As some of you have noticed, I have been very quiet on here recently. That has been intentional. My children are getting older and I am trying to navigate privacy and boundaries. I don't want to overshare and have them regret and feel bad about what I say. So I have been quiet. BUT I love that this blog has been a source of family memories so I want to keep it up. I just don't know how to juggle it all.
So I am going to start up again by talking about a safe topic...me!
After Saffryn was born I wanted to get healthy again. I felt weak and wasn't happy with how clothes were fitting. My friend recommended a couch to 5k running plan. It sounded doable so I did it with her. I realized quickly that I really enjoyed having a goal that was just for me. It was fun challenging myself and pushing myself and getting healthier and stronger. I did my first 5k that spring and started dreaming of doing a half marathon.
I really enjoyed it. However, life got in the way and I stopped running. I had several more children and ran here and there but never consistently and didn't do another race.
After I had Max and we moved to Dallas I really struggled in a few different ways. I started having a lot of anxiety and my self esteem was really low. I ended up seeing a therapist regularly to talk through a lot of things. That helped a lot and I could not recommend that more. I also started waking up before Dan would get up and ran a couch to 5k again. I was not strong at all and could only run for the 20 and 30 seconds at a time. But I kept going and managed to finish the program.
I couldn't believe that once again having a goal just for myself really helped me. I started feeling stronger physically. I started feeling stronger emotionally. And I started seeing myself through more positive eyes.
At that point I didn't have any goals other than getting healthy and stronger and having an outlet for my anxious energy.
Sometimes Dan and I would run together but mostly I would run by myself. Either way it was fun for me.
Here we are after a run!
We stayed in Dallas for 18 months then moved back up to Kansas. We were in a state of transition for a while but I still continued to run off and on. I still wasn't running very far or fast. I usually had to resort to the couch to 5k program because I couldn't always be consistent.
Fast forward to last fall. We had moved into our new house and had gotten settled. I began trying to run more consistently again and felt really good about it. Then, a friend posted on Facebook asking if anyone would be interested in training for a half marathon together for January 1st.
I remembered my long time ago goal of running a half marathon and thought, "why not?!?". I asked Dan if he had any interest in doing it with me and he did! So we began running and following the training schedule and got up to a few 5 mile runs. We were feeling pretty good about it all. Then we had some major bumps in the road. Between a tragedy, minor sickness and Christmas we fell way behind on our training. It was a tight schedule to begin with and add those things and there was no way we could be ready.
We decided to hold off and try again. I was still proud of us, I mean I had run FIVE miles. I had never ran that far before. I felt encouraged and knew we would just try again another time.
After the holidays Dan and I talked again about training for a half marathon. There was a local one at the beginning of May. That gave us several months to train and hopefully more flexibility in the schedule to actually succeed. We signed up for it and for a 5k before that and made a new training plan.
We decided to train together. We would do all the runs together at a pace we could both do (meaning Dan slowed way down and stayed with me). At first it was kind of awkward and hard. I knew Dan was going slow for me and it bothered me to feel like the slow loser. Hahah. I also felt like I was starting from scratch since we didn't run at all during December and some of January. That was incredibly frustrating because I had worked so hard to make it up to five mile runs.
We decided would go the YMCA after he got home from work and drop the kids off in the kid zone. We would then run together on the indoor track. It was not an ideal situation (tracks get pretty tedious) but for now that is the only option we have if we want to run together. Like I said, at first it was kind of awkward. I was grumpy and felt like I was holding Dan back. I wasn't used to running with anyone on a regular basis and neither was Dan. But within a few weeks it became the highlight of both of our days. The more we ran and the better shape we got the more we could talk while we ran. All this kid free time to talk!!! We processed so many things together during that time and really grew closer!
I got stronger and faster thanks to Dan pushing me and encouraging me to do more than I thought I could.
We ran our 5k together in March and I got a new personal record. I ran 10 minute miles. It felt so hard during the run but was so fun to meet a goal!
