Getting the Courage
After I graduated from college, I moved to California.
Opening the mailbox one evening after work, a little postcard peeked out. Train to End Stroke was holding informational meetings all across the valley.
I mustered every ounce of brave I had and attended a meeting one Saturday morning in January. I was planning to take it slow, to only sign up for a half marathon. Because that’s less crazy, right?
Lori, who ran the Los Angeles chapter, said to me. “Why? If you are going to do it, go for the full.”
And I did. At that meeting, I committed to raising $3700 for the American Stroke Association and running 26.2 miles in Kona, Hawaii in June.
Training started with our first group run in Balboa Park in Encino. It was supposed to be an easy run. 20 minutes out and 20 minutes back. I made it 10 minutes before I felt like I would puke. The majority of the group ran ahead and I walked behind.
But I finished it.
Every morning after that, I woke up at 5am so that I could run on the treadmill in the basement of our apartment building. I started off with 4 minutes of walking and 1 minute of running for 30 minutes and slowly increased each week.
After each running segment, my chest burned and I could barely catch my breath.
The Saturday group runs got longer, but I noticed my endurance improving. I could now run 20 minutes without puking. Then, 30 minutes without puking.
When we moved to Griffith Park to start hill training, I was up to a full 6 miles of running without having to take a walk break.
That’s when my feelings about my body started to change. I felt super strong.
After my first 20-miler, I remember coming home and collapsing on the futon in our office. I cried for a solid 30 minutes until the ibuprofen kicked in. My legs felt like they had been beaten by a hundred hammers.
But damn, I had just run 20 miles!!!
When I reached Kona in June, not more than 4 months after registering, I ran the first 8 miles without walking. The rest of the marathon was a mix of mostly running and walks. But I finished!
And yes, I hurt..
But I became a marathoner! I still treasure my medal from that.
I did it because of the work I put in while living in California.
Completing my first marathon marked a huge change in my life.
Did I lose all the weight I wanted? No.
But I didn’t really care anymore. And that was my huge accomplishment!
My body did something amazing! All it took was my consistency and willingness to do something a little (Ok, sometimes majorly) uncomfortable to make it happen.
And I always want to remember that.
I wear California around my neck to remind myself of my hard work and my ability to make things happen.
Which place do you always want to remember? Maybe a family reunion in Minnesota or a girl’s trip you took to Portland? Or possibly showing your love for your home state.
Wherever it is, here’s where you can get your own necklace!
I want to hear your stories! Comment below and tell me which state you would wear around your neck.
Now, what to wear with your new necklace? Click on to figure that out!