What Inspired You to Begin?

I get a little emotional the second Sunday in December. That’s the date of the Dallas Marathon, my hometown race.

I have lived in the neighborhood that the course runs through since I moved to Dallas. Oh, how it would piss me off to see my streets blocked on a random Sunday morning, making brunch plans impossible. To say I wasn’t a runner was an understatement.

In 2011, I topped out at 75+ pounds overweight. I was miserable. I was sedentary. I was on blood pressure medication and cholesterol medication. I was headed down the same damn path that so many take. It was my primary care doctor that just made an off-hand comment about how “this is as good as it gets” and “it’s all downhill from here.” I hated him at that moment. But a few weeks later, sitting on my hotel bed watching tv after a long day at work in another city, room service carnage all around me, something snapped. I literally, out loud, said “GET UP!”

I walked over to my laptop and joined Weight Watchers. I found a meeting at a location nearby and walked out of the hotel room. I stopped by the concierge desk and instructed them to remove the television from my room before I returned. They looked at me like I had three heads, but they said they would get it done. I sheepishly slinked into that first meeting to figure out if they could help me take control of my life. I was overwhelmed, but there was this insane drive to just make the change. I stopped by the Sports Authority that I saw on the way and bought a pair of workout pants and a pair of clearance shoes that I now know were nowhere near the right size. But the beauty of buying a pair on clearance was that no one had to help me, which meant I could remain as invisible as a fat middle-aged woman could be in a store she never thought she would be in. When I got back, I put those Nikes on told myself that if I was going to watch tv, it would be while walking on a treadmill.

But I digress… this is about the MARATHON!

So, fast forward a few months and it’s an insane, cold, stormy December morning in 2011. The family slept in, as usual, and we went out for a lazy Sunday meal. We went north, to Panera at North Park Mall, rather than our usual spots south of us because of the street shut downs. As I unapologetically ate that macaroni and cheese (side note: that stuff is amazing! All 950 calories of it!), the door opened. In walked a guy all bundled up and a woman who had just run the race. She was drenched, shivering, wrapped in a heat blanket and wore a medal.

She seriously looked like hell. Most would feel sorry for her, because seriously, it was COLD and WET that day! But all I saw on her face was exhausted confidence. She finished! She had an air that said she could conquer anything.

I turned back around and looked Sean right in the eyes and said, “I’m going to do that race!” His eyes widened and the concerned look came over his face.

“You know what race she just ran, right? I mean, do you even know how LONG the marathon is??”

“I don’t know, but I know I want to do that race. I want to know what that feeling is like. She looks like she can do anything!”

I hadn’t run a single step, but at that moment, I became a runner. I spent the next year tackling 5Ks and 10Ks and registered for the Half Marathon. I eventually ran the Dallas Marathon a couple of years later. Now, it’s a permanent spot on my calendar, either running or volunteering. I love this race and I love the people in it.

But the weekend always brings back that sense of nostalgia. I have no idea who that girl was. I don’t know if she ran the full, the half or even the relay. Maybe she was a “one and done-er.” But every year, I am reminded that the power of one person can profoundly change your entire life’s trajectory. So, my annual “thank you” goes out to her. Thank you for bringing me a confidence that I never had before. Thank you for helping me turn my entire family into a family of runners. Thank you for the amazing people that have been brought into my life. Thank you for showing me how awesome running and friendship could be. Thank you.

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Well played, Mother Nature. Well played.

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I have written a race recap for the BCS Marathon three times and not been satisfied with any of them. The fact of the matter is that my race was awful. It was too hot for me to maintain race pace. I got dehydrated and my wheels completely fell off. I cried a lot, sat on a curb and felt sorry for myself. Did so much walking I felt like I was on a death march. But I’ve had a day to reflect on the race and I have changed my outlook on it.

Was it hot? Sure!
Was it humid? Yep, 100%.
Did the sun beat down? Check.
Did my once perfect race nutrition turn into an epic fail? Unfortunately, yes.
Did I get so dehydrated that I quit sweating? Sure did.
Did I PR? Nope.
Did I finish? YES.

I allowed conditions outside of my control to control me. I was trained and ready and was feeling sorry for myself.

The reality is the marathon isn’t just the final 26.2 miles. I am more fit than I was in July. I had an entire training season with no injuries. I made some lifelong friends and enjoyed the entire journey. I ran when others were unable and completed 26.2 miles!!! We raised good money for the race charities.

I am alive and there is no CAN’T in my vocabulary!! I am choosing to not measure this season’s success using my finish time this year. I have so many reasons to be happy!

Happy Race Week!!

These are more ramblings than any sort of cohesive post. I’m in taper, so cut me some slack… hahah

tiggerSix more sleeps til I battle the 26.2 mile course again. I can’t believe it’s been 22 weeks since I started the fall training season. I began with a few close friends in the group in July and through monsoons, insane heat and humidity and temperatures in the 20s, while managing work, training runs, volunteer work and our love of cupcakes, I can honestly say I am ending this season with far more close friends than I had in July. The group went out for breakfast like we have after every long run and this time we celebrated our pace leader’s birthday. It was a big one!!! The smiles were huge this week because my friends are so ready for the marathon! We laughed about all the silly things we have done all season and how far each of us have come. These are friendships that are woven together, each run making us stronger runners but also better friends.

I began thinking I would be targeting a certain goal time, but am ending this season with a slightly modified goal time. I’m not sad though. I am at peace with the decision. It will still be a PR. I feel confident that I can attain it because this Saturday’s final long run felt REALLY EASY. OK, maybe I’m a little nervous. I’m a little sad that everyone will be running Dallas together and I will be running BCS by myself, but I know that we are all running together in spirit. I begin an hour earlier, so I will get to enjoy the after-race and then jump onto facebook to cheer them all across the finish line. Last night I began my packing list and have been stalking Accuweather in a very “boil the bunny” unhealthy way. Tonight we will finish the laundry of all of the race-day wear for the family and I will begin to set my playlist for the Shuffle. I have my nutrition all planned out and oh, did I tell you… there are SIX MORE SLEEPS TIL THE MARATHON?!?!?

My first training run back after injury

145 days til race day!!

The aggressive physical therapy paid off!!!  I allowed my PT to do all sorts of unspeakable things to me like dry needling (who thought of that???) and exercises I hated, but sucking it up and doing what I had to do allowed me to successfully join my training group for the first run of the season!  I took the run pretty easy and enjoyed just being there with my running buddies and made some new ones and I was rewarded with that crazy tired, can’t-keep-my-eyes-open-another-minute afternoon nap.  I was most surprised that I felt like I had been beaten with a baseball ball all along my back and butt.  I guess that’s what happens when you change your running form and quit relying 100% on your quads to do all the work.  Luckily, the soreness was gone the next morning.