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Monday, January 20, 2014

Discouraged but Determined

                I am on week three of my half marathon training, and I am slightly discouraged. The furthest I’ve run so far is three miles, and even then I had to stop a few times to power walk. The idea of doing 13.1 miles is feeling extremely daunting now. I mean 13.1 miles. How the hell am I going to make it that far when 3 miles is a challenge right now?

                I keep reminding myself why I am running. I’m running to renew a promise to myself to be healthy, a promise to my mother, a promise to minimize cancer risks. But, lately I’ve felt so overwhelmed by the idea of running a half marathon.   A 5K hell an 8k seems doable now but 13 miles. What was I thinking?
                As bad as I want to throw in the towel, I can’t. I have to keep going even if it means I have to power walk part of the way, I am determined to do this half marathon.

What Keeps Me Going
                I have enjoyed the therapy running has brought back to my life. Before I moved back to Virginia Beach, I was an avid runner. I ran every other day in Lynchburg. Lynchburg has the best running trails, and terrain for who people who love to run. Some of my best Sundays were hitting the running trail after church. As I’m trying to return to that lifestyle I am reminded of how much I love running.
                  I run with an iPod, but I love turning it off every once in a while, and just listening to my shoes hit the pavement.  In those moments I try to process what is weighing me down. I think about things I have to do at work, friends I need to pray for, and dreams I’m still chasing. With each step I feel stronger, and more determined to keep going.

What I love most about running it that it’s not easy. It’s personal, it’s singular, and it’s a battle of the mind. You have to push yourself to put those running shoes on in the morning; you have to push yourself to keep putting one foot in front of the other. That is what makes it even more rewarding when you finish a run, it’s because you know you did it , you broke through, and you didn’t give up. So here’s to not giving up.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Running a Half Marathon

I’ve decided to run a half marathon. My reason for this is not to prove I can do it. It’s to renew a promise I made to myself years ago. It's for my mother. It's for me. My mother is the reason I started running in my early 20’s, and she’s a big reason I am training for my biggest race ever. 

              My mom was diagnosed with cancer about six years ago.  I still remember running out of the house after she told me and my brother.  My boyfriend at the time chased after me, and held me under a summer moon until I got tired of crying. My mother told us she would fight cancer with every inch of her being, but she was prepared to die if it was God’s will. Things start to look a lot different when you or someone you love is at the brink of losing their life.  You start to reevaluate what is important, and what you’re doing with the precious time you have.
                My mom’s fight for survival made me realize I wasn’t pursuing one of my biggest desires which was to lose weight.  I seriously think I’m genetically predisposed to being curvy. I can handle that. But, when my mom was sick I was very overweight. Heck I’m overweight now. I wanted and want desperately to shed the weight.  I want to be healthy, go up a flight of stairs without getting winded, run a mile or two and feel good about it. I want to shimmy back in to my skinny jeans from my early 20’s and strut my stuff in my hip hugging dresses. These are things I am too ashamed to do when I am carrying around extra pounds.  

               When my mom was sick I looked at my body differently. I started thinking that the very cancer in my mother could be lying dormant in me. After mom was diagnosed I became obsessed with my cancer risks factors; I read books, researched cancer online, and went to the doctor way too much to see if I could minimize my risks. The doctor said while it wouldn’t completely decrease my chances, living a healthier life style could be a start. That is why I started my running journey six years ago, and in the process I lost 25 pounds.  Well here I am again, overweight, unsure, and ready for a change. I am approaching 30, the year I will have to start getting mammograms to look for cancer. And, I’m sad to say I’ve let life get in the way of my ability to be healthy, lean, and fit. I promised myself the year my mother was diagnosed I would be healthier, make smarter food choices, and stay active to decrease my cancer risks. I am sad to say I have let stress, work, life, and more stress get in the way of that. But, today is a new day, and I am training for a half marathon to put that promise back into practice. I am training for a half marathon to honor my mother by taking care of the body God has given me.