Starting Fresh. You with me? 

 

Ahoy! 
I’m aware that I’ve been totally M.I.A, but I’m here today to try and fix that. 
I’ve taken a step away from blogging for the passed few months for a couple reasons: 
1) In January, about two weeks after I ran my marathon, I hurt my back. The following eight weeks consisted of little to no exercise. My trainer and I would spend the hour working on breathing and just trying to contract my abs. It was painful, but not just psychically. I’d say that mentally it was much worse. 
I get a large part of the fitness movement is all about moderation these days, and I applaud that. I think it’s great that influential people are spreading the word that health doesn’t mean killing yourself at the gym and abstaining from everything that comes in a package. But here’s the thing: moderation is not for me. I genuinely love exercising for two+ hours a day. If I could make it a full time job, I totally would. I have no doubt that I’d enjoy exercising six hours a day. And it’s not about weight loss or bragging rights, it’s just because I love it. That simple. 
As you can probably guess, going from that volume of activity to limited exercise and tedious Physio was hard. I didn’t realize how much I depended on exercise for stress-relief, but I also didn’t realize how much I depended on exercise as a way to not deal with everything going on below the surface. My inability to move brought up a whole lot of emotions, and needless to say I didn’t feel like writing about them. 
2) Another reason for this absence is that I didn’t know where I wanted to go with this little corner of the Internet. Sometimes I wrote about fitness, sometimes I wrote about movies, a lot of the time I just wrote about random thoughts in my head. I felt like it either had to go two ways: I had to make it a lifestyle blog, and share my entire life, or make it have a single focus. Well, I chose the latter, and I chose fitness! 
Anyways, that brings me to today. I have started running again, with the permission of my trainer, Physio, and chiro. Everyone agreed that I can work within the limits of this injury as long as I take the proper steps to take care of myself. I’m look at you foam roller! 
I’ll be running a half-marathon on June 14th, and have been training for a couple weeks. I’m slower than I was this time last year, but my spirits are up. Just having a goal and being able to move is good for right now. It was a totally spur of the moment sign up too. I wasn’t planning on signing up for a race until I lost the weight I gained after no activity (because I obviously didn’t eat less, duh), but that just didn’t work for me. I’m a goal oriented person, and not having one meant being at a standstill. 
Is anyone still reading? If so, you deserve a medal! And thank-you. 
Anyways, I’m happy to be back!

Walt Disney World Marathon

Prior to running, when I was thinking about what I would write for my marathon re-cap, titles such as “What Not To Do To Prepare for a Marathon” and “The Worst Day of my Life” popped into my head. I was so ready for January 11th to royally suck. If you read my previous post, you’ll know that I was worried for this one. I didn’t feel ready, I didn’t feel excited, I felt completely deflated and unworthy. I had been injured, unable to train, and so I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to feel proud of myself during this race, because I didn’t feel like I had earned it.

I would just like to take back all of those thoughts.

Before

On Sunday I ran the Walt Disney World Marathon, and I completed it. I went in not knowing what to expect. I had never run over 21.1 km (13.1 miles), and I hadn’t done that since August.

Leading up to the marathon, I felt surprisingly calm. In the absence of physically training, I told myself over and over and over that I was going to complete this, and pictured myself every day at the finish line holding that metal. The night before, I got into bed at 8PM (my alarm had to be set for 3:15AM), and got ready for a good night’s sleep.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere right as I was drifting off to sleep, I started shaking. My stomach started hurting, and I started sobbing. We’re not talking a few nervous tears here people, we are talking bawling my head off. It seemed in that moment, all of the pressure I had been putting on myself, all the of nerves I had been suppressing, exploded. It’s hard to put into words because like I mentioned – I mentally felt ok. I couldn’t explain to my friend what I was feeling because I didn’t know what I was feeling. But clearly I needed an outlet for my underlying emotions.

During

When I woke up early the next day, I again felt ok. Not overly excited, but not dread either. I made my way down to the start of the race and waited my turn to go. I was in corral “J” – the 4:45 corral, and had to wait about 35 minutes before I could start.

I started very slow. I knew I had to. It was slower than I felt comfortable running, but I told myself  if I quickened my pace I risked the chance of injury and not finishing. So I mosey’d along, and eventually I found my sweet spot.

The race was amazing, especially for a first time marathoner. We started at Epcot, ran through Magic Kingdom (with Elsa and Anna waving at you from the terrace!), through the Speedway, Animal Kingdom, ESPN World of Sports, Hollywood Studios, and back to Epcot for the grand finale. Even the highway parts were beautiful for the most part.

I felt excellent for a majority of the race, and because I started so slow I was able to gradually quicken my pace as the race went on, something I never considered would happen. I took my time and really soaked it in. At about 35KM my toes went numb and my feel started to hurt, so I made sure I took care of myself and gave myself permission to listen to my body. And in the end I was right, I finished the marathon I didn’t think I could complete.

After

Upon finishing, a wave of emotion swept through me. Seeing my friend at the finish line, knowing my parents were watching and cheering on the live feed back home, it all meant so much to me. But most of all I was so proud of myself. I did something I had set out to do, and even though the journey was completely different from what I had imagined it would be, at the end it no longer mattered. I put my mind to something and achieved it, and I can’t think of anything that feels better than that.

So I know this isn’t a typical race re-cap. I don’t know my splits. Heck, I don’t even know my final time. But none of that matters to me. In this post I just wanted to express this feeling of accomplishment, and maybe suggest to you readers who are uncertain of their capabilities that a little grit and a lot of determination can take you places you never thought you could get to.

Cheesy, I know, but it’s the truth.

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