Oh hey! Did you know I ran a half marathon this weekend? Yeah, maybe you saw my Facebook blasts leading up to it and saw my live videos the day of. I was freaking excited about it. This is the first blog post of 3 about that race. 

 

Reader- "Oh, I was expecting a new blog post. Like you just said this was a blog post about your race. This isn't though. This is just a bunch of screenshots of your Facebook page."

Me- "Oops. Yep... Enjoy!!"

 

Facebook sucks for a lot of reasons: it eats up time, people write horribly mean and bully-like comments, and identity theft and CATFISHING are real. EEK! But Facebook can be pretty amazing too. It can help small businesses gain traction, you can spread a positive message pretty quickly like HONY, and it chronicles parts of our lives that we forgot about, hello Timehop and On This Day and simply looking at old photo albums. 

That happened for me. I went back on my Facebook page looking for a specific photo and started to see all my running photos from this year and last year. I can't believe how far I've come in such a short period of time. So without further ado, here is a blog post of all my Facebook posts. EEK!! 

 

On Sunday, I RAN my first half marathon and was very vocal about it! It was the third half marathon I completed, but it was the FIRST I actually ran and didn't even die. Not even a little bit. Seriously, look at me. I am still alive! That lady is not a dead lady. She is alive and well!!

So how the F did I even get here? Did I just start running and all of a sudden make it 13.1 miles (or 13.6 as my phone says.) No. There has been a lot of practice happening. Small consistent changes in my life. Let's go back a bit.

We had done a few fun obstacle course 5ks where they didn't even time you, but this race was the first time we completed a real 5k. We hosted a party in Wicker Park for Black Wednesday the night before, and we were not in the best shape when we woke up for this race on Turkey Day! I remember being so proud that I ran more than a mile without walking. For the majority of the race, I was pulling Paul along and telling him we couldn't walk. At the 3 mile sign, I knew we only had .1 miles left so I said bye to Paul and started sprinting. I misjudged how long .1 mile was, my legs gave out, and Paul zoomed right past me and WON. Haha! Oh well. It was such a fun day.

This race gave me the idea to do a 30 before 30 where I tried to workout and eat well for 30 days straight for my 30th birthday. However, when my grandfather passed away mid-month, it sent me into a huge binge with food, and I skipped workouts for the rest of December. BUT I still looked hot for my 30th golden birthday on December 30th.  So did Paul. <3

I did Whole30 in January and did not workout a single day. I wasn't eating enough carbs. Imagine that! It was super cold out, and I had 0 motivation to workout. In February, I decided I needed to get my shit together. Though I had an amazing time at my birthday, I was not at the place I wanted to be with my weight and my exercise habits. I wanted to accomplish something big, and I figured running and training in general would help me lose weight. I spent $400 and signed Paul and myself up for an 8k, a half marathon, and a full marathon. (Running is NOT A CHEAP HOBBY!! Also spent $130 on running shoes!) We figured we would lose a ton of weight training for the marathon. (Ah! It's so false too! Running is NOT the best way to lose weight!! Focus on eating nutrient-dense foods and lifting heavy- that will help you more... but that is for another blog post.) Anywho, thus started my obsession/running hobby. 

We "trained" by running all over the city, but our training sucked and we skipped a ton of runs. I was sick with really bad allergies, a never-ending cough, post nasal drip, and all that stuff and used that as an excuse to not run. We walked a ton and never really pushed ourselves. We didn't look forward to running. It was a chore! But when we did actually do it, it was fun to see parts of the city our car wouldn't take us. 

Don't worry! Trains don't run on this track anymore.&nbsp;

Don't worry! Trains don't run on this track anymore. 

I don't have any photos of the Shamrock Shuffle 8k, but we DID do it. I do have a nifty headband from it.

Then summer hit, and our training got worse! We had hot weather as an excuse to not run. We had late nights out as an excuse to not run. Since we had already signed up for this half marathon, paid that money, we HAD to do it. AHHAHA. I tricked us way back in February. We picked up our packets the day before this race and ate at the Mexican restaurant next door. I had a margarita, chips, and tacos. That's great for the day before a 13 mile run, right? NO! It was awful. We were both in pain while running. Imagine that- food has an effect on how our body feels and is able to function. It took me a long time to realize that and learn how to plan better. Whatever, we still completed the race. No quitting allowed. 

