Getting Started

The First Step

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao-Tzu

Here is to the first step in a new direction.

This won’t be a run across the country, or the world, like Forrest.  At least not at this point.

My goal in writing this is to get back to running.  To bring running back into my normal life and let it take me around the world.

In April, I will be running the Nashville Marathon, my second marathon but my first time in Nashville.  As I train, I am also working to save $18,000 for a RTW trip with my boyfriend – a challenge of endurance, patience, planning, and self-discipline.

As you can see from my following, I am not a blogger – heck, this basically a “Dear Diary” entry at this point – but I wanted to share this crossroads, and whole journey, with the cyberworld because I think there are others who are looking to take that next step towards a daunting challenge in their life too but are holding back because of outside factors.

There’s always a reason not to do it.  (I live in Chicago, it’s December 31st, and I’m about to start training for a marathon…there’s about to be -35 reasons why “not now” is a good reason to stay on the couch.)

But I’ve always been an active person and running has always been a part of my life.  When I was little, it was running around playing cops and robbers in the playground.  When I was in Jr. High and High School, it was cross country.  Like many, college held its own distractions that made running a little harder to get to but not impossible.  Then, each year since graduating, I’ve done a different kind of race: the Ragnar Relay from Madison to Chicago, the Big Ten 10K, the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon, the Hot Chocolate race.

Then comes my first marathon.  I’m pumped.  I’ve trained.  I’ve got people on the course cheering me on.  Friends to look for in the swarm of moving bodies.  My ‘Marathon Motivation’ playlist is set and ready to play.  I’m good to go.

And I went.  It was good, but not what I had hoped for – 32.5 minutes away from what I hoped for.  At mile 12, my knee buckled.  At 18, my battery was at 7% so I was scrambling to conserve as much of what remained as I could.  The efforts were futile.. at mile 20 my pacer and music died.  Total crainum contorter… (to put it in a more polite way of saying it…)

Here’s me post-race, still standing somehow!

I finished after a long struggling last 6 miles, battling signs of “Only a 10K to go!” “Remember, you signed up for this shit.” “Can you believe you paid for this?” (Such uplifting posters, thanks crowd!)

BUT that was when the mental strength really came in in a way I never expected.  It’s MUCH easier to keep running with someone cheering you on.  It was a lot harder without a good sense of your pace or orientation.

All in all, I finished (yay!) with a time of 4:32.50 (less of a yay but still great).

So, after a year hiatus, I’m back to Marathon Mode.  My goals this year?

  1. Finish in 4 hours, as intentioned in 2014
  2. Take care of myself better in training to avoid problems on Race Day
  3. Enjoy the scenic tour through Nashville with music filling my ears all along the way – live or from my earbuds.  (There’s no better city for this one than Music City, baby!)

So why the travel component?

Back in college , I skipped the ‘going abroad’ experience.  And for the worst reason ever:  I couldn’t pick one country to spend a semester in.  Makes sense right?  Can’t pick, go no where (cue the sad music sounds).

I didn’t have a calling then and now I hear shouting from everywhere.  Everything happens for a reason.  I didn’t go back in 2010 and, come 2017, I’ve got the world to run and see.

The short game is to run the Nashville Marathon.  The long game is to run in every city I visit and share along the way.

2016 will be a year of training through the snow, a year of saving to take that trip I never went on, a year of learning a lot along the way.

No one likes to go it alone so lets take this next step together.  I promise to share my experiences, tips, hardships, lessons, and, best of all, photos.  I’d love to hear your advice and about your experiences, too.

Happy New Year, everyone.  Here we go.

2 thoughts on “The First Step”

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