I’m a half marathon runner…now

It’s Saturday morning and my alarm is set for 5:15am. One of my kids wakes earlier and comes to my room, climbs in bed, and starts coughing. My husband takes the kid out of our room and lays in her bed with her so I can get enough sleep for the race. It’s 4:30am. I toss and I turn and I keep seeing the time. At 5am, I decide that I can’t hold in having to pee anymore and I might as well get up and start preparing to run a half marathon race. I clumsily put on my new running compression shorts I picked up during the week and apply balm to the places I’ve been chaffed during training. I nibble on a Clif bar while drinking from a 1 liter bottle of electrolyte water attempting to get all of my food and water in 90 minutes before race time. I start getting nervous while preparing to leave for the starting line. My husband insists he drive me so I don’t have to drive home later and so he can see me off from the starting point, go home to get the kids, and come back with them to see me finish. We leave the house with the teenager in charge of the 2 younger kids.

We pull into the church parking lot where the event is hosted. I see no tent, I see no start or finish line. I see cars everywhere and people walking in and out of the large church building. I see people jogging around to prepare for the race. Everyone around me has numbers on their shirts, they’re in their race clothes, and they are ready. I have on my race clothes with warm up pants, sandals, and two shirts on over my tank top. One shirt for a group photo with the training group and another that has sleeves because it was a brisk morning and the sun hasn’t made an appearance to warm the day and burn off the light fog that had settled over the fields of corn, soybeans, and hay bales surrounding the venue.

I go inside the building and decide to use the restroom one last time before the race  because no matter what, I’ll feel like I have to pee when I start to run. I might as well know that my body is just toying with my emotions if I’ve already gone. There is a line and it isn’t moving very quickly. I turn on my watch when we’re leaving the building and it says 6:41am. Shit. My group photo is at 6:45 and I still haven’t found the starting point. I feel tears start. I suddenly have a mini sobbing session and pull my sunglasses over my face so nobody can see that I’m crying. My husband calmly points to the starting line ahead and the people from my group not far away. I get there and attempt to strip down, get my number on my tank top while lifting my group photo shirt and trying to pull my running shoes on and get them tied. The group photo turns out like this:

The group photo from race day 2015.

The group photo from race day 2015.

Can you guess which person is me? Yep. Down front with the mouth wide open and eyes wide. Was I crying 5 minutes ago? Yes. Am I somehow in a photo looking like I am happy to be there? Yep. Ok, then.

When we finish doing our pre-race warm ups, a mentor named Jane stops me and asks if I want her to meet me somewhere near the end of the course so she could pull me in at the end. I tell her that I would really appreciate that. She’s running the 10k race that starts 30 minutes after the half marathon. The night before, Jane topped her age group in a 5k. She still plans to take her time and energy to help me finish.

I nervously walk to the starting point and found Angie, a mentor that agreed to start out with me the previous weekend. We listen to the national anthem and suddenly, it is time to start. Angie, another mentor named Jason, and I were sticking together and chatting. It seemed surreal to me that we were talking to each other and other runners so casually. Everyone is so calm and kind. It isn’t like running a 5k race where you start to catch running buddies somewhere in the middle if you didn’t start with one. Here we are just smiling away on our run:

Angie, Jason, and I running happily

Angie, Jason, and I running happily

I do a lot of listening because I honestly am trying not to hear myself panting. The conversation was light and funny and every once in a while, I have something to add. My first mile is a little faster than I intend and I joke that I will slow down at the end and just keep the pace I was going for as long as I can. Only, it turns out to not be a joke. Taking off a little fast takes its toll on my body. At the water stops, I drink from my own bottles and I refill when I need. I mindlessly take the packets of GU from the volunteers and stuff them in a little side pocket because the nutrition gel I brought with me is HUMA and that was what I’d been training with. Near the last 5 miles, I tell the people I’m with that I’m getting irritable. I really am. The sound of my race bib crumpling is getting on my nerves. The snot in my nose is annoying me. The random people entering the trail in large groups (that weren’t part of the race) are making me angry. The mentors tell me that it is normal for me to be annoyed. They try to keep me out of my head. When we reach the point where only 3 miles is left, I start feeling my body revolt. My hips and back are hurting and I don’t think I have the energy to change my gait. I change it  by lifting my knees further forward and the pain subsides, but I don’t feel like I can keep up my speed. Jason asks if I want him to get my mind off of the run. I say that would be good. He proceeds to untie his pants and show me his tri shorts covered butt. It’s amusing, and lightens the mood. We get a good laugh and Jason gets a crowd at the park we are running past to see him trying to re-tie his running shorts. Angie wants me to go just a little faster and she pushes me to just take it up a bit and tells me she knows that I can and that now is the time to do it. Jason threatens to turn into a ‘raging a**hole’ at the end. I tell him that I’ll ignore him because Jane is waiting for me near the end. He and Angie try to convince me that she either won’t make it to meet me or is going to be really tough on me to get me to finish. Jane is waiting for me right as I take my last gel pack and water stop. Angie and Jason run ahead because Angie is really close to a personal best and I want her to get it.  Of course Jane came back to meet me. I even have a photo of us running together.

