Running the distance...13.1 miles

I've never been that person who thought I couldn't "do "hard" things. I mean I work hard and I try really hard, but I have always thought of myself as someone sort of "in the middle of the road." In pretty much everything.


One day, I decided that "middle of the road" wasn't going to be good enough anymore. I wanted to push and really try to do something that would challenge me both physically and mentally. Something that I thought I would never be able to do. Enter a half marathon.


In early January 2020, I got an email promoting a spring race and it really got me thinking. Could I actually do that? Could I run 13.1 miles? I still didn't have myself convinced, so I sent it to my husband. I said, do you think I could actually do this? Could I run 13.1 miles? At this point my longest run had only been a 10K. His reply was simple, yes, if you train.


So, that was it. I decided I was going to do it. I was going to train for my FIRST half marathon. I went out on Pinterest and began looking for training plans. I found one that was for 16 weeks. It was January at this time, and I was going to run my first half (see starting to use the real runner's lingo) the first week of May. I took my planner out and marked down all of the runs for the 16 weeks.


I began my training. The first weeks were pretty easy, because I was already running...so it was much of the same. The big difference was that I also needed to be adding some strength training and cross training. Soon, I found myself at week 10. I was still doing it. It wasn't perfect, I didn't hit EVERY single workout, but I did the majority and I was feeling strong.


Then...COVID-19 hit. I had a decision to make. I was at week 10 and I could use this as my excuse to stop, or I could use it as motivation to keep going. I chose motivation. Running was one exercise that was allowed during social distancing and quarantine times. There really wasn't a reason to stop...except all of my long runs were coming. But, I decided that this time was going to be different. I was going to PUSH through and finish.


The long runs were long. They were a bit lonely too. My body would hurt for days after, but training still needed to be done to make sure that I was able to run the distance literally.


Before I knew it, race day was upon me. It didn't look like I had imagined. There were no crowds, there was no official "start" line, there was no vendors, there was no "pacing" group. It was me...I had to find my course and I had to make my own way. My mom, husband, and two sons were part of my send off and I was off.


I created a route that was an out and back a few times, so I could be sure that I could run by my house in case I needed the restroom and of course to get some water along the way. My cheer squad was also there. I had told a few good friends my route and they were so amazing and surprised me. Seeing familiar faces helped make those miles pass.


I got through mile 10 and I was feeling pretty strong. Then, I got to mile 11 and I was exhausted. My legs were heavy, my stomach felt empty and I had some hills to go and a couple more miles. I had a choice...I didn't have to do this. I mean who would know? I would know! I would know.


So, I pressed on. Mile 12 so definitely the hardest and I showed myself grace and let myself walk up the large hill, so I could cross my finish line strong and I did. I crossed the line with a smile. Not because it was the fastest time, not because the huge crowd was cheering, it was because I made a promise to myself and I did it.



What I learned from running 13.1 miles:

- I can do hard things (guess what...so can you!)

- I'm not the middle of the "pack" I'm just Jenna.

- I can push my limits and complete hard things.

- Promises to myself are just as important to promises to others.

- Training and discipline pay off.

- Make sure to hydrate :)

- A long Epsom bath afterwards is amazing and helps with soreness :)



I don't know what's next for my running goals, but I know that I'm going to keep running. It has helped me break through so many "glass ceilings" and limiting beliefs. I know that I can do it, and so can you! I want to encourage everyone who's thinking of going after a dream or a goal to do it, because you're worth it. The promises you make to yourself are important, and most importantly, YOU CAN DO IT.


Blessings to you and your families!

Jenna

Subscribe to my email list and receive a FREE seven day healthy and affordable meal plan!

  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram