“In running, every step you make and every push forward changes you – it transforms you into a different person. Every single run adds something to you and then it also takes something away. You are not the same person you have been at the starting line and by the time you come to the finish your inner self has been reinvented and reimagined.” —The Zen of Running
Today I am officially on Week #8 of my half-marathon training program…which means I am 1/3 the way to race day! I decided to run the Cleveland Half-Marathon earlier this fall, but with selling our home and moving, I hadn’t begun doing any training until we were settled in my sister’s house. Which turned out perfect because having ran two half-marathons and the Marine Corp full marathon, my sister is kind of a running guru so she is whipping me into shape.
I enjoy all kinds of work-outs…yoga, pilates, Insanity, lifting…but right now, I am loving running. Having played sports all my life, I have always been athletic and spent so many summers working out, weight lifting, doing plyometrics and running open gyms. In college, I used to 6 miles run every morning and that habit continued into the first years of my marriage – and I was never in better shape. Fast forward 3 years and 2 kids later…getting my lungs (and legs and butt and stomach, etc…haha) back into that kind of shape was my original motivation to agreeing to run this race in May.
But 8 weeks in, it’s more of the fact that I want to do finish it. I want to see what my body is capable of and there’s no better sense of satisfaction than finishing my daily run and crossing the mileage off of my training calendar. While my sister will never be able to convince me to run 26 miles ever, 13 really sound manageable and the 25 weeks of training it takes to run that will be worth it in May when I am able to run across the finish line.
Running has taught me a few valuable lessons over the past 2 months…
- The hardest step you take is the first one out the door. Seriously. Especially with 2 kids and renovating a house, there are a million reasons for me NOT to run and it could be so easy to skip days here and there. But I have committed to this and so I want to make it a priority. I do most of our runs early in the morning before anyone is even awake and it’s such a great way to start my day. It gives me time to myself to think, clear my head and get focused for a new day. I never hit snooze on my alarm because I know getting to the door is the hardest part. Once I’m up and out there, I relish in some alone time…and that little burn in my lungs reminds me that I am blessed to have another day!
- Just take it one step at a time. When I am struggling with a run and I’m counting down every minute until it’s over, I just keep reminding myself to take it one step at a time. I give myself mental markers to set small goals for myself. Make it to that stop sign, make it to the turn in the road, make it to that house on the corner. Setting smaller goals prevents me from feeling overwhelmed with how much ground I need to cover that day.
- Your body is capable of more than you think. At first, 13 miles seemed like such a large number. Run for 1:45 minutes? That’s ridiculous! This week I have my first 5-miler, which doesn’t sound that long, but running for 50 minutes gives me confidence that my body is perfectly capable of doing what I want it to do. I am proving to myself with each step that I am healthy, strong and able to do this. It’s an empowering feeling.
- Once your body is in shape, you are fighting a battle with your mind. The first couple of weeks is definitely getting your physical body to a place where it can handle running for miles. My lungs were burning after just 5 minutes of running and I was huffing away. Now, my lungs and legs are feeling good…but now I am fighting a battle with that little voice in my head that’s constantly telling me to stop, to go get in my sweats and curl up under a blanket on the couch. Just say no to it.
- There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. My sister used to tell me before each run the temperature and weather. I eventually told her to stop doing that because I was going to run that day no matter if it was rainy, sunny, freezing or dark. So mine as well not psych me out before I even take my first step out the door because it didn’t matter how frigid it is out there. Like the one morning 2 weeks ago when it was literally 3* out and my snot was frozen to my face. I still ran so I’d rather not know.
Let’s hope my energy, motivation and positive attitude towards running continues for the next 16 weeks. I keep reminding myself that soon the weather is only going to get warmer and my body is only going to get stronger.