Jane met up with me.

Jane met up with me.

Jane continues on with me and tells me not to look at my watch anymore for pace and to let her pull me. She says that’s what I asked her to do and that is what she is there for. She is totally right. We run together and I ask once if I can stop and march my feet. She declines and says, “not this close. We’re too close to the end.” So I speed back up to get behind her and she keeps telling me about the end being downhill and that I just need to get to the hill and let it take me in. She keeps telling me that I’m kicking ass and my time will be great. I look ahead and it really isn’t so far away. We are greeted by one of the runners who are volunteers that run people in at the end. She joins us to the top of the hill and turns back to find other people who need help. Jane and I are chatting when I see 3 people ahead with signs. I tell Jane, “I think those are my kids.” It is my kids. They are all holding homemade signs for me!

My 3 kids cheering me on.

My 3 kids cheering me on.

Jane breaks away from me just past this turn to stand aside. She already ran a 10k and is running with me to be a great mentor. I run as fast as I can manage for the finish line. There are two men in front of me there and I’d normally slow down, but I just can’t bear to not keep going this speed. I pull around them on their left and run into the finish line area when the clock says 2 hours and 19 minutes (and seconds I don’t remember).

I just ran 13.1 miles. I walked only a few times and it was for hydration or nutrition. I got into my head and I got back out before it ruined my run. I am sweaty. I look to my right to see Julie from Fleet Feet with my medal ready to put over my head. She puts it on me and we hug and it is awesome.

Hugging Julie

Hugging Julie

Yes, I had to keep moving for a while after. I didn’t enjoy eating my favorite sandwich, a gondola, after the race. It tasted a little like sand from the dryness in my mouth. I shared in some laughs with some fellow runners that I know. I saw many familiar faces in the crowd. We exchanged congratulations. I felt really good about what I’d done. I felt good about the race.

At home, my family had gotten me flowers and a sweet card.

My daisies

My daisies

Later in the day, I was tired and sore. My stomach revolted because I didn’t have my usual post run granola bar. It was grumbly and crampy the rest of the day. I ordered in pizza for dinner and the pizza was delicious!

I had the arrow drawn on my left thumb knuckle. I had people tell me they’d read my blog. I had people congratulate me for my running and for my weight loss. It was a great day! Today, I woke up and told my husband I’m running 14 miles next weekend. I was kidding, of course. I am excited to continue running and do another 13.1 race someday. Yep, I’d totally do it again.

Me and my (first) 13.1 medal.

Me and my (first) 13.1 medal.

*Special thanks to the people who took the photos including Kristin Techmanski, Samantha Quigle, and my husband Matt.

**Thanks Fleet Feet Sports – Bloomington for the training program, the purple shirt, the race day tent, and the experience. 

***Thanks to all of the mentors who spent time helping people run these races. Especially the mentors that I got to run with and talk to.

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The things I’ve learned

Time is quickly approaching for my first 13.1 race that I’ve blogged about. I’ve been in a training program with my local Fleet Feet. This was a 12 week program that consisted of people with a 10k distance and people with a half marathon distance. There were mentors in the program who were there to run with the trainees and offer support in working toward the goal. We had meetings with helpful information to prepare for the races ahead. The program also offered 2 times where the participants received a store discount to ‘gear up’ for training and for the race.

First off, I started running with Fleet Feet last autumn when I needed to run outdoors in the cold to train for a 5k race in December. They offer free “Fun Runs” on Monday nights with different distances and they welcome any speed. I wouldn’t have known this, except that I went in one day for something and a very tiny woman with an outgoing personality told me about the fun runs and told me that I should join. The next time I saw her, she told me I should join them for their Ladies’ Night runs. The night I went to the Ladies’ Night, I discovered the welcoming woman from the store was in fact, the owner. So the stores are locally owned by people in their community.  That was something I knew going into training, but not when I started running.

