- You can do it. You. Yes. You can. I ran my first marathon in May 2014. The spring I graduated college. The spring I did the most soul-searching. It transformed me. I had spent a lot of years not believing myself and that fire that 26.2 miles lit (yes, it was over 95 degrees but I’m talking about a fire within) changed me. After I ran my first marathon, I ran another just to see if I could do it again. Your body gives up first, way before your mind. Running teaches me every day that I am strong and capable of so much more.
- It’s for you, not anyone else. I’ve had one true running buddy through the years. (Miss you, Bease!) Otherwise, running is for me. I love running with my husband and I’d love to be a part of a running group someday but deep down, I feel like my time spent on long runs is time that belongs to no one else. I don’t have to worry about to-do lists, or work, or not being good enough. It’s just me, myself, and I. One of my favorite running quotes is: “If you don’t have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain’t getting them.” Christopher McDougall
- Listen to your body. I love my planner and I love a good training schedule but I’ve learned to listen to my body. There are some days everything hurts for no reason. Rest is important. I try to listen to my body on the days it’s screaming “yoga pleeeeeease” and even on the days it wants to run longer than “planned”. I’ve been known to stay home from work because I just needed a long run. My own special kind of mental health day, shhh.
- Be proud. It’s okay to celebrate your accomplishments and remember that you are a badass, because you are.
- Be patient. It takes time to achieve goals. It takes time to hit high mileage weeks. Be patient with yourself and your body. Don’t stop.
- Dream. My dream is still to make it to Boston someday. I was afraid to dream that dream for the first few years I was running. I struggled to even see myself as a “runner”. If you run, you are a runner. Don’t stop dreaming and don’t stop reaching higher.
- Eat. Running changed my body image and my entire mindset on how I see food. I workout and run because I love my body, not because I hate it. I eat food for fuel. When I don’t eat enough, I can feel it in my workouts. I enjoy a cheeseburger and french fries now and then. Fro yo is still my favorite thing ever. I worry more about the quality of calories that I am putting into my body, and less about the quantity. Some days, I’m just hungry. Run or no run, my body some days just needs more food. I’m learning to be okay with that as I get stronger. It isn’t always about how much you’re eating, but what you’re choosing to eat.
- Share. Be proud. Seek out support groups. Find a running tribe to surround yourself with. I have found that the community I have found in running has meant more than anything else. We’d love for you to join us!
In the spirit of Thanksgiving and thankfulness, here are 100 reasons I’m thankful for running/thankful I’m a runner.
- Body love
- You can do it anywhere
- Don’t need fancy equipment
- Race volunteers
- Running trails
- Strong legs
- Tough feet
- Runners high
- Running with Colin
- Running alone
- Waving to other runners
- Runner’s World mag (the one you can hold in your hands)
- New shoes
- Old shoes
- Instagram running community
- Friends that run
- People that text me about running
- #RunSelfie ‘s
- Giant Water Bottles
- Almond butter
- An excuse to use a fanny pack
- Water fountains along trails
- Good knees
- Wide-calf boots
- Stress management
- Open all hours
- No gym membership needed
- Appreciate nature
- New goals
- New gear
- Lessons learned
- Cool races in cool places
- Run inspiration on Pinterest
- Alone time
- Quiet time
- All weather sport
- Awesome socks
- Early mornings
- Nighttime runs
- Knowing you’re a boss (thanks, Colin)
- Feeling before a run
- Feeling after a run
- Donuts after marathons
- Running blogs
- Running books
- Running articles
- Old runners
- Young runners
- Hearing running stories
- Telling running stories
- Sweating so much you can see the salt on your face
- Frozen nose-hairs during winter runs
- That feeling at the start line
- The feeling at the finish line
- Pinning your bib on crooked, always.
- Spilling water on yourself at water stops, always.
- Sound of my feet on the pavement
- Sound of my feet on grass
- Sound of my feet on snow
- Sound of my feet on mud
- Sound of my feet on leaves
- Being in shape for Tough Mudder
- The dream of Boston
- Running in the rain
- Medal collection
- Bib collection
- Mile 20
- The shower after a run
- Running in new places
- Exploring new trails
- Mapping my runs
- Planning my training
- Running to work
- Running home from work
- There’s always time for a run
- Running apps
- Could probably outrun the person next to me if a bear attacks
- Knowing you can do anything you set your mind to
Why are you thankful for running?
I set a lofty summer goal of running 500 miles from May 1-Sept 1. I realized quickly into the month of May that hitting those miles was going to be tricky if I didn’t build some miles into my work day. I decided last week, to run to work each day and see if this would be a way that I could get more miles in this summer.
