I was so ecstatic when Kelly Schumann from Happy Texans agreed to guest post on my blog. I’ve been reading Kelly’s blog since I started blogging, 4 months ago. She never ceases to amaze me with her personal goals, sense of humour, and outlook on life. I always look forward to looking at my dashboard on Blogger and seeing a new post from Kelly. Kelly is an avid marathon runner, and follows a low carb lifestyle. Checkout her blog for her musings on life and “good eats”!
It’s 5:30am. I’m awake with running gear on. I give my husband, Chuck, a kiss goodbye and head out the door. The kids are still snuggled in their warm beds while I’m outside running in the cold darkness. As I run I send texts to Chuck: “2 miles done.” “Just passed mile 4.” At mile 5 I send, “Please go pick up breakfast and two bags of ice.” I see him as he drives past and he tells me how proud he is of me. I only have two more miles to go for this training run.
I meet Chuck at home, immediately draw a cold bath and start to dump in bags of ice into the water. I’m taking an ice bath for 30 minutes. As I shiver in the water my legs become numb. Why in the world would I do this? Because it’s supposed to make recovery quicker from long runs. And why run so many miles in the first place? Well, that’s the real story, isn’t it?
I weighed in at 250 pounds just a few years ago. It hurt to live let alone walk or run. I finally woke up and decided to do something about it. My first goal was to run/walk a 5K (3.1 miles). I lost 25 pounds and did it! I thought that was the furthest I’d ever travel on my on two feet. We have cars if we need to go further, right?!
A 5K was a struggle for me but it felt so good to accomplish something that felt impossible just a few months before that I wanted to see what else I could do. Eventually I set my sights on running a half marathon (13.1 miles).
I joined a running club to keep me accountable and actually paid to endure torturous runs week after week. I’d get up before the sun came up each Saturday and wonder each and every time why in the world I decided to do this! Seriously, who pays to get up early in the morning only to get blisters on your feet, black toenails, muscle cramps, and pure exhaustion?!
As time progressed I felt better and better. Quitting was never an option. I had to prove to myself that I could accomplish this. “The weight of failure is greater than any burden you now carry.” I was not strong enough to carry the weight of failing at this.
After 6 months of training, I was ready for my first half marathon. I had been running 4 days per week. I ran across bridges to train for hills. I ran in the rain and freezing temperatures. I had done all I could do to prepare for this moment. At that point, the furthest I had run was 10 miles. I was about to tackle 13.1 miles.
December 11th, 2011, the whole family drove me to the start line. It was incredibly cold and windy and ridiculously early in the morning but they were there to support me. I huddled with the huge crowd of runners waiting for the starting gun to go off. I was ready.
The adrenaline of the race carried me through the first few miles. As I came around one corner I heard a cowbell being rung and saw Chuck, Rachel and Charlie on the side cheering for me! I ran to my kids and wrapped my arms around them. It was just the boost I needed to keep pressing forward. Chuck gave me a hug and I was on my way again.
At mile 10 it started to get tough but I couldn’t stop now. My feet were hurting. I was tired. Hungry. Legs were aching. I even hallucinated a little. Failure was not an option. If I had to drag myself across that finish line I’d do it! Even other runners were encouraging me. One lady came outside of her house to the road, wrapped in a blanket and holding a cup of coffee in her gloved hands, to cheer for us runners. I don’t know why she picked me out (maybe I looked exhausted) but she came up to me and gave me a big hug and said, “You can do this! I’m so proud of you!”
The best part: I just saw that elusive mile 13 marker. A tenth of a mile left and I’m finished. At that moment I see my kids waiting on the sidewalk waiting for me. Rachel runs up to me and gives me a hug and says, “Mom! You’re about to finish a half marathon!” Charlie runs up and hugs me too. I almost cried, of course. My kids were proud of me for accomplishing something I never thought I’d be able to do. Me? Run a half marathon? No way! And yet here I was!! Crossing the finish line.
It’s hard to explain the feeling unless you have also accomplished something you felt was impossible. It doesn’t have to be a half marathon. We all have dreams and goals. And each one of those takes steps to complete them. The message here is that you can do anything you want to do if you want it bad enough. Just take the steps to do it and don’t give up. Yes, it may be difficult but the most valuable things are usually the hardest to obtain. You can do it. If I can do it, anybody can! I’ve even seen amputees and people in wheelchairs complete these races. My excuses were invalid.
Do you have goals you want to reach? You can do it! Even if you don’t succeed at first, don’t give up. As long as you are trying, you are not failing. Go for it!
“If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”
Follow Kelly’s adventures on her blog, Happy Texans.