I’ve also learned a few really important things along the way to endurance running from being someone who was running 5k races for the different causes they support or the swag they had to offer.  Among those things, I’ve learned that cotton is not the best choice for athletic clothing. It tends to soak up moisture, not dry quickly, and get heavy. There are so many choices in active clothing, that we really don’t have to suffer in the same old stuff that was popular in that area. I’ve discovered that while water is great for short runs, electrolytes can really help out. I sweat almost as soon as I start to work out. I discovered that I could buy capsules to help with electrolytes and that I could carry a water bottle on a belt with me and put something in it that would hydrate better than water. This came in handy in the hottest days and on the longer runs, it was necessary. I’m wearing my belt to the race on Saturday so I have control of when/where I get my drinks. So I have my gauzy tank top, moisture wicking compression Bermuda running shorts, and my hydration belt. I will be applying anti chaffing balm to myself before all of my long runs. I’ve discovered that the spot my sports bra touches my chest rubs a line into it once I’ve been running awhile and sweating. I’ve found that there are weird places on my arm that rub on the side and leave marks. I’ve also discovered that I can’t wear shorts that are 3 or 4 inches long because my thighs love each other and can’t resist causing painful chaffing. I’ve learned that I have a preferred brand of nutrition during my long runs and it isn’t the one that they offer on the race day course. Fortunately, the belt with the bottles on it has a place for the packets of nutrition as well.

Another thing that nobody can prepare you for without your own experience is the mental game in endurance. Overriding your brain when you’re on a long run to tell yourself to just keep moving forward is difficult. It can feel downright impossible. I can honestly say that there were multiple times where I almost cried on a run because I just didn’t feel like I could move forward anymore. At first, I wanted to just bury the emotion that I was feeling. I thought about stopping. I would just stop and walk a little instead of pushing past. One morning, I told the mentor that I was with that I wanted to cry and I wanted to stop. She didn’t laugh or shake it off. She told me it wasn’t an unusual feeling and that if I honestly felt I needed to stop, that I should, but then she complimented my effort and pointed out that I really only had about 20 minutes of running left. She asked if I thought I could just do it for 20 more minutes, then 10, then a few more. She pushed me without being mean about it and taught me a bit about pushing myself. That wasn’t the only time I expressed to my running partner I wanted to actually cry. Nobody laughed about it. None of them shrugged it off. Everyone had tips on handling the feelings of self defeat and helped me find my way of keeping moving until the run was over instead of when I wanted it over. By feeling validated in being emotionally exhausted, I developed confidence that I’ve carried into my everyday life. I have improved self-esteem with this training. I have lost weight with this training. I have run 13.1 miles and am going to complete a race of 13.1 miles over the weekend.

The day that I ran the practice 13.1 on the race course, I drew an arrow on my left hand with a permanent marker. The arrow was where my thumb attached to the back of my hand and pointed forward. Why? Forward is the only way you can go in life. Forward is the way to the finish line. I decide how I move forward, so I want to do it the way I’m proud of. I want to move forward by running the whole way. The arrow was meaningful and I will probably place it there again for the race. When my head dropped, I saw my hand. I saw the arrow and I lifted my head and looked forward. The direction I was moving.

In 12 weeks of training, I’ve met so many interesting people. I’ve made a few friends. I’ve decided that the reason I don’t think I look like a runner is because there cannot possibly be one way that a runner looks. A runner runs. There are helpful hints to know when you start doing it often. There are things to learn to get better. There are people who want to share their tips and places that help you meet other people who like to run.

This weekend is the first time I am going to run a half marathon. That gives me a baseline time for the next one. The race is also my time to fulfill my goal to run a half marathon before I turn 35. I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m happy. I have prepared myself for everything I can prepare for this far in advance. I am consumed with thoughts on it. I am amazed that I chose to do something like this. I can’t wait to see what my next “wild idea” is. Maybe I’ll train for a full marathon…or a really fast half.

Good luck on your next race! Don’t forget to keep challenging yourself! Did you learn any tips that you want to share? Have you developed a pre-game ritual?

Feeling real

Holy cow, guys. I have 5 days until race morning. It seems so very close now. Part of me worries that I’m totally ready while the other part wants to get it over.

