Life lessons from Running

If you've been following me on Instagram, you know that I recently ummm, how do I say this? CRUSHED, my latest half marathon.  (Yup - I'm owning it. I crushed it.)

I ran my 11th, no 12th (?) half marathon in my second best time ever. (Don't I even look as if I'm having a great time while running? Craziness.)

1 hour and 50 minutes. 

Rrrrriiiiigggghhhhhtttttt? I mean, who does that? Certainly not me. I tend to cross the finish line between 1:52-1:58. And at altitude? Pppppsssttttt. I'm still unclear as to how I pulled that feat of magic off. 

But this post isn't about how speedy I happened to be on that one day in Denver a couple weeks back.

No. This post is about something bigger. Something that you can relate to, whether you run or not.

If you're living + loving, surviving + thriving, this post is for you. 

A few days after the Denver Rock and Roll Half Marathon, I was on a plane to Tennessee for a dear friend's wedding. The airport and airplane time carved out some interesting reflections. 

1. Your body is in better shape than your mind thinks. 

This is a reflection I've shared before. It first came to me from a high school class advisor when we would run together, in between sport seasons to stay in shape. He would never tell me how far our run was because he knew I would protest and claim that I couldn't possibly run that far. (He was right. I always protested.)

On race day, my goal was to cross in 2 hours max. I've always run a half in at least that time and truth be told, I was SUPER DUPER nervous to run at altitude (Have you ever run in Colorado? It kicks your ass and takes your ego down a couple pegs.)

Sure, I was training like a champ - Track workouts on Tuesdays, long runs on Sundays, cross-training - you get the idea. 

But still....I was N E R V O U S. In my mind, I made it out to be this huge deal. First time running without a cheering squad. No family or friends to watch me cross.

How's a girl to run 13.1 without a cheer squad!? Even T-Swizzle has recruited a squad to join her!

My brain, for MONTHS, has been telling me "You are going to suck wind at the Denver Half. It will be super hard. You'll die. It's going to crush you."

Meanwhile my body has been consistently showing up for track workouts for months, notching mile upon mile under my belt, adding in hill workouts (as if running in Boulder isn't hard enough) and cross training like a champ. 

While I had been listening to my brain for months, luckily on race day my body took over and showed me what she is capable of. 

2. Sometimes it sucks in the beginning.

Y'all know I love to run. And I make it seem like I love it, which I do. 98% of the time. But sometimes I don't. Or sometimes, I have a shitty run during which my legs feel like a ton o' bricks and all I want to do is quit. 

But I keep on keeping on. Then usually around mile 2 or 3, things shift and my shitty run isn't so shitty after all.  And I glide back into my home, rocking a runner's high and so glad I went for a run. 

Persevere. Even when things suck, just keep on. For a little bit longer. It's worth it. 

3. What goes up, comes back down. Eventually.

This is insight straight from the race route. Whenever I'm slugging up a hill, putting one foot in front of another, I keep reminding myself, over and over again, that eventually, I get to go down a hill.  

It's rarely immediate satisfaction. Usually I need to run a bit longer to reap the benefit of the downhill, but it does happen. Eventually. Promise. 

4. commit. 

Don't half ass things. No, stop half ass-ing things 'cuz I know you are.

Show up.

Commit. 

When you half ass things, you're denying yourself the full joy of the experience. 

5. Get a plan. 

Be it for a half marathon.

What you're going to eat this week.

How to get from Point A to Point B - either literally because you're on a road trip or figuratively.

How to pay off your credit card debt.

How to earn $500 more a week.

How to set up your best friend on a blind date with your co-worker. 

Get a plan. Write it out. Put it on your bathroom mirror. Add your to-dos to your google calendar. Tell your +1.  Round up your girlfriends to join you. 

But for the love of God and all things holy (like your health, sanity and happiness), get a plan.

6. Eat good food.

This was the first half marathon that I actually had a nutrition plan for the entire week BEFORE the race, no just for the 48 hours before race day.  

Every meal and food choice was intentional and planned out. I didn't wing it. I knew that 7 days out from a race, after a solid few months of training, it would be my sleep and food that would make or break my race. 

If I hadn't eaten well in the week before the race, on race day or even during my run, I would have crashed and burned. And that would not have been pretty. 

Sure, you're not running a half marathon next week (or perhaps you are). You're still running your life and you owe it to your body to fuel up, with optimal nutrition so you don't bonk.

 

Hugs,

Johanna