Game On.

Last week I finished off my triathlon club’s Polar Bear Century Club Challenge. It felt great to reach my goal, but as always for me, there was a sense of let down after the initial excitement was over. My fear of losing all motivation was creeping in, and I immediately started thinking about what I should do next in order to keep myself accountable. (There was even some crazy banter about signing up for another Ironman…EEEeeeek!)

And then I remembered…I’m signed up for a marathon on May 4! I already have another goal to start working towards! But I have to admit, I was feeling a little cocky. I mean, I had just run 103.1 miles in January and I figured I was way ahead of schedule for marathon training. Oh well, I’d just back off a little and go ahead and start the training plan. So, I sent my sister a text this morning and asked her how many miles I was supposed to run this weekend. (I haven’t even looked up the training plan yet…). When she responded saying that we were supposed to run 10 miles yesterday, I kind of freaked out. I started having flashbacks to the first marathon I ever ran almost 12 years ago.

In order for you to fully understand the panic that I was feeling, I need to share with you the story of my first marathon. It was in Alaska through a wooded trail, and very flat. I ran it with my sister, Rondi and my best friend, Sara. Sounds pretty incredible, right? Well, not so much. We were very inexperienced runners. None of us owned a Garmin or any kind of watch that measured distance. For all of our training runs we had to drive out the course first so that we knew how far to go. My parents would sometimes drive along and give us water because we didn’t have any hydration gadgets. Overall, we were clueless.

So, at the beginning of the race, we were very nervous, but really excited. We were in Alaska to run a marathon! And we had a pretty big cheering crew. It was my parents, my sister’s boyfriend, another good friend (who was supposed to be running with us but had gotten injured during training) and her parents. Which was good, because there were less than 300 runners in the race.

We had done no research about the race course or what the race would be like. We just knew that it was supposed to be pretty and flat. Well, it turns out that the course consisted of one very short out and back, totaling 7 miles, and then one very long out and back. Both of these trails were through the woods, which allowed for NO spectators to get to the course. It also meant that the course was NOT marked with the mileage. That means that we had no idea how far we had gone or how much we had left.

So, when people started running back towards us as we neared the second turn around, I believed them when they told me we were “almost to the turn around.” I got so excited! But then, a lot of time passed and A LOT of people kept telling us that we were “almost there!” It just wasn’t true and I started to lose it. I was getting angry at everyone who told us that. I started swearing and saying mean things. I couldn’t handle it! Why weren’t we at the turn around?! Where was our cheering section?! I didn’t care about the pretty woods, I wanted someone to cheer for me and I wanted to turn around!

Eventually, we did make it to the turn around point, and our cheering section was there waiting for us. They explained that there was no way for them to get to the course, so they wouldn’t see us again until the finish. My sister, Rondi, ended up leaving us at that point to take off on her own. I don’t think she could handle my attitude anymore! Sara and I stuck together for most of the way, but then her knee was hurting and I really wanted to reach my goal of finishing in under 5 hours, so I took off on my own.

I did end up meeting my goal, but it was SO.HARD. After that, I didn’t sign up for another full marathon for 8 years. 8 YEARS! The pain and misery of that race stayed with me for a very long time. So much so that when I decided to do another marathon, I cried the day before, multiple times, because I was so scared. I was scared of feeling that way again. My one goal for that next marathon was to stay positive the whole time and to never feel like I wanted to quit. It ended up being a great race and I grinned from ear to ear the whole time. It was another out and back course, and I did not tell a single person that they were almost at the turn around. HA!

So, this morning when my sister told me that the training plan called for 10 miles, for a moment, I lost all confidence that I had in my current fitness level and reverted back to that girl who is terrified of marathons. But then, I hopped on my treadmill, knocked out those 10 miles with ease, and remembered how far I have come in the last 12 years. I got this.

Game on.

Sparkle.Pounce.

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