So I’ve signed up for a half marathon. 🙈 What was I thinking? 13.1 miles? What!??
Here’s what possessed me to sign up after not really working out consistently in months… maybe years. I used to be a runner (in high school which feels like a lifetime ago) and I used to love it. Even as an adult I ran a few races here and there, but the longest race was a 10k. Maybe the longest I’ve run is 7 miles which was 15 years ago.
What really works for me in order to work out is I need a goal. Something to work towards. I’ve done the gym thing to be ‘swole’ and unfortunately, I hate lifting weights and I’m just not going to be a bodybuilder (my dreams are crushed! 😉). I worked so hard for 3 months consistently working out about 2 hours a day and I didn’t see results. So I gave up and got out of the habit. And I’ve been unmotivated ever since. I get into a routine of it for a few weeks only to get out of it as soon as I had a work trip or maybe something tweaked in my back that didn’t feel good. Since the gym thing wasn’t seeming to work out, I needed something to kick me into gear.
I wasn’t really looking to start working out again, so when a friend told me she was going to run a half marathon, my first instinct wasn’t “I’m in!” She asked me and told me the goal race was in November so we’d have plenty of time to train… and slowly I came around to the idea. I’ve always wanted to run one, but never really had a desire recently to do it on my own. This was it! This was my chance to cross something I’ve had on the bucket list for years. A way to get back into shape and remind myself how much I love to run.
I remember it being a great stress reliever. Something about zoning out and just focusing myself one step at a time was good for my soul. I love being outside and this seemed like the perfect thing. A friend to keep me motivated, a goal in mind, and a stress reliever that would be good for my overall well being.
As soon as I said “yes!” I was Googling workout plans. I found one where I’d have to walk/run 2 miles my first day. I thought, “I can do that easy!”. I picked a date 4 days from then to start fresh with a new week and I bought a running belt.. ready to go.
I was so excited! I loved running! It was easy for me as I remember it, so 2 miles walk/run would be a piece of cake, not even considering that I hadn’t run in maybe 6 years. No worries, I know-how and will be fine, I told myself. It’s only 2 miles! I’m sure you can tell what I’m getting at here. Too good to be true. Those first 2 miles were something else. My whole body hurt, my lungs were tight, I was getting blisters already and… what is that? My thighs are rubbing together and it hurt! That’s never happened before (I know I know… I’m late to this game but I had never had to deal with chaffing before). This was NOT how I thought this would go. But my body has changed just enough for this not to be as easy as it once was.
This didn’t stop me from going because I still had the first-week adrenaline and motivation coursing through my body. I’m just a little slower and needing a little more motivation than I thought I’d need. What’s a girl to do when she needs a little motivation and accountability? Sign up for some accountability partners. I found a training group program and filled out a form and charged my credit card $120. Then I can’t back out because I have a monetary investment. I ran that first week on my own, then 2nd week I’d start the program… perfect that will help, right?
Week two rolls around and I’ve had a pretty terrible week. I’m stressed, sad, annoyed, and the LAST thing I want to do is go running with a bunch of cheery endorphin filled running junkies. Nope nope nope. Here I am Ms. “I love meeting new people and networking” Queen. This week the thought of even talking to someone I liked and knew made my skin crawl, much less total strangers! At this point, I’ve signed up, so I need to go (monetary investment = accountability).
I was going but I wasn’t going to like it (funny thing is there are some pictures I found in the run club Facebook group where I’m in the background arms crossed looking miserable just standing before we even started running)! I had commited so I was going to run. And guess what?  (Que drum roll please….) I felt BETTER after! (Cymbal crash) My bad mood had lifted a little. I enjoyed the hardness of the run, but it wasn’t too bad where I felt like I was going to pass out. We didn’t go far, but enough for me to run out all the anxiety and mess that was in my head. Funny thing is that’s why I love running so much. It gets me thinking and getting the stress out in a healthy way. It makes me feel like I’m moving forward… literally. And even though I didn’t want to go, I was glad I went.
That’s how that week’s runs went. I don’t want to go, but I pretended I had no choice and went. Every single time I felt better after. Maybe with more blisters, aching legs and very very sweaty, but I felt calmer and a little bit less stressed. Those crazy exercise people were right!
I was starting to enjoy the runs now. I found a new trail behind my house. It was so pleasant to run (and some walking at this point). I see a rabbit almost every day I run and one day I saw a baby deer! I even attempted to take my dog, Paxton, on a run one morning. That was a hilarious story for another day (his breed is called a Tree WALKER Coonhound for a reason. Not a runner). I had forgotten how much nature calmed my soul. In addition to that, I started seeing the same people out walking their dogs or heading to work or just out for their run as well. I started to feel like I was a part of a community. A group of “early morning out and about” club. While I’m not at the stage where I look forward to the run, I’m starting to not hate it.
That’s the funny thing about doing something new. At first, you are gung ho and super motivated, then the first few days are much harder than you thought it was going to be. Motivation starts to fade as changing a routine or working towards something is not easy. In the past, you’ve stopped at this point and given up. The reason I didn’t quit this time was the monetary investment I made for the race and the run club. The run club would get me ready. A little bit at a time. My run yesterday (I’m up to 5 miles now running no walking!) was even pleasant. I chatted with people and really enjoyed it. Each week seems to be getting a little bit better. At this point, I can’t imagine running 13 miles. But considering I could barely run 2 miles a few weeks ago, it’s impressive I’m at 5. One step at a time. The best thing that has helped me go is telling myself I don’t have a choice. I am supposed to run 3 miles today and that’s what I’m going to do. I don’t want to do it, but that’s what I have to do. We don’t always love going to work, but we have to so we go. I don’t always love cooking, but I have to eat. I don’t like doing laundry, but I need clean clothes. So that’s how I look at my runs. And slowly but surely when I look back in November I’ll be so proud of my accomplishment. It will be a reminder that you have to start somewhere, and in a few weeks (or maybe years depending on what it is), you’ll feel so proud of how far you’ve come.


Alice Ann

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