Last week was week 11 of the 12 week program. It was another week where getting all the time I needed for training seemed like a crunch. Sunday, I really took it slow and easy for 3 miles. My watch wasn’t cooperating with the GPS and gave me 1/4 mile out of nowhere. I made it up walking toward the end of the run. I wasn’t feeling terrible, but I wasn’t feeling great either. I didn’t feel good enough Monday to run the fun run like I normally would. Tuesday, I got the beginning of a migraine in the late afternoon that didn’t go away in time for me to make the group session. That was the first one I’ve missed. I felt guilty for missing out on the group run.

Wednesday night, my husband and I made up for my missed group run together. I must have still been a little tired from the weekend. The run was 4 miles with the middle 2 miles being speed work. I was sprinting between fire hydrants along the road and jogging every other sprint. The next mile, my bursts of speed were much shorter until I was running slowly trying to make it to 4 miles. It wasn’t exactly what I’d set out to do, but my husband said he was sore from it the next day.

Thursday was a special event social run that I attended. I ran with one of the mentors from my training program and she was really going at a faster pace than I normally run. Not long into the first 2 miles, I felt extremely worn out and did the rest of my running in irregular walking/running intervals just to make it 5 miles. The recommended run was 6, but getting 5 miles in was difficult enough. In my defense, it was a rather humid evening and I’m never at my best when it’s really hot out.

Friday was my day off and I had a pretty lazy day. I even planned takeout dinner so I didn’t have to cook. I picked up my race packet for a Glow Run 5k race Saturday night and then dinner. I took a nice, hot bath before bed for long run Saturday. I’m thinking this might be a great ritual to practice the night before I have a long run or race.

Saturday was 8 miles. Thankfully, the weather cooled and there wasn’t as much humidity. There weren’t very many people from the group at the run because of an event in another town that many people attended. I felt good for the long run. It was surprising because the two runs I’d had during the week were unpleasant. We went out for coffee afterwards and there was a sense of finality to it. Like, our morning ritual was coming to an end and it was kind of sad.

Saturday night, I had a 5k race in the dark on a golf course cart path. It was dark, wet, and there were plenty of hills. I was doing great the first mile. It was less than 10 minutes. As the course went on, I slowed down considerably. My legs realized what I was trying to do to them. By the time I crossed the finish line, I was sore and stiff. There was beer after the race, which was a great way to reward myself for all the hard work of the day. It was more refreshing because I felt like I deserved it and I earned it.

Sunday, I was sore and stiff and I barely moved around. I took a very long nap in the middle of the day. I counted the 5k race as my Sunday recovery run and I didn’t leave the house except to watch the kids play outside in the front of the house.

Last week, things made the race feel so much more real to me. Our group received a map of the course with bathroom, water, electrolyte, and nutrition stops marked on it. I held my breath as I looked  at the map of the course. The same course I ran last Sunday for 13.1 miles seemed new and different. I started feeling the ambivalence that I had in the beginning. I questioned whether I was ready to run this race and if I could meet up with expectations I’m not even aware of yet. At the group run, we discussed some race day preparations. It was like we were talking about things for someone else. I couldn’t have possibly been discussing myself coming out to race a half marathon. Except that was exactly what was happening. Everything we were talking about involved something that I’d be participating in and was preparing for. It seemed surreal.

I’m so happy that I set this goal. I’m not quite proud of myself because while I have run the 13.1 miles for practice, I haven’t run the race yet. I haven’t conquered my goal. With that on the calendar for less than a week from today, it is exciting and terrifying.

So, the next time I write about my journey to fitness, I’ll hopefully have completed my first half marathon race with hardly any stopping except for nutrition and hydration. That isn’t where my journey ends. This is ongoing and I’m already signed up for more races so that I keep up with my running. I will keep setting short-term goals to keep myself motivated for the long term.

I hope you find some type of inspiration from my posts. I’ve felt more confident in myself each time I complete a longer run on the weekends. I’ve made new friends for the first time in the 3 years since I moved here. I have something to look forward to with each long run and now with each race.

Have you found motivation? Have you grown confidence in yourself? I hope that you are challenging yourself.

