Greetings ladies and gentlemen! We have arrived to Act 2. Act 2 of my blog series on the Rock n Roll Half Marathon. If you haven't read Act 1, go here: Act 1.
Alright! On with Act 2! All about my friend Christina. Here's a little background on this lady: This was Christina's first half marathon. She is a teacher, and school was in session for most of her training! We met at our school in CPS back in 2012 when we were both new to the school. Christina used to teach preschool but now teaches first grade. She works at an AUSL school which is not easy and is very time-consuming, especially when you are a killer mentor teacher like Ms. Christina! So you got that picture? Not a lot of downtime, but she made this happen! She put herself first for a few hours a day. Fill your cup first and then fill others'.
She has an adorable boyfriend named Alex who ran the race with us!
Christina also has an adorable pup named Jax who did not run the race with us. Jax may or may not be named after me.
Tell me about yourself! Who are you?
I’m a teacher. I think that is a huge part of my life because it is what I spend most of time thinking about and doing. But I am also a runner NOW thanks to Jaclyn. I think I’ve always enjoyed running, but I’ve never been as consistent with it as I’ve been while I trained for this half. I think it’s been really fun getting to know my body and how much it actually enjoys running. That’s a hard question. Why is that so hard?
Because it is something you probably never think about because why would you unless someone asked you! You’re a teacher. You care about other people, but running this race was something you did for yourself!
What kinds of challenges did you have to overcome to train?
Fitting it in my schedule and thinking about how to do a long run over the weekend when I had a bachelorette party or a wedding or we were going to the lake house. There have been a couple strategies that I used: 1. I think that having a partner to run with really helped, like being able to train with Alex (the BF.) 2. Planning ahead. We would say, “Ok, on Sunday morning, we are going to wake up and do our long run no matter what.” 3. Use a training guide. During the week when you’re working and on your feet all day teaching, you’re mentally exhausted. You’re physically exhausted, but because I used that training system, I knew that I would have to run after work. I would wake up and tell myself all day that I was going to run and I’d go through the steps in my head. When I got home, I would say, “Ok, I’m going to do this run first, then I can shower and sit on the couch and watch TV.” 4. And texting you saying “I don’t want to run” and hearing that you already did your run and it was 90 degrees in Atlanta but not 90 in Chicago and thinking
“If she can do it, I can do it.”
Yes!! Not comparing ourselves to people but just thinking “if she can do it, I can do it!” That’s gotten me through a lot of things lately.
How did you feel about the race? You did awesome!
I know that we are amateurs about this. I feel proud of myself, actually, really immensely proud, and I know that I shouldn’t discredit how proud I feel, but I know there are runners that can run a full marathon in the time it took me to run a half, but I shouldn’t discredit how proud I feel because 2 hours and 33 minutes is good. And how did I have the energy to run as fast as I did on that last mile? I have no clue. I feel like I want to stand on top of a mountain and literally scream, “I just ran a half marathon” so that everyone knows and can say “GREAT JOB!” I feel on top of the world.
It’s easy to compare yourself s to people who have been training for years or do this for a career. You did your first run and you were faster than me! Think about a year from now. You could improve 30 minutes! But girl, I’m with you. It’s your ego that tells you that you could have done better, but it’s ok to be a beginner, and you came out of nowhere and did awesome. You rocked it! You committed your body and your mind for 2 hours and 30 minutes. Can you think of doing anything else straight for 2 hours and 30 minutes besides sleep? There’s nothing else that we do!
And additionally committing my body to 12 weeks of training. Sticking with it for 12 weeks straight. I can’t believe I did that.
Yes! That was amazing. What kinds of other things did you learn from running?
One of the biggest reasons why I kept going with my training even though there were a couple times that I really did want to give up was because
I wanted to prove to myself that I could talk myself through anything, that I could empower myself.
It’s such a great lesson for anyone because it carries over to any part of your life. When you’re running and you’re saying “I’m tired. My knees hurt. My legs hurt. I’m tired. I want to stop”- if that’s all you’re thinking about, that’s what you’re going to eventually do. Once I learned that all I have to do is take those thoughts of “I’m tired” and follow it up with “But you can do this. You’re fine. There’s water coming up soon. You’re fine. You got this.” It helped my body keep going because my mind felt confident. I think that is the most powerful thing I learned by far.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about running her first race but hasn’t signed up for one?