I learned a lot about how to commute by foot and I hope that I can learn from some of you who walk/bike/run to work. I am fortunate with my office situation. It is pretty close to ideal for running to work. My office is a little 3 bedroom house, with 2 full baths. It has a full kitchen and we have plenty of room in the fridge. I only share the space with 2 other women (…one of whom who just got married! Congrats Rachel & John!). I live 4 miles away and can choose 2 different ways to get to work: Main Street or Constitution Trail. Both ways take me right by coffee shops in the morning where I can stop if I chose to and walk the last 5 minutes to my office. It really is an ideal situation. Your situation might look a lot different and that is okay.
Something I learned pretty quickly was how much unnecessary “stuff” I carry around. When planning your runs to work, lighten your load as much as possible. Example: on day 3 I realized I was carrying with me while running my entire work key ring. It has 6 keys on it and I only know what 1 does (gets me into my office). Why not leave the other keys at work and only carry the 1 that I need to get in? Another thing: I missed my planner a lot. It had to stay at my office during the week because I couldn’t carry it back and forth with me each day. I’m attached to my planner and it was sad to be without it each evening.
Below are some of my essentials. I make sure that I have these at my office because they make getting ready after a run a little easier for me. Burt’s Bees makes these awesome Facial Cleansing Towelettes. Super refreshing! I love the Pink Grapefruit ones but there are other scents as well. I get them at Walgreens. Instead of carrying my entire wallet back and forth every day I switched to a smaller coin-purse that easily fits in my running fanny pack or even my pocket. I keep a chapstick, my ID, my keys, and my debit card in there. My Chloe + Isabel jewelry roll holds all of my accessories for the week – that I plan out with each outfit. I packed it up on Sunday evening along with with outfits and dropped it off at my office so it would already be there for me. I also dropped off food for the week as well as all of my clothes/makeup. Since I wouldn’t have a car to leave for lunch, this was probably the trickiest part. This week I plan to do a better job grocery shopping for lunch items for my office. (Ordering Jimmy John’s is too tempting!) The Bb grooming cream helps my hair to air dry smoother. I run it through my wet hair and it just keeps everything calmed down. The mini perfume was a sample that I keep at work. Finally, I’m a huge fan of dry shampoo and it is an essential for the days that I don’t wash my hair but it needs a little freshening. What are your #runtowork essentials? Anything that I should add?
I do plan to keep this #runtowork thing up. I learned that 5 days a week might be a bit much. 8 miles a day for me isn’t sustainable long-term. My goal for the summer is to run to and from work 3-4 days a week and mix some biking to work in there as well. Like I mentioned before, your situation might not look like this but I hope you can think creatively about how you might be able to make #runtowork a possibility for you. Maybe just on Fridays? Maybe during lunch works better for you? Comment below or email me and we can brainstorm other ways to make it easier for you! I’d love to hear from you! Email: email@example.com
I’m trying to make #RunToWork a thing, so join me and share if you do decided to run to work! I’m on Instagram and Twitter @mandijstewart. Thanks for reading, and I can’t wait to hear about and follow all of your #runtowork adventures! XOXO
P.S. The Summer 2015 #RWRunStreak starts up tomorrow – Memorial Day. Anyone participating?
(May 1 thru Sept 1) I’ll be updating my progress throughout the summer.
- Run 500 miles
- Yoga head or hand stand
- 5 Pull-ups by July 1, 10 by September 1
- Did 2 pull-ups, May 17
- Read 15 books
- Complete Personal Trainer Certification
- Chloe + Isabel Forever 40
- Catch up on Smashbooking
Would love for anyone to join me in pursuit of these goals, or ones that you set for yourself. What are your goals for the summer months?
Side Effects of Marathon Training
An incomplete list of the unexpected & expected things that may happen to you while training for a marathon.
1. You may develop a strong belief in yourself. You can do it, as long as you believe you can. And that belief will come. Slowly, run by run, you will start to believe that you really can do it. This will happen during training whether you expect it to or not. Each mile further that you run, each time you tie your shoes and head out the door, you start believing in yourself a little more. All you have to do is put your mind to it, and put in the time. Training for a marathon is more about believing in yourself and believing in what your body can do than anything else. That belief in yourself is what is going to carry you through 16+ weeks of training and 26.2 miles on race day. When that belief begins to waver or falter, that is when your body is going to start to hurt. Bad. You can do it. I know you can. Just Don’t Stop Believing (and add this to your playlist right away).