Do you see that? I was 672nd place out of 703 runners in my division. Don't think I earned an A on speed, but I did still show up!

Do you see that? I was 672nd place out of 703 runners in my division. Don't think I earned an A on speed, but I did still show up!

I ran the Rock n Roll half marathon by myself after this one. I don't have any photos, but I do have my results!

EEk! Do you see that? I was 998 out of 1280 runners in my division. Not fast! Still did it. And improved by 15 minutes!! That's what running is about!! That's what working out is about!!

EEk! Do you see that? I was 998 out of 1280 runners in my division. Not fast! Still did it. And improved by 15 minutes!! That's what running is about!! That's what working out is about!!

After that race, my dad asked me if I was ready for the full marathon. I laughed and said nope but was going to do it anyway. We had already paid our money! There was no backing out now! Sometimes spending money on something is the push you need to actually do it. You take things seriously. And sometimes doing something crappily is better than not doing it at all. 

So we continued "training" for our full marathon. Meaning we ran some runs and we skipped some runs. This run below was the longest we ever went in our training. We were supposed to get up to 20 miles, but we got hurt, we made excuses, and we took a cab from Soldier Field to Wicker Park in the middle of one of our runs. 

Then we did it. We completed a marathon. It was the worst thing in the world. My leg started hurting around mile 15 and Paul tied a bandana around it. I concentrated on the pain the bandana was causing instead of the pain in my leg and ran/walked another 11 miles. It was warm out. There were very few spectators. There were very few runners with us at the back of the pack. But we did it. It was the best thing in the world. Quitting was never an option. We were always going to complete the race, unless they carried us off on a stretcher. And we did it. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. And anytime I think something is hard, I think back to the time I made my body move for 6 hours straight. The time I concentrated for 6 hours and didn't go crazy or even start crying. The time I only ate sugar in various forms and drank water for 6 hours and didn't die. We did it. Besides sleeping, I don't think there is anything else I have ever done for 6 hours straight. 

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Oh hey. This was also around the time that I signed up to be a Beach Body coach. I was already on a path to improve my life, I figured I might as well make a career of helping others too. Remember when my arms were this tiny? 

And just like that, I stopped running. I was sick of running and was really excited about lifting. I hadn't lost weight running because I was still eating like crap. I wanted my stomach to slim down and for my arms to be more muscular... not toned but MUSCULAR. (Toned is a fake word, btw. When your body is toned, it means you have muscles!) So I started doing 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme. And I started helping other people with their goals. Being a leader helped me keep myself in check. I wasn't perfect. I still had trouble sticking to a workout routine, but I knew I needed it. I knew people were counting on me for accountability so I knew I had to give it my all.

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I could see my 31st birthday was on the horizon. I kept thinking about the previous year and how I failed my 30 for 30 challenge. Nevermind that age 30 was the most amazing year in my life, knowing that I failed my challenge, I needed something bigger for my 31st birthday. So I began running. 1 mile. Every day. For 31 days. 

I ran on the treadmill during my lunch break. I ran when it was below zero along Milwaukee Avenue. I ran when I didn't want to. I ran.

I ran on Christmas. I ran when it was snowing out. I ran on my birthday.

 

And then I woke up the next day and decided I need to keep running. 

And then other AMAZING people started to join me!! Friends from HS and college I hadn't talk to in a decade.

And we became rock star runners!

And then I left Wicker Park, lived with my parents for a day in Hoffman Estates, went for a run, then got in a car and drove 13 hours to Atlanta.

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And we got to go running outside in February! 

AND THEN I RAN A FCKING 7:51 MILE.

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And then over 100 people went for a mile run with me for my 100th mile!