Trial Run

Last week was rough. Not only was there a looming anxiety that I’d be running 13.1 miles on Saturday morning. I had sick kids, a full calendar, and a massive ‘to do’ list. I skipped the previous week’s recovery run on Sunday. Monday, I used my time to mow my lawn. Tuesday night was 5 miles of Fartlek. This is ‘speed play’ where there is no set time or distance in the plan. I took off faster than I intended for the first mile. The next few miles, I sped up and slowed down with no real structure. I averaged a pace that was no faster than my usual. The temperature was lower than the rest of the day, but the humidity was relentless. It made for an uncomfortable run.

Thursday’s run was a recommended 5 miles. I did not complete that task. I intended to run during the day while all the kids were at school. I hadn’t planned on one of the kids being too sick to go to school that day. My son was not well on Wednesday, so he stayed home Thursday as a precaution. He was feeling better and even a little feisty. With things I needed to get done piling up, I skipped running in the evening so I could run errands that I had intended to do during the day. I felt like my training had all come unwound and I wasn’t going to complete the full program. I was anxious and upset about the prospect it all blowing up in my face.

Saturday, while I had only run one time in the prior 7 days, I set out to run 13.1 miles on the course that the half marathon race will take place. The mentor I paired up with is one that I’ve run with in the past and she pushes me to run faster. She kept me running 10:30 minute miles for the entirety of the course and we shared conversation peppered with compliments of ‘good job’ and ‘keep going’. I was feeling rough near the end. The course wraps up looking out into fields that seem endless. There were corn stalks on either side that were tall and brown. The corn appeared to keep going. Each break in the field had me asking whether the next one was the last. I would glance at my watch and see the miles I’d completed believing that I couldn’t possibly keep myself moving for another 2 miles, 1.5 miles, half of a mile, etc. I kept telling myself that it was only 20 more minutes, 15 more minutes, 5 more minutes, etc. My mentor ran out a few strides in front of me and ‘pulled me in’ behind her while I focused on her feet, her back, her arms trying not to look at how seemingly endless the road ahead was. Finally, we saw the cars. We saw people standing by the table that held our keys and our snacks. We still had 1/4 mile to go. I asked if we could just pass up the entry to the parking lot and stay the trail until we hit our goal. We ran most of the 1/4 mile, then turned back to the parking lot to make up the rest. My watch hit 13.1 miles and we both exploded into outer space surrounded by rainbows and stuff. Ha, ha… Not at all. Nothing happened. We stopped running and walked out the last steps to a nice drink and a post workout snack. I started my post workout static stretching as we discussed the weather being ideal conditions for the run and how we couldn’t wait to get some coffee. I now know that I can run 13.1 miles stopping for a drink now and then and taking 3 nutrition gel packs along the way. I was mildly surprised that I wasn’t overwhelmed with emotion when I finished. I was so proud, but I didn’t cry or really react at all. I think I may have been stunned about what I’d done.

I actually ran errands after the run. I went with my family to that one huge store that has super centers. I had on my husband’s pants, a t-shirt, and flip-flops. I was walking along when suddenly, I was slipping. My flip-flop bent completely under my foot, my hip twisted, and my arm was trying to steady all of my body weight on a cooler in the center of the aisle. I felt like my toes had all bent backward and my hip was no longer letting me stride out properly. I looked back and there stood a puddle of something reddish and liquid. Right by the meat department. Gross. I found an employee and told them that I’d just slipped and pointed to where they needed to attend to the mess. When it was time to climb into my minivan to leave, I had to pull myself in. I felt like I’d been run over by that point.

Sunday, I felt better after taking some ibuprofen and sleeping off the previous day’s exhaustion. I was to run 3 miles. I put it off until the evening and feared that I’d try to skip out if I didn’t set out soon after my dinner settled. I set out to run that 3 miles. I turned on the GPS on my watch and set out walking up the street while waiting for it to say it was ready to track me. When it finally said so, I set out running. It was not a pretty run. I started out carefully trotting to avoid feeling the soreness in my legs. Once I warmed up, I enjoyed being out there.

I’m excited that I’m in week 11 of my 12 week program. I’m also a little sad that it’s almost all over. I remember how nervous I was to start this program and how I wasn’t sure I could really pull off running the distance I’d signed myself up for. Now, my group and I have set out for long runs every Saturday that have gotten longer each week. I’ve gotten faster and more sure of myself. I have new friends. I’m healthier and happier. The time of year is approaching where the gloom can take over and make it hard to smile and I already have running goals to make it less miserable.

