Accomplishing a goal gives you one of the best feelings ever. There is a wave of emotions that come over you. Thinking of all of the hard work, time and energy that was put in to accomplishing that goal. That is exactly what happened to me on Saturday. For so many years, I have wanted to run a marathon. I really don’t know why. I believe it is because it is a challenge and I love to push myself to do things. People train for months for these. I had always planned on doing the same. Sticking to a schedule, watching my progress over time and transforming my body and mind.
In 2012 I had back surgery and it was strongly suggested I did not do any sort of activity that involved jumping or running. My disc in between L5 and S1 was ruptured and the surgery repaired it, which meant it was removed. This meant there was nothing there to absorb the shock. I absolutely loved to run and workout so this news was devastating to me. I had always thought I would be able to run. I had never signed up for a marathon before because of the training that went into it and I didn’t feel like I could properly train while coaching college basketball. Lesson learned…MAKE THE TIME. I could have figured it out. I honestly could have.
Fast forward to Fall of 2019. I had several friends running marathons this year. One ran Chicago and another ran London. One of my guides from Kilimanjaro was running one in the Serengeti as a fundraiser to help bring clean water to the Masai tribe, which is one of the tribes I visited while over in Tanzania. And then I got the email. The amazing company I work for is the name sponsor for the St Jude’s Marathon in Memphis. Every year over 25,000 runners raise money for the children’s hospital located in Memphis. Every other year the race sells out by July. I decided to see if there were any spots available to finally check this off my bucket list. And there was.
I quickly checked in with a few of my friends to see if anyone else would be in Memphis running that weekend and several had signed up to run the half marathon. I looked at a calendar. Could I physically train enough to complete 26.2 miles? I only had six weeks to do this and one of those would be Thanksgiving week and another I would be in Charleston, South Carolina for a conference for five days. After some serious thought, I did it. I signed up. Six weeks out from running, I signed up to do my first full marathon. My friends and my chiropractor thought I was crazy. As one friend put it, I was officially bat shit crazy.
As part of this marathon you also sign up to raise money for St Jude’s. My initial goal was set at $250. I thought I would be able to get a few friends to donate $10-$20 each and I would hit that goal. It’s for the kids! Who wouldn’t want to do it? I had no idea what would happen in the next six weeks.
I made out a calendar of my workouts, which consisted of spin and barre classes along with a great deal of swimming. I needed to work my small muscles in my legs as well as making sure my lungs could handle it all. I had a few days of running in the week to get these legs used to that motion again. To clarify, I did run/walks. I ran for five minutes and walked for five minutes. Remember that lesson from before? About making the time? Yes, that one. I made sure I made the time to get those workouts in, even when I was at a business conference and over the Thanksgiving break.
The key component to my training was going to be my nutrition. I knew how I fueled my body was going to be very important to my performance and recovery during the training. I was very conscious of what I was putting in my body with and was doubling up on my plant concentrate capsules and plant-based protein mixes.
There were several days I questioned what I was doing. Every time I received an email saying another donation had been made, I was able to answer that question. That initial $250 was raised to $500 and then to $1000. By the end of the six weeks, I had raised $4,000!!! I have some amazing friends and family who donated along with our amazing company. Because I was able to raise $1,000 in a 24-hour time period they donated another $1,000 in my name. How amazing is that?
Race day was full of nerves, adrenaline and excitement. I was so emotional the entire week and race day only magnified that feeling. I was also scared. I was alone in a sea of thousands of people. I couldn’t believe I was finally going to cross this off my bucket list. I had no idea if I would finish this race and it didn’t matter. I had already won. I raised the money for a great cause.
I felt great during the race. I did the first half with some ease and thought I may come in under the time I anticipated. And then mile 17 happened. It felt like the muscles in my hip had wrapped around the head of my femur and squished in my hip joint. I know that is not what really happened, that is what it felt like. Every step I took I was in excruciating pain. This meant I had to walk a lot more than I wanted to. Thankfully I met Wendy along the way who stayed with me the remaining nine miles. She and I pushed each other to the end. We had the same goal, finish the marathon. That is just what we did.
It took me 6 hours, 10 minutes and 48 seconds. I finished. I won. I was emotional for so many reasons as I ran that last .2 miles to the finish line (let’s be honest, it was a slow jog/scooting of the feet across the pavement). You see, I did this for myself. No one else. I wanted to cross this off my list. I put it out there to social media for accountability (I have friends who tell their husbands or kids their goals and since I don't have either, I use social media) and had the love and encouragement from so many people. Just as I did on Kilimanjaro, I thought about all the people who sent me messages prior to the race. I even had a few friends text me throughout the race sending me positive words of encouragement. I signed up SIX weeks before to do this race. That really goes to show if you REALLY want to do something, you can. You stop talking about wanting to do it. You make a plan and you go for it. It is so rewarding to see yourself at the end and say, “YES!!! I did that!!!”
I have asked you this before and I am again. What is on your bucket list? What is something you could cross off before the end of 2019? Say it out loud, make a plan and GO FOR IT!!!