My Newest Crazy Idea

My Newest Crazy Idea

I signed up to run a half-marathon. Every Sunday morning I run about three easy miles with my friend, Ariana. And somehow I thought that qualified me to start training for a 13.1-mile race that’s only three months away. What was I thinking?

I suppose I was thinking it would be fun. I haven’t challenged myself in this way since 2004. This will be a totally different type of challenge, though. The greater challenge in 2012 will be training for the half-marathon and staying balanced in the process.
Crossing the finish line in 2004. 
Ariana signed up in October, so this has been on my radar for a while. When she first asked me if I was interested, I thought, “No way. This is not the time of life for that.” Then I slowly sanded away at the edges of that statement until there was nothing left of it. This is definitely not the season for me to run a full marathon. Even before we had kids, I remember thinking the many hours of training were just not worth the anticlimax of crossing the finish line after 26.2 miles. But the Half? The Half was fun! That’s what I remember. And that’s what I want to focus on this time around. When it stops being fun, that’s when I pull back, snuggle my kids, go out for dinner, take a breather.
I am already insanely busy. It feels like my day is packed from the time my alarm goes off at 5:15 am until I finally fall exhausted into bed at night. So I couldn’t wrap my head around where I was going to fit in this training. But after talking it over with various runners—one who ran this race having only trained Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays—I decided I could do it. I met with our Young Adults Pastor last week and she helped me come up with a plan for maintaining my focus. Talking with her helped me figure out how to keep myself from going crazy (and taking my family along with me).
I recognize my compulsion to check Facebook every time I pass the computer. It’s ridiculous, really, but I know I’m not alone in this. Many others, especially stay-at-home-moms, struggle with this. I’ve written about it before. It’s lead me to take breaks from Facebook and kept me from investing in an iPhone so far. At this point, I feel I need to impose limits on myself because I really don’t know how many minutes I am wasting each time I choose to open Facebook. So . . . I am limiting myself to 15-30 minutes on Facebook and this only once a day. I can check all my notifications (if any), reply to messages, browse a little bit if I want to. But once I close it log off, that’s it for that day. No checking it mindlessly—and hence checking out of real life. This strategy really should be in place anyway, so that I can be more present with my kids throughout the day. Training for the Half has just forced me to recognize that I need to be very intentional with my time over the next three months. And beyond. I’m actually very excited about this—a byproduct of adding a tangible goal to my life.
Don’t we look amazingly fresh?
There are other ways my schedule may change. I may not be able to read as much. I may have to skip a few play dates. I’m willing to sacrifice those things for a short time—not permanently. I’m not willing to sacrifice writing and blogging, though. I’m going to keep building my blog and working on other writing projects.
So I’ve decided to post about training here on my blog. What better way to keep it from interfering with my writing? My readers can keep me accountable and enjoy this journey with me. I don’t want the training to be grueling or something I just have to “get through”. I’m not in this to win the race—I’d have to change my genetics to do that! I want to have “Joy in the Journey”—in every part of my life. That doesn’t mean it will be easy or I won’t have days when I want to give up. It just means I will redirect my focus to the joy.
So Mondays here on Joy in the Journey will be about running—a report on the past week and how I’m doing with including the kids in Mom’s little venture. Oh, and Dad’s, because Todd couldn’t just watch me train for and run the Half! I’m looking forward to this—apprehensive but certain of the physical, spiritual, and relational rewards.
This is after the full marathon. Please compare to the photo taken after the Half!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 16:29h, 30 January Reply

    So encouraging!!!!! Something I've "thought" of doing at some point in my life.

  • Alison
    Posted at 18:38h, 30 January Reply

    What's holding you back?

  • Peg
    Posted at 21:37h, 30 January Reply

    Those of us in birth work always compare preparing for labor with training for a marathon. I never identified with this analogy because I have never been a runner (nor imagine that I ever will) I'd love to hear a bit on that from you.

  • Alison
    Posted at 21:48h, 30 January Reply

    Hi Peg! I've heard that analogy, too. I'm not sure I completely identify with it. When I was contemplating using the Bradley method, a woman I worked with (who had three Bradley babies) said, "You ran a marathon? You can definitely do natural childbirth!" I would say knowing I could accomplish a physical feat like running a marathon definitely helped in my state of mind, but the training is a little different. You can't actually birth a baby in preparation, but you can run the whole distance of the race if you want to. Actually, this is a great post idea. Thank you!

  • Brian
    Posted at 11:02h, 31 January Reply

    Killing the Facebook time is so key – I occasionally go on a total social media blackout and love it every time.

  • Alison
    Posted at 15:05h, 31 January Reply

    Yes, if only I could do a social media blackout while simultaneously building my online following. Thanks for reading and commenting, Brian!

  • Angelina
    Posted at 09:59h, 02 February Reply

    I so wish I loved running, but rather than experiencing the mind clearing meditative runners high I've heard about, every step is torture to me. Ariana talked me into a half marathon years ago and I ended up in physical therapy! LOL. Ariana and I definitely don't share the running gene. Good luck! Can't wait to hear about the journey!

  • Alison
    Posted at 07:31h, 03 February Reply

    Ariana never told me that story! Was she trying to generate more business for herself? Kidding! Everybody's different. I do best with a good mix of workouts and I have to keep weight training in the mix. I can't JUST run. And for a few years I didn't run at all. Whatever works for you. Right now, I'm enjoying it. Thanks for the comment, Angelina!

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