Ten whole miles. I can now run ten miles without completely collapsing onto my driveway when I am done.
Finding the time and arranging schedules to find care for my children has been a struggle in preparing for my first marathon. But, it has been worth it to diligently stick with my training schedule, to prepare myself to run my first marathon. Training for a marathon has improved my night's sleep (I have been an off-and-on insomniac for years), decreased my appetite for unhealthy foods, increased my daily energy and continues to help diminish my "two babies in a row extra poundage."
More than anything, the greatest improvement in myself while training for a marathon has been how it helped my emotional and mental health. When I first started training, I used negative feelings and thoughts to try to "motivate" myself--thinking somehow it would produce the positive result of helping me to finish my daily runs. While running I thought it would help to, in my mind, compare myself to the women I wanted to look like after completing the marathon. I would try to focus on the extra "jiggle jiggle" my extra poundage would make every time my foot hit the pavement.
During one of my late night runs where I usually would have started to use negative "encouragement" to get myself through the hard parts, I finally had it with myself. I broke out in a huge grin because I was happy and proud of myself and realized I had come so far in my training. I was focusing on the wrong goal and losing focus on my desire to become a marathoner. While training for a marathon, I have learned to focus on just that and put away any other hidden agendas. I let everything negative go and now only use positive methods of encouragement to get myself through my daily running goals. Telling myself, "I can do this, I am a marathoner! Look at how far I have come!" and allowing myself to be proud is what helps me.
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In the training book I am using as a guide to help me through this journey, The Non Runners Marathon Trainer by David Whitsett, Forrest Dolgener, Tanjala Kole, it talks about the importance of envisioning your goals. In your mind you create short movies, to watch mentally when you need encouragement, to get yourself through the hard part of your run. These "movies" you play are positive experiences that you have had during past runs and the positive experience you will have when you complete your marathon. Playing these "movies" and envisioning your future success actually helps you mentally and physically through hard marathon training times.
Running has been quite therapeutic for me because I have learned to love myself. I have also learned how unhealthy it is to compare myself to others. The positive thinking I have started while running is changing me into a more positive person overall. Deciding to train for a marathon has been the best thing I have done for myself. It is helping me to become a stronger woman for my girls to look up to and for me to be proud of.
For more from Vanessa, visit her at www.inevergrewup.net where she blogs ideas and reviews to keep your children educated, entertained and cared for.