When my children were little, my friends and I would push our strollers around the Rose Bowl stadium. I’d see people jogging and think “I could never do that.” Then my mother-in-law came to visit us – she was well into her 60s and jogged the over three mile track. This made us think maybe we could do it too. We got baby jogger type strollers and slowly worked our way to making it around the track. I eventually made a tradition of doing a 10K every 4th of July.
Over the years I have switched up my exercise, but I know I look (and more importantly feel) better when I am consistent with some type of exercise. When I am not doing it regularly, I don’t want to; and when I am, I can’t wait to go. You just need to get started…
Setting your sites on a goal is what’s important – whether it’s just power walking around the block or a lofty goal, like a marathon (wow!). My friend, and Plank editor, Mandy Denaux is my guest blogger this week with her journey to the L.A. Marathon.
My road to the finish line
by Mandy Denaux
When I moved to L.A., I kept up by running the loop at the Rose Bowl regularly. I never thought about doing anymore than that, but when some friends at work decided to sign up for a half marathon, I thought “what the heck?” I liked the idea of training for something bigger with friends. I trained hard and ran a really good race … for me. I still wasn’t fast by any stretch of the imagination, but I ran consistently for 13.1 miles and finished in just over 2.5 hours. People asked, “What’s next?” Would I try a full marathon? “No way,” I remember telling them. Well, like they say, “Never say never!”
My commitment to myself from the start was that I’d run the first 13.1, then walk/run the second half. And I did it, though the last half was far more walk than run. The first eight miles were great — there were cheerleaders and drummers and kids with homemade signs. The next five weren’t bad — there were bands, kind people handing out fruit and firemen cooling us off with hoses. I started to feel the blisters during miles 13-18, but smiling faces in the crowd, runners dressed up like Elvis and people offering high fives made it better. The next seven miles were hell – there were unexpected hills, legs cramps and my blisters were on fire. Just when I wasn’t sure if I could go on, a sweet friend surprised me by running out of the crowd and joining me for the next mile. “You’ve got this,” she said as she left me near the 23 mile mark. I wasn’t so sure, but I limped on, whined a bit and asked myself for the 100th time why I ever decided to do this. Then I turned a corner and saw the ocean … and the finish line. I started to run .. and cry, from relief, as much as pride.
Running a marathon isn’t for everyone (now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure it’s not for me), but there is something about pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone – setting a goal that seems unattainable, making a plan and seeing it through to the end – that is invigorating. That’s really all it is – deciding what you want and going after it. The fact is we can all do more (and be more) than we ever thought we could. And I believe we are absolutely the architects of our own future. Whether your future holds a first 5K, hiking a mountain or learning to paddleboard, just get up right now and take the first step. Whatever it is, just do it. Because life begins at the end of your comfort zone.