26.2 Miles of Gratitude


The last two months of training have been difficult- physically and mentally.  The miles have taken their toll on me and I drudged through my training runs. I felt as if I had lost my love for running- it had become a chore.  One set of thoughts that would lift my spirits was thinking of all the wonderful people that had got me to this point, the races I had already run, and things I loved about running.

I have spent this past week re-reading race reports, reliving posts I had written years ago, about empowering women through running, motivating others into believing in themselves, and pep talks I had given to running buddies.

I have so much to be thankful for…..I am so grateful.

I am grateful my body is able to carry it forward 26.2 miles (I am writing this before the marathon but I am hoping and praying all goes well.  I am totally trusting my training plan at this point.).  I have thought about this post for a very long time…..like, months of mulling it over.

Each mile of this marathon means something to me.  I bring to you my 26.2 miles of gratitude.

  1. The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  Without the positive peer pressure of the lovely ladies who write for this site, who challenged me to starting and completing Couch to 5K back in the Fall of 2009, I would never had started running.  Thanks ladies!!!!
  2. My husband.  His support and encouragement has been invaluable this training season. He is the FIRST runner I knew- he was a runner when I met him in 1994 and he proposed to me after running his first marathon (he carried my engagement ring in his shorts pocket!!!).  He is running the same marathon race I am which means we have been training at the same time. This has required massive amounts of planning on our part as we have three kids and work and activities and life.  We only had ONE argument about running in the last six months- I consider that a huge success.  We have backed each other up to make sure we BOTH got in ALL of our runs, with no guilt.
  3. My children.  Sophie,
  4. Sam,
  5. and Anthony.  They got roped into our training schedule whether they liked it our not.  We purposed-ly scheduled activities (or lack thereof) around our running schedules.  They know all kinds of things about running, including the distances of a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon.  My daughter wants to do Girls on the Run and my middle child wants to run a 5k with *daddy*.  I love them so much.
  6. My mother-in-law Marisa.  It takes a village of support when there are two of us training for a marathon at the same time.  She would watch the kids if Anthony and I both happened to be gone at the same time although we tried to keep that to a minimum. Although my favorite help is when she would have breakfast waiting for me after a long run- too much awesome. She helped us out so much- thank you Marisa!!!!
  7. Team Shrinking Jeans.  My first big race was the San Diego Rock n Roll Half Marathon in June 2010 with Team Shrinking Jeans. We did this as part of Team in Training, raising over $42,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  We trained on our own, in our respective home cities, meeting for the first time during the race weekend. What an experience that was and what an awesome group of women.  I will never forget this race nor this team!
  8. Brooks running shoes. Need I say more?
  9. Sparkle Skirts.
  10. Kirsten,
  11. Christie O,
  12. Bari,
  13. and Brooke.  You guys lifted me up, you inspired me, you supported me, you answered my 8 million questions about running.  You guys made me believe I was/am a runner.  I cannot thank you enough.
  14. Zooma. I am not sure how I heard about the Zooma Women’s Race Series but I found them somehow.  I was so nervous interviewing with Brae (the founder) for an ambassador position because I was so passionate about running, empowering women and celebrating life.  I love what Zooma stands for and 4 years later, I have moved from being an ambassador to helping them with race expos and other stuff.
  15. Tricia
  16. and Erika.  I got to know Tricia and Erika through Zooma. They, too, are runners I look up to. They inspired me with their mileages, faster paces, and positive outlook on life and family.  I just wanted to be around them because they are such good people.
  17. Steph.  Tricia led me to Steph, who I think is a bad ass runner all around.  I just told her the other day that I want to run like her when I grow up.
  18. Music and podcasts. Specifically the Serial podcast.  Listening to the Serial podcast got me through some very long runs all by myself.  A huge thank-you to Mary, Tracey and Leigh Ann for pointing me this way!
  19. Austin Fit. This was my first experience with running with a training group and I loved it!  My work schedule didn’t always allow me to run with the group for my long runs but when it did, it was such a nice change of pace. My pace leader, who also shares my name, helped me through my most difficult run- a 15 miler- that pretty much hurt from mile 9 on.  I wanted to quit every step of the last 6 miles, I fell behind the group, and she would not let me run alone. She chatted my ear off those last 6 miles and encouraged me every step of the way. She is a true running angel.
  20. Facebook.  It seems so silly to write that but yes, Facebook. I am sure some FB friends got tired of my running posts but I am sure the ladies from Run with the Sisterhood did not- ha!  You guys have been the best.  Seriously.
  21. Laura (BRF….that stands for Best Running Friend).  I met Laura through Zooma a few years back and we have trained for other races here and there.  She was training for this race as well but got sidelined with an injury.  Regardless, we have done many running miles together.  She has listened to me time and time again about my kids and whatever parenting woes I am going through.  She gives me such practical, logical advice!  She shared her life and grown up kids with me.  When you are running 18 miles for a *training* run, you have a lot of time to talk and share- ha!!!
  22. Nora (BRF).  Ahhhh, Nora.  Zooma paired me up to mentor Nora as she trained for her first half marathon a few years back.  It was a match made in heaven!  She has three kids as well- same gender order and almost the same ages as mine. She works and is like-minded, meaning we share similar thoughts and likes and dislikes.  We have the BEST talks during our runs together.  Some of our runs have been true therapy- I would venture that is true for both of us.  We have shed tears for each other and whatever happens to be ailing us.  We have also laughed ourselves silly, too.  Nora is running miles 21-24 with me because I am thinking I might need a pick me up around that time and there is noone else I would rather it be.   I love Nora with my whole heart and consider her a Sole Sister in every sense of the word.  She is my Solemate : ).
  23. My body
  24. My mind
  25. My spirit
  26. ME

Tomorrow morning, I will embark on 26.2 miles for the first time. I am so grateful and blessed to have made it this far. I never thought I would be running a marathon and I may or may not do another one.  But today, I am thankful, so very thankful.

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I’m a runner, on my way to becoming a marathoner. I am 42 years old and have found a peaceful acceptance of my body. Through running, I have discovered who I am, besides a mom to three kids and a wife to one. I truly enjoy sharing my love of fitness with others while empowering and motivating women to conquer their fear of the unknown. In my spare time, I manage the Run with the Sisterhood Facebook page, work here and there for Zooma Women’s Race Series, and work part-time at our local YMCA.