“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”- T.S. Eliot
About this time last year, I was probably in the worst mental and physical state of my entire life. If you would have told me that I’d be sitting for my nursing boards and running a half marathon, I would have laughed in your face. It did’t seem possible to me at the time. My mind was defeating me. “I can’t” … “I’ll never be happy again” … “Nobody gets it!” …People thought I wasn’t willing to help myself, but the truth of the matter was I couldn’t. I mentally and physically could not help myself. I had a lot of support during this time. My sister proposed the idea of signing up for the Tallahassee Half-Marathon in January, over and over again. I just kept rejecting the idea, because I didn’t believe I could retrain myself to be physically and mentally prepared. Running has always been a passion of mine. I was never one to love it per say, but I enjoyed getting out and feeling the warm sun, wind, and smelling the fresh air. It was refreshing and therapeutic. There is something about creation that just settles my heart. Running was always my quick fix. If I started feeling sick, I’d run. If I was down, I’d run. If I felt anxious, I’d run. It was an escape for me, and still is.
Over the years, I’ve come to realize that running isn’t something people generally choose to do or like doing. I think to many, they’d rather clean a dirty toilet than go out and run a few miles. I was in that mindset at one point. I remember driving to school a few months ago and seeing a group of people running together. All sizes and all shapes, but TOGETHER. Same pace, same time, same goal in mind: to finish. I was so motivated that morning. Here I am complaining I can’t and won’t, but these people clearly could. It wasn’t about their size, or how many miles they had run before….they got out and did it. I went home and signed up for the half marathon in October.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I joined a running group near my house. I highly encourage anyone who wants to start running or training for a race, do your research! Find a local organization or store that has set times to run. You may not even know they do, but if they don’t, asking might lead you to references. It’s accountability. You KNOW others are running at the same time. You can be a part of that. Running with a group makes all of the difference. It’s fun, it’s motivating, it’s safe, and you meet a bunch of awesome people with similar goals. Don’t be intimidated! They start from scratch! “Running Group” sounds like a bunch of beasts running “300” style in their fly running gear for 26.2 miles at a time. Not true. We actually look like average Joes in fluorescent colors, with nerdy head lamps and blinking lights all over, to prevent getting hit! Lot’s of first time runners, and first time running races!
If you want to start running, I encourage you to BUY NEW SHOES! Go to a running store and get fitted for stability or a neutral shoe. I have long, flat feet. I need stability. I never even knew what that meant before they told me. Apparently my foot pronates inward as I run, which can cause discomfort and ultimately injury. You didn’t know shoes were so important, did ya? I love Saucony brand. They come in fun colors too. I may or may not have bought mine based on the fact they were hot pink and green. I ran them in my half, and loved them.
Signing up for a race is what does it for me. I’d look for races about 3 or 4 months away, depending on the length if you’re just starting. If you’ve never run a lick in your life, I’d say 5-6 months preparation for a half. Once I pay my toll, I’m committed. I know that if I don’t follow the plan for my race, I won’t see the fruit of my labor. I want that “feeling.” That feeling of finishing hard, knowing I did every thing in my power to be ready and race hard. It’s not about my time. It’s not about the distance. It’s about training. It’s about the process. The process of getting there and completing something you didn’t think you could and the discipline it took. Crossing that finish line after a race, no matter what the length, is euphoric. You believe you can do anything after that. And the fact of the matter is YOU CAN. I DID and so CAN YOU!
There are lots of cool gadgets you can buy to track your run. Expensive watches (Garmin) to track your pace and such, but I just run. I use www.mapmyrun.com sometimes. They have a cool site where you can map out where you run, and find local trails that have already been run in your area with a specific mileage. I like that site. Also, get a plan. You can google a lot about training plans depending on the amount of months/weeks before your race that you are starting. Be creative! Find trails. Don’t just run the same routes! Change it up! God created a lot of cool places with natue. I’m obsessed. Grab a friend and find a park! It’s awesome.
Some last things: preparing physically is huge, but lifestyle change is in need. Don’t focus on the weight you’re loosing. Focus on the strength you’re gaining. Your mental and physical strength. Feed your body what it needs to run well and live. Hydrate 24 hours before. Don’t chug a bottle before your run. You’ll feel like you have a child in your stomach while you run if you do. Hydration starts a whole day before. I usually drink a small glass of water and eat a banana to prevent cramping 30 minutes before I run. Bananas are full of potassium and other vitamins which will help with any types of cramps while running.
Stretch well after. Drink lots of water throughout your day. I can’t emphasize that enough! You’re starting to do all of this training, so why not eat right to feel even better!!!
I will be posting some of my recipes and tricks soon, but take a look at my sister’s green smoothie blog! www.greendrinkdiaries.com Green smoothies are my FAVORITE post run meal/snack. SO good for you. She also has some amazing healthy recipes! Lots of protein,carbs,lower fat options. Stay away from artificial sweeteners. That’s subjective, but it has been “proven” to cause cramps and diarrhea. I don’t really know what’s true and what’s not, but it’s not natural, so therefore I don’t eat it. Nothing worse that a crampy, gassy run. Just don’t do it yall. 🙂
…AND GET SOME GOOD JAMS!!!!! Here are some of my favorite bands at the moment! Love yall much!!! Any questions, feel free to ask!!!! GET OUT AND RUN!!!! YOU CAN!!!!
The Lone Bellow
Rend Collective Experiment
Drew and Ellie Holcombe
The Wailin Jenny’s- One Voice (SO GOOD!)
Boy and Bear
All Son’s and Daughters
The Head and the Heart