Everyone wins. When you cross the finish line, whether you beat your personal record or not, you did it! On March 17th, 2013, I finished my first half marathon! The Georgia Half/Full Marathon was extremely rewarding and crossing that finish line with a smile on my face was golden. I have to admit that it was very difficult to continue that last mile to the finish line. My thighs were in excruciating pain, and throbbed with every step, but there was no going back. I had trained too long for this. I had friends at the finish line. I had to continue.
To prepare for this race, I trained for several months with the Jeff Galloway Group using the run/walk/run method. I decided to run with this group for the accountability and because I knew, with the interval runs, my body would get the recovery periods it needed to continue. Without the group, I would not have run almost 3 days a week in humidity, heat, or freezing temperatures. While in training, I took a vacation to Phoenix, Arizona where I repeatedly woke up at 5 a.m. in the morning to beat the mid-90s heat. Beads of sweat would begin to form as soon as I hit the pavement. I drank water every few minutes in fear of dehydration. During these heated runs, I would think to myself, “This is still better than the humid 80s in Atlanta where my training group is running in weather that feels like a sauna.” I preferred those hot to trot runs over the ones in freezing temperatures where I was running on numb feet, with a freezing cold nose, ears aching due to the wind, and fingers that felt like they were going to fall off. As extreme as it sounds, after each of these runs, I had a feeling of such accomplishment. I would feel a wave of emotion flooding over my heart and my face as I made it to the end. Seeing that I had achieved a new personal record (PR) was an added boost.
It wasn’t just the emotions and PRs that kept me motivated. I had lost over 30 pounds at that time and wanted to keep the weight off. Also, running was a physical activity that I enjoyed, I could start at my own pace, there were several groups I could join, and it was easy! It was “me” time each time. I could listen to music, I could watch people, I could clear my head, run for distance or time…Do whatever I wanted to do. I always finished refreshed and ready for my day. I lost more weight, improved my stamina, and increased my endurance.
I would recommend completing a half marathon if it is something you are passionate about, have time for, the discipline for, and have a great mindset for. If not, then I would suggest finding something you enjoy doing and simply get moving whether it be walking, zumba, bowling, Pilates, or even window shopping at the mall.
This week’s challenge is to pick one of the following activities to get moving: park further from the office, take the steps instead of the elevator, or walk to your co-worker’s cubicle instead of calling or emailing. These simple steps can add up quickly. As you do more, it will increase your energy level as well as help you battle common ailments and stress effectively. Whatever you do, get moving!