My friend Wendy and I like to do crazy stuff! Last year we started a tradition of running a marathon around a track to celebrate the 4th of July. So 105 laps!! I like to say it’s to celebrate the freedom of choice and we are choosing to run around a track for 4+ hours.
I also like to tell people it’s celebrating that I have the mental and physical capacity to do such a challenge. Both are true, but of course there is more to it.
If you know me, you know I like to challenge my body and mind, I like to inspire others to go big, and I like the attention of doing crazy things. It helps my confidence, gives me something to talk about, and grows my businesses. After all, I can’t expect others to attempt hard things if I’m not willing to do hard things myself. And this year it didn’t hurt that I have my “A” race, the Boulder Ironman, in 5 weeks, which for me is a perfect time to run 26.2 miles.
Last year Wendy and I ran together on the CSU track in Fort Collins, CO. We didn’t know what to expect since it was our first year, so we walked, jogged, ran, and mixed it up. Sometimes together, sometimes not. We had a track team training for about 2 hours there as well, so that was a good distraction watching them do drills, sprints, intervals, etc. I also was living in the RV at the time, so I had my dog, Joey, with me and I needed to take him out a couple times, so he even did a couple laps with me. All in all, we finished under 5 hours and it never felt hard or long.
This year I was a little more nervous. Wendy moved to Georgia so we were doing our track marathon at the same time but in different states. I decided to run on the track close to home at Roosevelt High School in Johnstown, CO which is pretty quiet and lonely. I didn’t know how it would be doing it by myself, but was of course up for the challenge.
I left my house at 7:00am to go to the store to get Gatorade. I also had a cooler with me with Beachbody Performance Endurance, watermelon, and almond milk to mix with my Shakeology in case I got hungry. I was all set up at the track with sunscreen and silicon lube to prevent chaffing covering my body and ready to start at 7:30. I grabbed my phone to start my timer and lap counter and was off and running.
As soon as I started, I FaceTimed Wendy to see how she was doing. It’s 2 hours later in Georgia so she was already over halfway done. We chatted for about 45 minutes which got me through my first 5 miles.
I was taking my splits of each lap as a way of counting and keeping track of my time. I wasn’t running for time, but I like to see numbers. I’m a geek like that!!
I felt great! I was running at an easy pace and the only thing that felt a little sore was my lower back, but it was manageable.
After my 45 minute chat with Wendy, I switched directions and started my first set of intervals. 5x (400 easy, 400 moderate, 400 fast, 400 walk).This made the next 5 miles go by pretty quickly and even with the walking, I was still averaging a 10:00/mile pace which would put me at 4:22 total time for the marathon.
I then switched directions, grabbed a bottle of Beachbody Endurance, and walked 2 laps while I drank it.
I finished up the “half-marathon” with a comfortable jog putting me at 2:15 for the half. I then decided to make my goal to finish under 4:30. At this point, I was also getting a lot of sun so I put on my arm/back covers, drank a bottle of Gatorade, and headed out for the second half. My knees and hip joints were a little sore, as was my back, but nothing I haven’t dealt with before, so I jogged the next 2 miles at a consistent pace.
At mile 15 I switched directions again and started back with the same intervals I did before. I only got through 4 repeats when I decided to walk a couple laps, drink another bottle of Beachbody Endurance, and check my texts and facebook messages. Luckily I had convos going on with Wendy and a couple other super supportive friends that reminded me to keep going!! I also decided to look at my GPS which reminded me I was already at mile 20. With only a 10K to go!!! I was an hour away from my time goal and I knew I could do a 10K in an hour, even on tired legs. YAY!!
I switched directions and changed up my intervals to 2 easy run, 1 as fast as I can, 1 walk. Each lap was significantly slower than my early intervals, and my “fast” laps started creeping over the 2 minute mark, but I was watching my lap count go up and before I knew it, I had 7 laps to go…then 4…then 1!!! I decided to walk/skip my last lap to celebrate my victory. I took lots of pics and shared my success with my friends who support and love me.
I couldn’t believe it. I was done! 4:27 and I didn’t feel bad at all!! Of course my joints and muscles were tired, but I never once felt like I was struggling or miserable or any other feelings you would assume would go along with running around a track for 4 ½ hours.
So why did this feel easy? I think I have done enough “hard” things in my life at this point that something seemingly hard isn’t hard anymore. Some of my biggest challenges have been 7 marathons in 7 days in 7 states, double century ride (yes 200 miles in one day), Kona ironman, living in an RV for 2 ½ years, being married for 20 years, working full-time while taking 20 credits in college, working full time while building my first business, getting out of debt, working 4-5 jobs at a time in my 20s, giving up dairy, recovering from an eating disorder, making peace with money, watching 2 dogs die, and the hardest journey of all…loving myself.
Compared to all that, running 105 laps around a deserted track in the middle of the summer is easy!
I am grateful for every hard experience in my life. It has made me who I am and has helped me become the person I am proud to love today. Embrace your challenges, love the hard parts of your life, look your fears in the face and tell them you are afraid but that won’t stop you.
I know it’s cliché to say “go outside your comfort zone” but it’s such great advice. The more you push your boundaries, the bigger they become, and next thing you know, you are running a marathon like it’s a walk around the block. A very LONG walk around the block!
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