Thursday, June 27, 2013

Marathon Madness

My New Asics!!

Last November, I completed my first half marathon with one of my best friends and number one running buddy, Candice. Completing 13.1 was one of my proudest accomplishments. I have always had an intense love/hate relationship with running since I began my running career back in high school with the cross country team (shout out to the Bulldogs!). Back then, I ran to stay in shape for tennis, but everyone was well aware that tennis was "my thing", and that running was...well, not. I ran pretty consistent 8 minute miles, which now seems incredible to me, but back then only safely secured me a spot on the women's JV team. Up until college, the farthest distance I had ever run was 7 miles. During my 4th year of college, I completed the Charlottesville Ten Miler and thought that I would just keep on running and complete the St. Patty's Day Half the following month. Well, graduation activities and job hunting took over and running took a back seat pretty quickly. The following year was crazy. The real world hit me hard and all of a sudden, with about 15 extra pounds on my body, my running shoes seemed like my worst frienemy. I knew that I wanted to begin running again, but I didn't know where to start. I could barely run 2 miles, and let's not even discuss my pace. Running became a chore. Even more than that, it became a source of shame and disappointment. I would often find myself feeling so discouraged halfway through a run that I would just give up, tears filling my eyes. It's incredible how much of my identity I had formerly found in my fitness and athletic ability and subsequently, how much of my identity I felt I had lost as a result of a more sedentary lifestyle. Getting back into running shape took a few things. First it took an adjustment of expectations. I needed to understand that just because I could run a sub 6:30 mile in high school did not mean that I would be able to in my twenties (yet), nor was that something to be ashamed of. Second, it took me realizing that my own strength was often not enough to get me through my workouts. Once I began treating my running like I was treating my money and my relationships and handing it over to God, He blessed me in ways I could have never even imagined. There were many days when I felt like I had given all I had and I still had 3-5 miles to go. I would often pray, "Lord, I can't do this on my own. I need you to be my legs and feet and to carry me." And every time, He would show up right when I needed Him. Where I would ordinarily hit a wall, God proved His strength time and time again in tearing it down and helping me run straight through. And eventually, over the finish line in Richmond last fall, where I accomplished my goal of running the whole thing without any breaks or walking. (I am more than happy to share my time, but I need to find it!)

Running is still a huge part of my life, though I'm not quite as consistent as I would like when I don't have anything on the calendar. So, I am incredibly happy to announce that I just signed up for my first FULL MARATHON, which is on November 16. In 141 days I will be running with my beautiful friend all across the wonderful city of Richmond. This year, I won't have her up here to train with me, as she recently started graduate school, but I know that we'll support each other from afar and as I learned last year, I am never alone in my running. So, here's to another crazy, sweat filled summer and all of the memories, aches, and laughs that come along with training for 26.2. I will journal my/our progress along the way and can't wait to see and cheer on all of my fellow RVA runners in the fall!

Here are some pictures from last fall :)

This guy is HEAVY! Love it :)
Celebratory Blue Moon ;)

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