Marathon Rationale Part 1: MOTIVATION

“Your goal started with a thought and inspiration, it ends with a medal….and sore calves!” ~Dad

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while now and just kept putting it off for some reason. Maybe because I realized how much thought I needed to put into it and knowing it would most definitely need to be broken down into segments. But here I am now officially sitting one week out from achieving my goal already, which is

to run and finish the LA Marathon.

So this post is “Part 1” on my rationale behind choosing to run the LA marathon. It all started with my MOTIVATION which really was knowing that my 30th birthday would be approaching sooner than I liked to think about. Yes it’s that lovely number that seemed so detrimental to me and my twenties which kept me feeling so young still. 30 was like some doomed, gloomy vision I had awaiting me at the end of my twenties. The gloomy forecast lurked around my past couple birthdays like a stormy sky on the mountainside urging its way to the city, undoubtedly to rain in on the parade. I kept telling myself to enjoy the ‘end’ of my twenties as though my life was soon over haha. Something about 30…..

Well over the past year of being 29, I’ve slowly been coming to terms with the fact that no amount of dread would set me free of the ultimate end to my roaring twenties. Gradually I began to take on a new attitude about it. One that said “you are not alone, EVERYONE eventually turns thirty so GET OVER it, and hey instead of dreading it, why don’t you do something about it?” (What a concept I know!) Que in attitude adjustment, and there I was sitting with the notion to pick a goal as part of welcoming my milestone birthday with open arms. I was ready to embrace my reality of  becoming a “thirty-something.” So I set out to accomplish something HUGE in the name of growing young.

I tossed around several ideas of goals that seemed good to try. Nothing crazy like skydiving or climbing Mt. Everest. No those weren’t for me. It really came down to either preparing myself to enter a fitness contest or running a full marathon for the first time in my life. Both take much dedication, self-discipline, tons of self-motivation and a lot of determination. A fitness contest has been in the back of my mind for sometime now. For anyone who knows me well, knows I am all about fitness and health. I was a personal trainer “back in the day” (I can use that phrase now right?) and learned so much by becoming certified and immersed myself in the concept of truly dedicating myself and family to a healthy lifestyle. Ever since being influenced by a good friend who trained me back into pre-baby body after having Ella, I’m hooked on a fit lifestyle. This includes good nutrition, weight training and cardiovascular activity. No magic tricks or secrets about fitness, it’s hard work and requires time. Ultimately it must become a way of life.

The gift of health for my kids...we love to hit the trail on bikes and by foot 🙂

Running has been a huge part of my fitness regimen and truly it’s been part of my life since I can remember. Growing up, my dad was always running some race or another, and that included 4 LA Marathons!!! I don’t think I gave much thought to the enormity of what running 26.2 marathon miles was for my Dad, until I ran my first half marathon with him almost 3 years ago. Once I trained for 13.1 miles, which was HUGE to me, I realized that going another 13.1 after that was crazy!! I could finally appreciate what my Dad had done all those years. It truly is an accomplishment to run a marathon in my opinion. Whether you are running marathon’s often, or only embark on finishing one in your lifetime, it is a huge deal. The stress on your body, the time commitment, the mindset, and dedication to the miles are just part of the equation that is training your body to run 26.2 miles. Let me make it clear that running a marathon was hands-down the last thing I ever wanted to do. I was perfectly content with running half marathons and calling it a day. 26 miles, are you kidding? Not for me…zero desire.

That was until I found out last August that my sister-in-law and brother-in-law decided they were going to do the LA marathon this year. It was actually a bet that got them going and when I heard this, it was like a little spark for me. I contemplated my goal options and  just hearing that someone else I knew was doing a marathon, made my decision weigh heavily on the side of running one as well. Plus I knew that the LA Marathon takes place just weeks before my birthday, and that was perfect timing for what I was really intending it for.

So who was the first person I ran to with the idea of running LA? My Dad of course! I went to him for the approval and support I knew I would get from him, but also in the hopes that he might consider doing it with me. It has been 10 years since he ran his last marathon. There is also something special about the marathons he ran, which I will get to in Part 2 of my marathon post’s, which is why I approached him as well.

His first reaction to my proposition, was one word.

REALLY.

Then a second REEALLY.

“Um, yeah Dad, I’m sure you never thought you’d hear the word’s out of my mouth, but here I am asking you to run a marathon with me.”

Well as anticipated, my proposition was met with some hesitation from my Dad. Not because he didn’t want to do it but because of other health issues annoyances actually. My Dad is in very good health, he just faces many of the not so exciting parts of getting older, like a back pain here, or a knee pain there. I completely understood the hesitation. But to my surprise, he actually said yes. Contingent of course on how he felt when he got into training with longer runs. After all he is very conditioned for half marathons these days.  Fontana half Marathon has been a new tradition for us the past few years. He just wasn’t too sure how these crazy longer runs would be on him. Either way I was very glad to have my Dad’s support and knowledge most of all, to help guide me through this process.

I was then ready to embark on a 7 month journey of intense training. Committed to long runs on the weekends and maintenance miles 3 days during the week. It is a serious crazy commitment. But I was very motivated to bring it all on. My attitude is always one that I don’t give up until I carry out what I want to accomplish. When I set my mind to something (Like that medal) I don’t give up until I do it. Giving up is not an option, unless there are other factors telling me that maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.

Setting out to do a marathon has been such an adventure in every aspect. It’s excitement, it’s had setbacks, it’s been engaging, emotional, it’s been fun and inspiring on so many levels, it’s been down right hard some moments and others it’s been beautifully fulfilling. It was truly the best decision I made and helped in turning my attitude around about this whole aging thing.

