Friday, January 17, 2014

Discovering my Strengths: Marathon Ready

It's finally here. Marathon weekend. My runs this week felt phenomenal. It took everything I had NOT to do a long run Wednesday- Don't over train! Screams every experienced marathoner. I have a really bad habit of thinking just one more run is going to get me to that magical place where the race will be easy- ha.ha. Races are never easy, and that's what makes them addictive. Proving to yourself that you can is the best feeling. The best drug. A natural high. I can not get enough!

The weather forecast looks optimal, more than optimal. Eerily perfect in that the stars are aligning kind of way.

I felt ridiculously strong in my work outs this week. I can tell my cardiovascular endurance has kicked into high gear. The taper weeks have been great for healing and resting those injuries that have plagued me throughout the fall. My plan going into the marathon is to trust the training and respect the distance. 

Obviously, I have to have a pace plan. During my 20 mile run, I turned off my pace and just went. I know I could have done a better job with overall time had I paced that out correctly. My biggest fear, is that I will become caught up with the half runner's pace and make the second half of my race miserable. I can not allow that to happen.

I am going to start slow. I am going to pace this bad boy out. My plan thus far, is to meet up with a pace group at the start line, as I  have issues pacing myself. When a great song gets all up in my ear telling me what a bad ass sexy chick I am, I always kick my pace up too high. Especially in those early miles. I'm not too proud to admit where I struggle and I need help with pacing. I'm hopeful running with an experienced group will help me out.

I can't wait to have this bad boy swinging from my neck. 

All week long I've been pinching myself. Who am I? How did I get here? I wish I could go back and smack some sense into the old me. The girl who would drink red wine, eat buttered popcorn, and peanut butter M&Ms while crying into too tight fat day jeans about how unfair my lot in life was. If I'm being completely honest, I forget how I used to live my life. Occasionally, I'll see an old picture, or someone close to me will tell an old story, and I feel embarrassed about the way I was.

If someone had told me two years ago, that I'd be two days away from the start line of my first marathon, I would have laughed in their face. Me? Run? Good one! 

When I started training for my first 10k in the fall of 2012, I came off the road after my first 4 mile run, and my first thought was How the hell will I EVER run 6.2 miles??? The distance seemed insurmountable...until I'd done it.

This time last year, I wasn't completely confident I'd be able to run a half marathon. Running the Marathon, the MARATHON, phew that was something the really intense people did. Those people lived and breathed fitness. Those people had been running their entire lives. 

One of the most incredible things I've discovered on my journey to cover the distance, is to never underestimate what you are truly capable of. Before I started running, I was always selling myself short. I was always giving myself reasons why I couldn't do things. I found myself easily influenced by other people, because I didn't have confidence in what I believed in or what I wanted. I found it was easier to swim with the fish than grow legs and leap for the shore. 

Sometimes I wish I didn't struggle with my weight. Sometimes I feel envious of others who seem as if they don't. It doesn't seem fair. Sometimes I'm jealous when things come easily to others, but are difficult for me. Why me? Why must I struggle? The pity party trap is an easy out.

If I had never had a significant amount of weight to lose, I would have never even come close to discovering how powerful, tenacious, and driven I truly am. When I decide I want something, I am going to get it. When someone tries to tell me I can't do something, it ignites a fire to prove them wrong. I am so grateful for my struggle, without the struggle, where would I be? WHO would I be?

I never would have discovered a passion for running. Now I feel as if I was born to be a runner. There's a reason why runners are tough people. Running is hard work, but the rewards in running transcend into all aspects of life. 

Struggles show us our strengths. Had I not struggled attaining each new distance, I wouldn't feel grateful at the end of each run. Had I not known what it was like to fail, victory wouldn't be nearly as sweet. A struggle is good for a person. My struggles have made me incredibly strong. For that I will always be grateful for my journey and my story. 

No matter what happens out there during those 26.2 miles on Sunday, I am proud. I don't care what my finish time is. I had the courage to arrive at the start of a marathon. If that doesn't speak volumes about me, then I don't know what does. 26 miles in my 26th year of life, let's do this thing!

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  1. You totally rock!!! Good luck to you this weekend, you are going to own that race! :)

  2. I am feeling your energy, I feel it through the screen lil mama!!! I am so so so ready for you to do this- I know you are too! What a good friend once told me: "Enjoy every mile- You will only have ONE first marathon." Take it all in sweet girl and enjoy the ride!

  3. You are going to blow this thing out of the water, so so so excited for you!

  4. GOOD LUCK this weekend! I know you will do so well - I've enjoyed following your journey to this race and can't wait to hear about it next week!

  5. Someone said this on another blog-sorry can't remember which & it stuck with me through my 1st 26.2.

    Run the first third with your head: Don’t get so amped up that you race out of the gate or forget to fuel. Stay focused & pace yourself.

    Run the second third with your legs. You worked hard in training and now you are in those middle miles where you find your groove and use those legs.

    Run the final third with your heart. At this point your body might start feeling like it’s not up to the challenge. That’s where you tap into your heart and your emotions. Go for it. Dig deep!

    Good Luck!

  6. EEEEECK!!!! I am so excited for you. a MARATHON. Yes, I am one of those people who truly think Marathon runners are AMAZING. So go out there and be amazing. Even if you don't get the time you want, just remember, YOU RAN A FREAKING MARATHON!!! It is amazing how different that feels when the Half isn't in front of it. Go get em girlie!

  7. I love your positive attitude and energy - you are going to be amazing on Sunday!!

  8. Good luck, and I can't wait to hear all about it!

  9. You're amazing Gisele! I can't wait to hear all about this! You've got the eye of the Tiger and Legs like Gisele!!!!!!! rooting you on from Ohio :)

  10. Good luck this weekend! You're my hero :)

  11. Good luck! I'll be thinking of you! It totally helped me to write some motivational things on my hands (along with the water stops) :) Can't wait to hear how you rocked it!

  12. I have second-degree nerves and excitement for you-- you're gonna kill this marathon! Good luck!!

  13. You're going to do great!! Good luck and can't wait to hear all about it!!

  14. How are going to kill it!!!!!

  15. Crying but they are tears of excitement... 1. because i just love and am so excited for you and 2. because i am going through now what you were going through a little over a year ago getting ready to dive head first into half marathon training. I see a full marathon in my future. You are what makes me realize it IS possible! Nothing is impossible!

  16. Oh girl I am beyond excited for you! I know that you will kill this as you have killed every race you've done! Remember mile 18 is the hardest.
    Hydrate, fuel, pace, but most importantly enjoy the run and enjoy that moment. Good luck sweet girl!