Are you approaching the end of a program? Have you seen positive change? Do you have some new goals set for after you carry out your current one?

Achy Shaky Legs

I’ve completed week 9 of a 12 week program. This week, I ran 24 miles. The heat and humidity returned with a vengeance and ensured mostly miserable running conditions despite preparation.

Monday was the usual fun run and I ran with one of the mentors from the program. I tried to keep a good pace and she helped me run the entire 3 miles. It was nice to have someone there even on a non group workout day. The run had me worn out, though. We’d had a stretch of time where the heat and humidity had been greatly reduced, so the temperatures in the upper 80’s to mid 90’s made for a tougher run.

Tuesday was a hill workout. We ran a little over a mile to the hill. I ran a faster pace than I intended to on the approach to the hill. Our assignment was straight up and down the hill 8 times. I used some unsavory words, wished for rain, and found myself stopping for a drink more often than usual for any short run (3-5 miles, I call short runs). The humidity made the hill seem endless. The coach was running them with ease while I dragged myself up and down. I was less impressed and more envious. The good thing about it all was that I still ran the mile assigned after the hill even though I considered just going back to my car. I also had 2 people in the group ask me if I’d lost weight. That made me feel good about what I’ve done and gave me a nudge of confidence.

Thursday, I had a plan to run in the morning while all 3 kids were at school and before the heat of the day set in. My son had coughed and hacked the night before, which made me think I needed to clean the house. I disinfected surfaces, vacuumed furniture and floors, dusted fans and intakes, mopped the floors, laundered all the bedding, and cleaned every surface I could think of all before eating my first meal of the day. Not much time was left for a run and a shower before the little ones were soon getting out of school. My anxiety still sets off compulsive cleaning, apparently. At least it was a productive compulsion. I waited until evening and took my husband with me on a miserable 5 mile run. I actually made a sobbing sound without the benefit of tears while running. It was humid and I was miserable. I just wanted him to see how well I was doing with running, but instead I was stopping to catch my breath every once in a while and my mile times were over a minute slower than usual. I was miserable and embarrassed. Had he not been there, I wouldn’t have gone 5 miles. He complimented how proud of me he is that I’m even trying to run 13.1 miles. At the time, it didn’t help how I felt about him seeing me want to quit and lay in the grass instead of running. Later, I realized how sweet it was of him.

Saturday’s run was 11 miles. No relief from the heat or humidity. I was miserable sometime during the first mile. When we got to the turn around point, I tried my hardest to cool down. I had taken an electrolyte pill, drank an electrolyte drink, and taken a nutrition gel by the time we were at 5 miles. Nearing 7 miles, my head was pounding and I couldn’t make it go away with electrolytes or water. I took a nutrition gel with caffeine in it to no avail. By the time I hit 8 miles, my head was pounding and I had chills. My legs started to feel wobbly and unsure. It was time to walk. I partnered up with someone in the group I’d been running with and we walked a little, jogged a little, and repeated a few times until we made it to 11 miles. It was rough, but we both kept each other upright and moving forward. I was honest with myself that while I didn’t want to walk during my half marathon race, I also didn’t want to hurt myself practicing for it. I made it 11 miles. I didn’t run all of them. I still propelled myself forward and still averaged inside of 12 minute miles.

Sunday, I skipped my recovery run. I slept in, went to the pool with the kids, then decided I’d rather get some things done around the house before attending my first fantasy football draft. When I left the draft, it had cooled a little outside, but I decided I wasn’t going to run. According to some algorithm in a computer, I did pretty badly drafting my team. I guess the football season will tell.

I’ve met so many great people and learned so much through this training program. I’m running distances that break my own previous records each week. My knees, legs, and arms get sore. During a run, I think a few times that I can’t go any further. I might think that I’m not capable of covering the ground ahead of me. Each time, I still do it. I push ahead. A few weeks ago, I thought 7 miles was out of reach. Now, I can do 7 with much less struggle. I’m about to take on 13.1 miles on a practice run this weekend. I’m nervous each time I set out for the group runs. I’m tired, but proud when they’re finished.

So, I’ve lost around 30lbs. this year. I have a few weeks left of this training. I’ve already signed up for a 5k in October and a 15k in December. I’m sure I’ll find more races to sign up for. The goal is to keep me motivated to stay in running shape so that I don’t take any long breaks.

How has training changed you? Are you challenging yourself each time you set out to become fit? Do you have any questions about my training?