DO IT! It was so much fun. I don’t think I have ever felt happier. Before, during, and after: I’ve never felt so happy. It’s also so cool to see how many connections you can make just from choosing to run. Friends and family that I haven’t talked to in a while were so supportive of my training. If you tell people about your run, you end up making connections with new people that are also runners or want to be runners. You make new friends and get support from old friends just from this decision to runs How good does that feel?! Sure, people reach out to you on your birthday and Christmas, but for this, it was so personal! People I haven’t talked to in a while reached out to me to say good luck or congratulations and that’s cool, that makes you feel good to have other people feel happy for you and what you did.
Ok and you know what else was cool too: WE BECAME FRIENDS AGAIN. We haven’t talked in so long. It was so fun texting with you and having that common hobby to talk about that other people didn’t get.
Yes, exactly. And you were a huge motivator for me. Every time I kept thinking that I was silently allowing you to hold me accountable. It wasn’t like I was checking in with you every time I did a run, but I knew that I never wanted to disappoint you. I wanted to do something with you so I was holding myself accountable because I knew if I gave up, you’d be bummed. You were so excited when I signed up, so I said “Now I have to do this!” And I was thinking “Oh man, if I don’t train, then I won’t be able to run it, and if I don’t run it, then Jac will be sad, and I don’t want Jac to be sad, so I better run this!”
Ahh. That’s so funny because on the converse, when you said you were going to run the whole thing, I was so worried because I was thinking in my head, “There’s no way I am going to be able to run it. There is no way I am going to be able to run the whole thing.” And it was something that was really bothering me and I would talk to people and tell them “Christina is just starting to run and she going to run the whole thing, but I won’t be able to do it. My ego is letting that worry me and consume me. I just need to focus on what I can do.” I let go of that and told myself if I need to walk, I will walk. But then when I was doing my runs, I kept in my head “Only walk if you need to walk, but if you can keep running, then keep running.” And we ran the whole thing!! I never would have had it in my head that I could run had you not said you were going to run the whole thing. So thank you!
This is my last question, and I saw it on your Instagram kind of... But what are you doing next?! You said this is not your last race! What are you doing next?
I don’t know! What are you doing next? Let’s do it together! It was so much fun running along side you. Let’s do it again!
It was so fun! Both of us were like “if you want to go ahead, just go” but it was nice having someone to run with.
I have no idea what I will do next. Everyone is telling me to do the Chicago full marathon, but I just don’t know if I want to put my body through 26 miles. But regardless, the feeling you get from doing a race is unlike anything else, so 5k, 8k, maybe another half.
Now that I have it in my head that I can do this, now I am going to do it faster!
I am leaving this as an assignment for you to find a race that you will do!
I will let you know by the end of next week what my next race is.
pst... this is one option! Chicago Half Marathon
Or take a break from running and do this!! It's FREE! Beach Body on Demand
Ahhhh. Christina. Thank YOU so much for running with me. I wouldn't have pushed myself during my training if it wasn't for you. I talked about you a lot on my Facebook!! I wouldn't have ran the whole thing if it wasn't for you. The thought did not occur to me until you said you were going to do it. "If she can do it, I can do it." You helped me keep going. Thank you. I am so excited to see what your next challenge is. <3
Guys, this brings me to my next project! Yes, I make up these crazy projects to challenge myself to do ridiculous things. One life to live! I had a goal from when I was turning 30 to exercise 30 days in a row. I failed! But it started a healthier lifestyle. For my 31 birthday, I ran 1 mile for 31 days and then continued on for 100 days total! Dare I say that I am planning for my 40th birthday? I am. By the time I am 40, I want to have run a race in each state of the United States. There's 50 of them! This is to push me to travel more. I want to run each race with a new person that lives in that state. This is to push me to meet new people and hear their stories. So if you live in a state other than Illinois (Christina, Kate, and Alex helped me there!) I want to talk to you! If you are an experienced runner, a new runner, or a non-runner who will go out on a limb and run with me, I want to talk to you! I have 8.5 years to accomplish this goal which means 6-7 races a year. I need your help!! If you have any interest in helping me, go here-----> running questionnaire.
Just an FYI, filing that out does not obligate you to do anything at all! It just helps me get in contact with you to see if we can make this happen somehow in the next 8.5 years. If you know anyone in another state who might be interested in running with me, share my blog with them! Yes this means I am going to Hawaii and Alaska some day! Even North Dakota and West Virginia!