The training has been an incredible experience itself. It has given many opportunities for me to develop my inner focus and brought a new sense of what I believe myself to be capable of. I have to believe that I am capable of accomplishing these miles. Sunday we will know for sure, but for now I’m confident that I’ve accomplished more than I ever thought possible. Four hours of running was foreign to me until recently. You can’t even imagine it sometimes until you just do it! Running for hours at a time does 2 things (for me):

I felt like this at times…

I'm pretty tired....I think I'll go home now.

Yeah like you’ve run for years and at some point you just want to.STOP.

I also felt like this…

Seamless, unity in my mind.

The mind is an amazing thing….expecially when you find that running does bring it to such a clear point that is beautifully without a beginning or end. You don’t know where coming or going is, you don’t think about left foot, then right…you are in a state of mind that is THE ZONE. I found that I would be in and out of the zone at times. And actually there is a 3rd thing that running does to me. It gets me thinking A LOT. In the moments that I’m not thinking, contemplating, or rationalizing, I find myself in the zone. Sometimes I don’t even realize it. It’s really crazy!

It has helped tremendously to have the support of my family throughout this entire process. They have been a constant reminder that I CAN do this. My appreciation for them brings me to my next post on INSPIRATION. So please read that if you’re interested :).

As I mentioned, I never thought I was capable of, or maybe never wanted to find out if I was able to do something so big as this. But I have come to find that I really AM. As I touched on in my recent post about my last half marathon, I have been crazy driven about this goal. It’s brought out a passion for running more than ever and that I never realized was in me. It’s actually been teaching me more about me if that makes sense. Through a lot of introspection that occurs over the miles and hours of running, as well as that a milestone birthday like this really makes you look at your life and where it’s headed. I feel prepared for the upcoming 30th birthday in T-minus 27 days… and here is now my marathon 7 days out. I am ready and MOTIVATED to run this race and come even closer to seeing a cake full of 30 candles!

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Coveting a medal… oh and about that race.

February 5, 2012

SURF CITY  MARATHON (HALF)

Have you ever wanted something SO bad, you just won’t stop until you have it? You dream about it until it’s your reality?

This little medal did that to me 🙂

“Another day, another run” is what I kept telling myself during the drive to Huntington Beach, as my dad and I embarked on our 3rd half marathon together. I still get giddy and anxious for these things even if it is a 4th half marathon under my belt. The real excitement is because this is actually part of a bigger goal for me …

MY FIRST MARATHON!!
As in 26.2 long miles.

Am I Crazy….check
Am I Dedicated….check
Am I so Motivated no one can stop me….absolutely!

Yes, you can say I have marathon fever at this point, and it’s not because of the heated runs I have experienced. It’s because I am on fire for this goal. 🙂  I will post another day about that goal, and just who was it that gave me the running bug.

On Sunday my dad and I did this Surf City half together, as part of the training program we are following for the LA marathon. A half marathon is just that, 13.1 short of a full (incase you can’t do the math). It’s a long journey of a run no matter which way you look at it. But from a stand point now after having completed an 18 mile run during my training program already, I find that I am able to look at 13 miles differently than before.

It’s not as daunting as it seemed in the past. Particularly the last half marathon that I ran which was when I vowed to never set foot in a race again because of the pure agony I was in afterward. In this photo I am barely able to stand straight and pull some semblance of a smile out… It was torture for the rest of the day, and I was positive I was on my death-bed, therefore I would not go down dying for another run EVER!!!

But alas, here I am today writing about an awesome run I had this past Sunday, smiles all around! Funny how you can forget the pain over time…kind of like childbirth lol. I really had my heart set on this race in particular, ever since last year. A neighbor of mine told me about it, but it sold out that year before I could snag my spot. Ever since I laid eyes on the awesome surf board medal though, I knew that I needed to earn one for myself!

Then I just had to get Dad in on it and that didn’t take much…

A long time runner himself, my dad is usually up for a challenge by one of his daughters and I love that about him. Here we are in the crowd (20,000 runners) soaking up the energy as we were waiting to start.

Lucky numbers…

I felt more excited than ever to run this race. I couldn’t wait for the scene, excited for the salty air, for all the training I’ve done over the past months to get put to some use, for the company, for the pure enjoyment of a run which I consider the jumping point to my crazy 26.2  goal, for the ocean and its beckoning waves at the finish, and did I mention that MEDAL?!!

So here is a shot of my dad coming in at the finish!! Super exciting, he finished with a great time at 2 hours and 23 seconds!! I was so happy for him 🙂

Dad and I in the tent checking our times after the race..

and this is my “I’m so happy I could scream” face after finding out that my time was a new ‘personal best’ for me. The fact that I was feeling so great afterward made the time results that much more rewarding… training hard+consistency= pay off!!

I don’t consider myself a fast runner but I’m definitely glad about a 9:14 minute mile! I was really feeling great afterward. My dad on the other hand….not so much. He completely needed this relief under the shower before I insisted that we make a stop at first-aid to make sure he was not dehydrated. There is a fine line you don’t want to cross when it comes to rehydrating, and anyone who has endured the agony of a not so good post race experience knows to be careful! My Dad was definitely careful but has experienced nausea with longer runs recently, so it wasn’t utter bliss for him after this run unfortunately.

 My dad is strong though and I knew he would be okay! His motto for us kids growing up was this:

“When the going gets tough, the Garcia’s get going.” 

Needless to say, there were NO EXCUSES as a kid lol.

So after a short visit to first-aid we made our way down to the water to enjoy a little celebratory splash. It was freezing water, but it’s just what the doctor ordered to take care of some sore feet and legs…an instant ice bath!

So all the pieces to this equation came together after all. I had the scene and salty air from the ocean I wanted…

…the company and enjoyment…

..and finally that darn medal!!

It just goes to show… A dream can become a reality, if you really want it, and are willing to work hard enough for it!