unintentionally, I ran my fastest 5K in three years: 29:48. As I rounded the corner of the last half mile, my pace was such that I wanted to ‘kill’ everyone in my path and see how strong I could finish. (PS; ‘kill’ in the running world simply means you passed another runner and I slayed.)

I felt awesome. I ended up finishing #36 overall and walked back to my car reflecting on my running journey and how I never thought ‘just a 5k’ would be like ‘just brushing my teeth.’ Seamless, easy, routine, but not twice daily.

I should note for those that don’t know, I used to be really, really overweight. Running was one of the many life changes I’ve made that helped me shed 75 pounds (depending on the day). I played soccer for eight years as a kid, but perfected my position at Goalie so I wouldn’t have to run. When I got to high school, I quit during the first day of tryouts because they wanted me to run a mile as my warm up. 

A few years ago, a friend introduced me to Couch to 5k. Every other day, I’d spend my lunch break at the gym (and the rest of the afternoon smelly… note to self, future blog post: tricks to working out on a lunch break and not return looking like a hot mess.) The app does just as it pretty much says – helps you go from not running at all, to completing 3.1 miles (or 30 minutes) without stopping. The first few weeks went by pretty quickly and soon enough I was consecutively running 10 minutes, 20 minutes, one mile, two miles, three miles… I was unstoppable. And, I was hooked – as noted by all the different 5K Fun Runs I was signing up for.

How it works:

  • 3 times a week
  • 30 minutes to include: warm-up, walk/run combo, cool down
  • Each week, total running-to-walking ratio increases until you can run 30 minutes straight
  • The app will queue you when to run and when to walk
  • Voila! You can even create your own playlist to go along.

So, to all those who cringe at a mile, or to just running from your car to the front door during a rainstorm, my advice to you – there’s an app for that.