After that fun things started getting hard. We had to start adding more
miles which means adding time to our workouts. Instead of 30 minute workouts they became over an hour and sometimes closer to two hours. I found myself not wanting to go
to the gym. It was hard.
Then Dan got really sick (Influenza b and then bronchitis), he also got a new job. During that time our training came to a complete halt. We both felt discouraged and knew the race was drawing near. After a few weeks of rest for him we began again. Starting slow to make sure Dan didn't over do it. We had to totally revamp our training plans because we not only lost out on time we had to go back in miles. We both wondered if we could actually do the race.
But we didn't give up. We kept going to the gym and running those laps together. At one point we had an 8 mile run...64 laps! Crazy, right?!? Haha! But we did it and actually had a good time together. We had planned to do a few more long runs but Dan ended up having a business trip right before the race (which we tagged along on) and threw off our training (again).
Then came race day. (A big thanks to Dan's dad who watched the kids for us the night before and the morning of the race!!! He was a huge help!!!)
We knew we were at a disadvantage because:
1) We did all of our miles in an indoor track (which couldn't be helped)
2) We got behind on our training and never fully caught up
3) The longest run we had done was 8 miles
But we were there and we were going to just do the best we could.
I had made the overall goal of just finishing. Just cross that finish line.
I had the secondary goal of finishing under 3 hours.
I had a stretch goal of finishing in 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Wow this post is so long...
Anyway, here we are before the race
Here is an action shot at the beginning
We decided to run with the official pacers of the race that were running a 2 hour and 30 minute pace.
The first 3 miles were great. I felt really good.
The 4th mile was a little harder.
The 5th mile was probably the hardest one (emotionally) of the race for me. I was starting to get tired. I was starting to fall behind the pacers. I knew I still had a long way to go and I was getting discouraged. But I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and somehow made it to mile 6. I decided to take a quick potty stop and get some water and got a zap
of much needed energy.
We hit the mile 7 mark and I thought, "we are now over half-way. OK!!!"
We kept chugging along until mile 8. Then I got really excited because I realized all of these miles are new territory. This will have been the farthest I have ever ran!
Miles 8-10 were great. I felt so good and excited and just powered through.
Then came miles 11 and 12. Those were hard physically. My feet started to tingle and go numb. My legs hurt. My lungs kept getting sharp pains. I had to really keep alternating between walking and running.
After seeing the 12th mile marker I thought, "I am going to finish no matter what. Even if I have to walk this last mile." Dan decided to run ahead and finish the last mile at his pace. I ran most of that mile (at a snails pace mind you). It was the longest. Mile. Ever. For real. It was the never ending mile.
But then I could hear the cheers and the cowbells (cowbells ARE the cure. More cowbell!!!). And I finally crossed the finish line!
Here is Dan finishing
Here we are after the race
We did it!!!
I accomplished two out of my three goals. I finished. I did it under three hours. I came in at 2:47.
It it has taken me some time to process this journey. Hints why this post is weeks later. I expected to be emotional at the end of the race and I wasn't. I expected to feel certain things and I didn't. But, I realized for me the race isn't what changed me. Training for the race however, did. Am I proud of finishing the race? Yes. But I am way more proud of all the hard miles we put in before the race. Those were the miles that counted. Those were the miles that nobody cheered for. Those were the days that I had to show up and do the hard work. Those were the miles that made me feel strong, that made me think of my body in a new way. Those long hard runs help me look at my flaws less and my strengths more. Those are the miles I get emotional about. I am proud of myself for not giving up.
You want to know the best part? I seriously love running. I love how it makes me feel. A few days after the race I was eager to hit that track up again with my husband! I keep thinking, "I can do better!" I have found my new hobby and am going to enjoy it for as long as I can!
My new goal: run a 5k under 30 minutes!
Thanks for taking the time to read my journey. Sorry for the long post.