2. You may have moments when you feel alone. If you can find a friend to do it with you, that is awesome and I am super jealous. Even someone to run a few miles a week with here and there. Join a club. Find a group. (Those are things that I am still working on). My husband will join me for the last few miles of my long runs and I love that. Every little bit of company that you can find, helps. The miles get long when you’re out there with just yourself. That is what I love the most about training, and also what is the toughest. Be prepared for the quiet both in training and on race day if you don’t have a running buddy. Its beautiful and scary to be alone with yourself for so long. Sometimes, you can’t see anyone ahead of you or anyone behind you. Those are the moments when believing in yourself becomes even more important. See #1.
3. You may get better at saying “No”. Sometimes, I have a hard time saying “no”. No to plans, no to work, no to the restaurant where we are headed to eat. Choosing training isn’t always easy. Friends that want to stay out late on a Friday night when you have a long run Saturday morning. Events that are scheduled on race weekend. Spur the moment dinner plans that pop-up when you’re on mile 4 of a 13 mile run. Falling asleep early. Falling asleep during the movie. You have to make the decision to choose training sometimes, and sometimes that isn’t an easy decision to make. Training has helped me to get better at saying “no” to things that aren’t good for me and my training schedule.
4. You may have less time for Netflix. I don’t watch a ton of Netflix although I am working on re-watch all of Grey’s Anatomy. You do have less time for other hobbies when you’re in training. Continue to make time for whats important to you but realize that marathon training is a big time commitment, so before you leap into a training plan, make sure you’re making room for it in your schedule.
5. Your body may change. I have found that for me, marathon training is not the best way to get the number on the scale to go down. For you, maybe it will be. The amount of miles being put in some weeks requires your body to consume more calories for fuel. I am working on those calories being good ones (fruits & veggies) and not peanut butter M&Ms. I also invested in a Fitbit scale which also measures body fat percentage. I think that is a better motivator for me than pounds right now, and something that I am working on lowering.
How else does your body change? For me, I feel strong. I am super close to being able to do 2 pull-ups which is a small victory in my book. I’m lifting heavier weights. I can run miles on miles in a row and come home and still have endless energy for the day ahead. I don’t feel like anyone could knock me over super easily. (This is my best judge of how strong I am feeling day to day. I wake up some mornings and think, “I’m strong, no one could knock me over today”. Odd, but when you’re 5’11” it’s a long way down and these are things I think about.)
6. You may start to fall in love with mornings. Morning runs rock. You learn that, throughout training. I have always loved mornings but I appreciate the benefits of a morning workout even more when I am training. Having the rest of the evening after work free to workout with my husband, or just relax is glorious!
What side effects have you run into when training for a marathon?
Please note – many side effects of marathon training may not be reported. Always consult your doctor, healthcare specialist, or running buddy for advice.
My wonderful friend John posted a blog post today that really inspired me. Check it out here. I recommend watching the video as well, it is sure to make you smile and he also has some fantastic things to say.
I love the start of a new month. I love the potential it brings and I always think of the start of a new month as a time to reevaluate my goals and set some new ones. I had totally forgotten until I read John’s post, that May was coming up so fast!
Below is my list of 30 things that I am challenging to do for myself in the next 30 days, starting on Thursday, May 1. With my College Student Personnel Master’s Program ending in *gasps* 10 short days, I think this is a great time to set some goals and ways that I can live my life a little richer (since I won’t get to write Effective Engagement goals anymore for class).
30 Challenges, 30 days.
1. Run, a least one mile every day. Time for another #RWStreak.
2. Floss everyday. My dad always says that you don’t have to floss all of your teeth, just the ones you want to keep.
3. Journal once/day.
4. Compliment someone every day.
5. Talk to a stranger every day.
6. 10 pushups, up on my toes each day.
7. Practice rollerblading a few times in May, bravely.
8. No soda for 30 days.
9. Write a novel over the course of the month. It’s not November, but I have always wanted to do this.
10. Dance everyday.
11. Take a picture each day.
12. Remind myself how great I am everyday i.e. Practice self-love.
13. Read an article on Inside Higher Ed each day.
14. Wake up early and greet the day, every day.
15. Be mindful of my own negativity.
16. Create a bucket list.
17. Eat a piece of fruit ever day.
18. Eat a vegetable every day.
19. Always take the stairs, no elevators.
20. Reach out to a long-distance friend every day.
21. Listen to a new song each day.
22. Learn a new word each day.
23. Really answer the question, “How are you?” when I am asked.
24. No meat for 30 days.
25. No fast food for 30 days.
26. Write down my dreams in the morning if I can remember them.
27. Do this pushup challenge.
28. Read a blog post every day.
29. Sing in the shower every day.
30. Learn how to do a cartwheel. Anyone have any tips? 🙂
I’m pretty excited about all of these and would love to hear your thoughts. If anyone wants to do some of these with me, or create their own list, let me know! Excited to start the month of May off on the right foot!