Monthly Archives: December 2013

My 13.1 Mile Journey – Part 2

In my last post, I shared with you WHY I decided to run my first half marathon.  So I thought for this post I would share with you HOW I did it.

I started writing, making lists of the cool products I found and plans I followed, but does all that really matter?  What worked for me, worked for me, but it may not work for you.

For example, before I started to seriously run, I decided the smartest thing I could to prevent injury was to loose some weight.  So, I found The Fast Metabolism Diet, by Haylie Pomroy.  Her plan really resonated with me, but it requires a lot of cooking.  I love to cook, so that’s not a problem for me.  But what if cooking isn’t your thing?  You’re gonna say, “Thanks, for nothing, Karen.”

So instead of me sharing my favorite flavor of Gu or what running plan I decided to follow*, I want to share with you the most important thing I did to get me to the finish line.  I formulated a team.  My team consisted of family and friends that cheered me on every step of the way.

My number one teammate, who happens to be my soul mate, was my husband Bill.  We ran the race together and practically every training run.  I would have bailed early in the process if it weren’t for him.  Thanks, Honey.

My Mom, who lives with me and Bill, enthusiastically did the diet with us and in the process lost over 30 pounds.  My hairstylist, John, who does crazy endurance racing for fun, shared with me all the tips and tricks he could each month while in his chair.  I frequently left the salon with a list of things to research, along with my kick-ass hairdo.  Though these two didn’t run a step with me, they were an integral part of the team and I am grateful for their support.

Bill’s cousins, Liz and Sarah did run the race with us.  It was their first half marathon too and it was so cool to share the whole process with them.  We shared inspirational running quotes on Facebook throughout our training and when my monkey mind was driving me crazy before the race, these two wise 20 somethings reminded me that I put in the work, so I just needed to trust the process.

This post is starting to feel like an Oscars speech, and there are so many more people I would love to thank.  But since the music is playing, I just want to summarize with this, you can achieve anything with the support of a great team and by doing the work.  So whatever your vision is, ask for help, surround yourself with great people and get at it.

*Note:  If you are thinking of running a half marathon and want specifics, just pop me a note below.  I would love to be on your team.  In the meantime, try the Vanilla Bean Gu Energy Gel.  Tastes just like roasted marshmallows.

My 13.1 Mile Journey – Part One

It’s been a month since I ran my first half marathon and I as I reflect on this achievement, I am in awe of how much I learned about myself by training for this race.  But why a half marathon in the first place?

Well, when I first decided to tackle a half marathon, I focused on my body.  I wanted to wear that cute dress that matches my cool boots again.  I wanted to walk in my closet, pick an outfit and not worry about if the pants would fit or if I’d have back fat showing.  I can be vain.  I admit it.  I wanted to look better.  But being a student of self-empowerment and a Certified Success Coach, I knew that wanting to fit into a dress was not going to get my butt out of the house for a run.  There was a deeper reason, a feeling that my soul wanted to connect with that had nothing to do with a dress or what I portray outward.  So to find it, that meant it was time to go inward.

No.  I didn’t meditate for hours on a rock or go on a silent retreat (though I would love to try that someday).  My version of going inward involves a process of self-assessment.  What is self-assessment?  It’s simple really and something I stole from my full-time job as an environmental consultant.  It’s a process of asking myself a series of questions and honestly answering them.  Here’s some I asked myself:

  • When was the last time I wore that dress?
  • How did I feel when I wore that dress?
  • Why did a dress give me confidence?

I keep asking questions until I get to the feelings.  The feelings are what I call the Soul Goals.  Sometimes the process is lengthy; sometimes I get to the core right away.  As I sat and thought about why I REALLY wanted to do this half marathon, I realized that I wanted to feel strong and healthy again.  When I feel that way, I could give a shit if I don’t look like what society has deemed as hot.  I feel hot and I own it.  So feeling strong and healthy those were my Soul Goals.

But I also realized there was a part of me that was really scared.  The farthest I had ever run was a 5K and that was when I was strong, healthy and a few years younger.  “Can my overweight 45 year old body handle this,” I thought.  My brain screamed back, “No!” Neuroscientists have learned that that part of the brain that does the screaming is called the amygdala.  It’s the part of the brain that tries to protect us by generating fear.  But what was missing from my Soul Goal that would calm my amygdala?  I had to ask myself where this fear was coming from.  I realized I was afraid of getting hurt.  I had visions of a popped achilles and torn ACL.  How could I prevent myself from getting injured?  Well, with a little googling, I soon realized there were lots of things I could do.  So, I promised myself that I would be smart about my training.  I would commit to doing everything possible to achieve my half marathon injury free.

So my self-assessment process resulted in this Soul Goal:

I am healthy, strong and injury free.

Now you know WHY I decided to do the half marathon, in my next post I’ll tell you HOW I made it across the finish line.