As some of you may know, I am currently in training to run the Chicago Half Marathon on September 13, 2009. I have never run in a race before, nor have I ever run more than 4 or 5 miles at a time, but it started off as a great challenge for me, as well as a chance to prove to that 13 year old still inside of me that I can, in fact, run, and don't need to hide in the nurse's office on the day of the mile run in gym class. Yes I did that. No I could not run one mile. I don't know if it was physical or mental, but I couldn't. And yes I got made fun of for it.
I couldn't bring myself to run a full mile without stopping until my junior year of high school. And even then it was only because a friend was with me every step of the way telling me that I could do it. Running to me has always been hard work, but also the only true measure of fitness. I know that isn't necessarily true, but I still have yet to shake that paradigm from my mind.
Anyway, I am almost done with week 3 of training, and so far so good. I printed out weekly schedules for myself and when I complete a workout I give myself a big star or smiley face. Even on days when it's tough to get going (like running 5 miles today, I'm already procrastinating) I know that as soon as I get out there, about a mile or so in I will hit my stride and stop obsessively adding up blocks to figure out how far I've gone/need to go. And that feeling I get, when I realize that I'm not thinking about running anymore, is incredible. I know that all runners say this, but it feels like I have discovered this whole new beautiful thing! It's so great.
Still, I wanted to be able to do something to help me past the time on actual race day, though up until this point I hadn't really been thinking about it too hard; I just knew something would come up. And then a couple of nights ago when I was reading the new Women's Health, I found it. At the front of the magazine, on the "Tell Women's Health" page, there is a side column of advice from readers, and this month it was how to motivate yourself during outdoor workouts. One woman said that while she was swimming, she would dedicate each lap to thinking about someone in her life.
This is brilliant. When I read that I got goosebumps all over my body and I knew that that was it. I am going to dedicate each of the first 12 miles of the half marathon to someone or a group of people that are important to me, and during the entire mile I am going to focus on all of the good qualities about that person and send out positive thoughts to the universe for her or him. And I can practice this during training! I can't think of a better way to focus on gratitude and how wonderful all of the people in my life are, all while doing something great for myself. I'm going to save the last 1.1 miles for myself and focus on all of the things I love about me, because in order to truly love and appreciate others, I must love and appreciate myself first.
There will be more updates on my training status throughout the summer- this is a huge challenge for me and the journey has been exciting so far! There is nothing like pushing myself just to see how far I can go. What sorts of challenges are you taking on in your life?