 

And I QUIT running for a while. I needed a break. I lost 0lbs while running. My legs never gained muscle either. There was no rest time in between days. It was an amazing accomplishment, and I am so glad I did it, but it didn't help me get to other goals. So I needed a break. I did Hammer and Chisel for 2 months and got hella ripped. Well, ripped for me at least! I was pleased!

 

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But the time came where I needed to start running again. I had already signed up for the half marathon, and I needed to start working on that again. Running came so much easier this time around. I knocked out my single mile and even 2.8 miles with no problem. Guys, running 2.8 miles without walking was a huge accomplishment for me just in May. Just 2 months ago. And then I got hurt, and that sucked and hurt my ego a lot. But I rested and didn't push it. My health and my body are more important than trying to perfectly follow a training guide. But soon enough, I was back at it. And knocked out a 6 mile run.

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Can we talk about this for a second? I was so afraid I wouldn't be able to run a mile or two, and I knocked out 6. I know where it came from. A little help from my Beach Body friends. The cardio and strength workouts did amazing work for my body. So no, you aren't going to go from running 2 miles to 6 miles all of a sudden unless you put in the work. Miracles happen when you put in the work!

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Jan and Feb was PiYo. March and April was Hammer and Chisel. And May, June, and July was a mix of 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, and Challenge Du Jour. YOU CAN'T ONLY RUN TO LOSE WEIGHT. YOU CAN'T ONLY RUN TO GET BETTER AT RUNNER. Build dem muscles!! Cross train. Do shit.

And I read these and a few others I misplaced...

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BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO KEEP TRYING TO BE SKINNY. I don't want to always be trying to lose weight my whole life. I want to be happy. I want to work on me and work on being happy and successful and not sad and but happy and understanding and compassionate and helpful and meaningful and happy. I want to be happy. I don't want to be unhappy with myself or my body anymore. I want to be happy. I did so many things wrong in 2015. I was so fcking obsessed with food and trying to be perfect with food. It wasn't until I found coaching that I realized I needed to work on ME and everything else would fall into place.

And it has. 

I did this out of nowhere. OUT OF NOWHERE.

And then I did this because WHY THE FCK NOT?!

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And then WE did this because WHY THE FCK NOT?!

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I ran the whole thing. Christina ran the whole thing with me. Kate and Alex ran the whole thing. We were unstoppable. We did amazing. It was Christina's first half marathon. It was my first that I actually worked towards and felt good about. Kate and Alex were pros but we didn't let their successes hinder our accomplishments. We were all just so freaking proud of each other.

I beat my expected time!!

I beat my expected time!!

 

Completing something that is hard is FCKING AMAZING. Going out of your comfort zone, risking failure and then punching failure in the nose and rocking at it, yesssss. Guys, guess what? I didn't win the race. I didn't run 9 minute miles. I didn't finish looking glamorous. I wasn't even remotely dry when I finished. (It rained the last 1.5 miles of the race, and I HATE RUNNING IN THE RAIN.) But I did it. I won. I call this a win. 100%

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If you want something you've never had, you gotta do something you've never done. GROWTH MINDSET.

So that's how the F I got here. I was done with where I was at. I wanted more in life. I started with small consistent changes. I sought help. I started helping others. I made a goal. I stuck to it. I made sure my actions matched my goal. I risked failure. I told people about my goal. I messed up. I got hurt. I listened to my body. I pushed my body. I pushed my mind. And I ran a freaking half marathon. And I am gearing up for a full.

Now... YOU.

How are you going to get "there." Where is there for you? What are YOU going to accomplish? What do you want out of life? Besides having the perfect body? We all want that. But what else do you want? How do you want to feel about life? What big thing do you want to accomplish? 

Did I tell you I have a FREE running club?? Listen, you don't have to be good at running. You don't even have to like it. (I don't!) And you don't even have to run if you don't want. We can find something that works for YOU. Let's CHAT STEW. And in a few months, you will look back and think "How the F did I even get here?" <3

Check back this weekend for parts 2 and 3 of this race!! And to find out about my next project. I am so excited about it. I will actually need your help! So if you got any value from reading this, please help me spread that value to other peoples' lives!! More on this later.

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