Last fall I had four friends (yes four!) run their first marathon! I am so proud of each of them in different ways and grateful for their friendships and how each has helped me to grow as a person. Running may seem like an individual sport, but it’s also a team sport especially through the grueling days of training! And while I wasn’t able to get to Ohio to cheer on my good friend Nicole, I was with her in spirit! I ran with her on some hot training runs last summer…and left her before she was done because, well, I just wasn’t in training shape for doing 10+ miles on a random Saturday. She has been my go-to work buddy (we all need one of them!) and is the one who introduced me to the best workout group in the world–SealTeamPT! May her story inspire you to get up and go..
Guest Blogger: Nicole Tidwell
As it finally is starting to warm up, I’ve been thinking about getting back out there and running more consistently again. Looking for some motivation, I was scrolling through some emails and stumbled upon a quote that I had earmarked when I first started running (fall 2010) for moments like this:
I think about all those who can’t run. Then, I think about what my life would be like if I couldn’t run. That alone provides me enough motivation to get out the door. We don’t have to run, we get to.
I also found this blog entry that I wrote up two months after my first marathon in October 2014 and I am definitely more inspired to get back out there!
“It’s official, I am CRAZY & registered for a marathon!” That was the subject of an email I sent to a select few in late July 2014. I was several weeks into my 18 weeklong marathon-training plan and I decided to finally bite the bullet and register for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Marathon in Columbus, Ohio. As I said in that email “there was no turning back now that I’m registered and you know!”
I always thought marathons were crazy. I remember crossing the finish line of my first half marathon thinking “yea right, I will NEVER double what I just did.” Well two years later, I did.
The race turned out to be a lot of fun and I was pretty much on happy juice the whole time! I had no idea what I was in for but I knew I was prepared and knew I would finish one way or the other. (Thankfully I crossed it smiling, feeling good and happy with my time of 4:47). The crowd was amazing! The course was the perfect one for me – a tour of my hometown with some particularly cool spots to run through that I have countless memories of growing up. (As a Buckeye fan, the coolest thing though was running through the tunnel onto the OSU football field!) My friends and family were throughout the course cheering me on! And afterwards they threw a party for me!
A lot of people questioned my sanity, why I was doing it and what I hoped to get out of running a marathon. Those 18 weeks of training were a blur of short and long runs and a lot of time to ponder my latest challenge/goal.
The training was painfully boring at times until I figured out I needed to train with people, whether it be friends from boot camp or complete strangers, to get through those long Saturday runs. I found a great running group in DC (Pacers) that required just showing up bright and early at 6:45 on Saturdays to check in & hit the streets complete with course maps and a sampling of running gels and other aids.
The training was full of physical and mental tests: I got my first blister! (I thought it was my badge of honor!) I strained several muscles in my right leg and had a lovely limp for about 10 weeks as a result. On race day my right side (from my ankle to my hip) was covered in bright purple KT sports tape. (I don’t know how that stuff works, but it was a godsend). I was mad because I gave up drinking (& basically as a result being social) during training. I’m pretty sure I covered every range of emotions on long runs from dread at the beginning, to indifference, to rage, to disappointment, to crying to jubilee when it was done!
But throughout my actual race and training (during runs and in between runs), I kept coming back to a variety of thoughts, most of which are applicable to life in general:
• If you want it, go for it.
• Don’t give up.
• The only thing preventing you from running a marathon is your own list of excuses.
• Be patient.
• Be your own hero.
• It’s not always fun, but ultimately there is a reward at the end – satisfaction that you pushed through.
So to sum it up, why did I run a marathon or any race? The peace of mind it gave me and the calming effect it had on me through an extremely shitty year.
An article in the December 2014 Runner’s World, “The Write Runner” by Michael Heald explains it perfectly:
It’s about staying fit and pushing yourself to achieve and surpass goals. It’s also about personal and spiritual growth, creativity, mental clarity and emotional stability. I find these things in running.
And now I’ve got to lace up new shoes and get back out there!