As you sit here reading this I am making my way to the start line at my first half-marathon. I have learned so much over the last 19 weeks of training: about myself, about running and about life (profound, I know).
Before I move on to discussing myself and what I have learned throughout this training, I hope everyone knows how proud I am to be running this race as a small pawn in a hopeful fight to finish Breast Cancer. I am very glad I chose the 26.2 with Donna as my first long distance endeavor and am in full support of what they are working to accomplish. Today I run for myself and for every other woman out there who cannot.
When all this started 19 weeks ago, my first long run was 4 miles...I ran 4 miles of hill repeats last night and woke up to run another 2 today. Never in my life did I believe I would be that person, and I would have laughed in your face if you had told me that I would come to LOVE running!
Over the last 19 weeks I have run 356 miles, an average of 18.4/week...Who does that?!?!?
As I have eluded to many times before, I started running seriously and training for races as a way to lose weight and improve my cardiovascular health which I'm sure was lacking. I signed up for my first 5k in October knowing that the already paid registration would ensure I did it, and give me some motivation to train for it. Well since this training started 19 weeks ago I was unhappy with myself and looking for a change. When I set out to run my 13.1 today, I will be 24 lbs lighter and my knees sure do appreciate it.
I have overhauled my eating habits, fallen in love with running (and now biking) and I am very pleased with the results. I still indulge in fries or a burger when I want it, but usually never end up finishing what I get because for some reason it just doesn't taste as good as it used to. I look at mayonaise now and the first thought that pops into my head is 1tablespoon mayo = 2 miles. I have come to LOVE fruits and veggies (although I always loved fruit) and my craving for salty things has diminished. I guess I have learned that if you want something have it, because denying yourself will probably lead to a huge binge a few days later, just make sure that you aren't having that cheeseburger or bottle of wine every day. Another thing that has changed is my alcohol consumption. It was no big deal for me to have a glass of wine or 2 a night after work a few days a week, especially after a long and rocky day. Now, when the day turns south I think about how I can't wait to bolt out the door and lace up my running shoes, pounding out the stress feels SO much better!!
I embraced something I read from a fellow blogger months ago and that was "Fake it until you make it". As dumb as it sounds, having quality clothes and gear while running made me feel like a runner until I finally reached that point where I knew I had made it, and now I am just a snob, haha! I felt better and excited to go run 5 miles that would kill me knowing that I looked like a runner, and over time felt like and became a real runner.
I suppose the most important thing I have come to realize is that I am much happier now than I was when I started out on this journey. I am confident in myself and my abilities, and I know that I can pretty much do anything if I am willing to put the time and effort into it.
I want to thank every single person who has taken even 5 seconds to read this blog since it started those many weeks ago, and to all of you who have been so supportive of me and this endeavor!
A few special thanks to be said are first and foremost
To John: you have been the best support and companion I could have asked for through all of this. You agreed to take on this huge goal with me as my running buddy and support system, and have been there through it all for the last 19 weeks. You dragged me out to run when I didn't want to, you pushed me when I wanted to stop, and you have believed in me since we started this. I love you very much and appreciate all your love and support! I am so excited to cross that finish line with you, and am so proud of all you have done!
To my Uncle Richard: I hope you know how much I appreciate all your words of encouragement, and every note and message made me smile and want to keep going that much more! Thank you for your constant love and support! I miss you lots and cannot say thank you enough for all your encouragement!!!
For Miss Heather: Thank you for listening to all the rediculous-ness that has ensued over the last 19 weeks! My justifications for needing more running paraphenalia, listening to me rant and rave about food/hydration/blisters and for scheduling my post-race massage this week!!! Thank you for being an amazing friend and always taking the time to listen.