Let me first begin by saying that I am NOT a professional runner, nor am I truly that great at it. Honestly, I just like to go out there and run as best I can. And if I am being truly honest, I break up my run with little one minute walks. Mostly so my knees are killing me after a long distance run. With all that said, I still LOVE running and I still call myself a runner. I’m just not winning in awards or anything. ;)
My first taste of running came from my sister in law Julie, we ran a race together when our sons weren’t even a year old. I ran the 5k and felt so happy afterwards. I was so tired and dripping with sweat but my smile was beaming. I felt elated and couldn’t wait to do it again. That was nearly eight years ago and I’m still running today. I love running those 5k, 10k and 1/2 marathon races because they make running long distance so much more fun. They take a lot of work leading up to them, but the feeling I get at the race start and especially crossing the finish line are unexplainable. You can read more about how I did during my first 1/2 marathon HERE.
I never considered myself someone who loved to run until that first 5k way back when. During my first 1/2 marathon something did clicked in my brain. At some point running stops being about your body and how far it can go. It soon flips and starts to become a mental game. At least for me it has. My number rule is to never say “I can’t do it” then from there I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Of course the worst thing you could do is actually stop. As in stop moving completely. When you are running you never want to stop moving forward until you’ve reached your goal. Even if that means walking. You always just want to keep pushing, one foot in front of the other. Running almost takes on this metaphorical meaning of life. When life gets hard, whatever you do, do NOT stop! You have to keep moving forward. I think thats why I cry every time I cross a finish line. It is because I am proving to myself that giving up just isn’t an option and that I can truly do anything!
Last November I ran my second 1/2 marathon and a week later I found out I was pregnant. I started feeling that first trimester sick and stopped running for a bit until I felt better. Then soon I miscarried and then I really stopped running and working out all together. I was letting my body heal I guess, but also grieving the loss. It took me a month to get back into the gym and moving again. This month I finally started to ease back into running and it feels good to move my body again. I haven’t done more than a mile or two. I’m just taking things at my own pace. Putting one foot in front of the other. I love running outside the best and some days a quick run clears my head and gives me the energy to get through the rest of the day. Some days it SUCKS! Though that is life, some days it is great and some days it sucks. The magic starts forming when you push through those sucky moments.
Here are some things that help me get through a run …
Mile Dedication - This one is a big one for me. At some point something clicked in my brain and running became more of a mental game for me. During a long distance run (especially during 1/2 marathons) I have found it helpful to dedicate each mile to someone in my life. I usually start doing this about half way into the run when my body is knocking on my brain to stop. I dedicate a mile to my son and during that entire mile I just think about my son. His smile, his laugh and the things we used to do together. I dedicate a mile to my daughter and do the same thing. I focus on each of them separately and let gratitude waft over me. Doing that gives me strength. I dedicate miles to my husband and my parents. Each time thinking about them and what they have brought to my life, shaping me into who I am. Doing this is insanely therapeutic and makes the run go by super fast!
Sports Beans - I don’t run with out these! You can find them HERE. I love them! They give me a boost of energy and taste great. I keep them in my pocket and they are something I look forward to while on my run. I typically don’t eat a whole pack unless I’m running longer than 5 miles. During my last 1/2 marathon though I ate two packs! I say if you aren’t familiar with them, do a little research and ask your doctor before eating one.
Run/Walk - This is something I’ve come to realize is the only way I can truly go for a run. Otherwise my knees hurt so bad afterward. I take it easy and like I said, I’m not the fastest one out there. I run for as long as I can and then I walk for a minute or less and then start to run again. I used to feel self conscious about this but then I got over that. I’m still out here running my ass and moving my body. Who cares if I need to walk for a minute? This is what works for me and I hope it inspires a few of you to get out there too! Walking isn’t bad and just because you need a walk a few times doesn’t mean you aren’t a runner.
Comfy Clothes - Comfortable clothes may seem like a no brainer. Really dig through your work out clothes or invest in a true pair of running shoes or sturdy sports bra. It makes all the difference when you are out there. I wish I could run in shorts but unfortunately I just cant because I’m always tugging at them. Find what works for you and it will help you run the distance comfortably and confidently.
Music - Or more specifically ‘Power Songs’! My running play list is full of little gems or ‘Power Songs’ as I like to call them. Songs that trigger certain emotions that in turn help me find the fight inside of me. I always have ‘Let It Go’ on there because of my children and Queen is a recent add on that gets me going. Music is so personal and makes you feel all kinds of things. Tailor your playlist to your strengths and RUN THOSE EMOTIONS! I’m not a podcast girl or audio book girl myself, but if those help you then do that too!
I guess in the end, just get up and out there. You’ll feel so much better than you did before. That is what running does for me and my heart. It helps me on so many levels. Let me know if you go for a run soon!
Photos By Lily Ro Photography for my JCPenney social campaign. This blog post itself is not sponsored.