RUNNING LA: Once you reach mile 26, the rest is easy!

Can I just start out by showing off this SWEET medal…

26.2

The 26.2 totally glows in the light….

Matching the glow I had inside and out after I crossed that finish line Sunday.

Radiant with a sense of accomplishment.

But let me back up a minute… ūüôā

…To the day prior, making sure I hit up the Expo. I had the pleasure of my Dad accompanying me since he would be unable to make it to the race the following day. It went full circle though because it was about 10 years ago that I remember going with him to an Expo at the Convention Center, for one of the LA Marathons he ran. I remember how fun that was. Unfortunately we didn’t have the luxury of being in doors. This year was a battle of the rains, as the Expo was held in the lots surrounding Dodger Stadium. The weather was being closely watched in preparation for the events of this weekend. That didn’t stop the festivities from going on anyway however.

Picking up race goodies is like Halloween for us big kids lol. I could feel a sense of excitement brimming from my bag as the volunteer handed it to me along with my bib number (18627!!!), followed by my race shirt. It all begins to feel so real.

Seeing where the starting line is, and the announcer booth where that gun goes off just brought home the reality of what I’m about to embark on. I couldn’t wait!!

Excitement is in the air!!

Being there with my Dad was extra special of course. He knew exactly what emotions were going through me at that point. We joked around a bit about him having second thoughts with not doing the race….they were after all, still taking registrations for the marathon that day…. But that was a no, but it made for a good laugh!

It was an emotional journey for both of us even until that day. If you may have noticed the inspirational quotes popping up around my Marathon Rationale part 1, 2 & 3, my Dad had sent me a daily encouragement (via text) everyday from 18 days out, till the race. I looked forward to it so much and loved to hear his bit of humor or inside jokes he’d add with it. Nothing like a loving father to deliver the encouragement to his daughter, when it was so needed.

He dubbed the race a¬†MARISAthon… thought that was kind of funny.

Those crucial last few weeks of slowly unwinding the body from such rigorous bouts of training, to a minimal amount in preparation for the day of the race, for me, seemed the toughest to get through. Encouragement was very welcomed. My focus started to wander at times. Not only does life get at you:

*The end goal is in near sight
*Long runs are a thing of the past

And the short tapered runs were almost easier to want to give up on because at that point it doesn’t seem to matter so much. It was like, “come on, do I really¬†NEED¬†to run these 3 or 2 miles?!!” (whiny voice of course) I could do those with my eyes closed and backwards now, is it really necessary?!!

But alas my instinct and dedication got me out the door every time. I knew I shouldn’t sell myself short. I’d come too far to let it start slipping. I wouldn’t regret it.

After pre-race excitement kept me up longer than I wished the night before, it was time to head out the morning of the race! My sister Brianna and her boyfriend James were sweet enough to drive me out there at 5:30 in the AM. It was great having their support there with me, to see me off!

James, Brianna and I!!

Nothing more than sheer happiness and that head-over-heals exciting feeling, could be felt from the crowd, as I made my way through what seemed like an endless amount of people… The threatening rain storm that was presumably¬†to dump down on us that morning, seemed more¬†overwhelmed by the sea of intensely ready runners. Each with their own reason, motivation¬†or vision.

A sea of runner's and dreams...

The TUTU was in full working order…

Ready ‚̧

I thankfully was able to start the race with my sister-in-law Jamie and her group. It seemed like FOREVER after the gun went off, before we even started. I was so unprepared for how long just that would take. We didn’t even make it into a corral. Everyone just kind of fed into the starting area slowly but surely. It was a nice relaxed start to the journey.

Jamie and I

So in going with the notion to totally take in the entire experience of my first Marathon, and that we were “Running LA,” I made sure to take photo’s along the course.

About 3 miles into it I was sure that I didn’t want to forget any of it…the sights…the sounds…the sweat….it was all part of the experience that was¬†probably the BEST thing I have ever done.

Taking it all in.

The amount of support out on the course was truly amazing!! SO many people were out there cheering us on, live entertainment and just the positive energy felt by the runners was incredible.

There seemed to be subtle reminders everywhere, so prompt¬†with¬†regards to my emotions at the point that I would take in whatever the hint of inspiration was. Whether it was a message on a billboard, running¬†past a street with the same name as the town I grew up in….

‚̧ Sweet reminders

Or simply a beautiful bed of flowers greeting us down Sunset Plaza… the sweet pink varieties emulated the variety of runners in determined step beside them.

I took a bit of each reminder as comfort to the journey at hand, and that with each step I committed to, there was a guidance almost outside of myself helping me towards the finish.

Stopping to smell the “roses”

Then of course there was the run through Beverly Hills and down Rodeo. A unique moment of streets who were normally lined with shoppers and their shopping bags in tote, now lined with spectators and encouraging signs.

LA through the runner's eye

And a great shot with the American flag, that I forget at which point I saw this, but it was just an awesome sight!

I know my words will not do justice to the incredible feelings that were the experience of my first marathon. It was seriously the most unbelievably enjoyable and memorable 5 hours of my life. I mean bringing my beautiful babies into the world was amazing, but running a marathon is so as much amazing in its own way!

I LOVED EVERY MINUTE!!!

(I had to high-five spiderman while I was at it TOO)

High-fives!!

I hardly noticed the pain at times, when the miles felt as though they were just running through me. The wall I think I may have hit was probably sooner than I would have expected, but I was able to pull through it and find the best of me through the last 5 miles of the race.

The five miles that I was most fearful of all along…. THE UNKNOWN!

As a first time Marathoner, you really trust that these training programs are enough to get you through.  Training up to 21 miles hardly seemed like enough, but how could I question the experts?

The surge of adrenaline when I hit 22 was awesome. Around that point, it just became an inner celebration. My inside felt accomplished by every mile, as I knew it was happening… I was going to finish soon, and I was finishing strong! You bet I took that beer shot around mile 20 too….I didn’t care if there would be repercussions to it later, I was ready to start celebrating my inner feat!

And here at mile 25, it was kind of a MINI big moment for me. You can see I look exhausted, but I’m smiling and ready for a photo to capture my spirit in its delighted anticipation of the finish. ¬†Everyone of the miles I ran, starting at 1, I had this in my head:

“Think not about how far YOU have to go…but how far YOU HAVE COME!!” ~Dad

So happy...I was feeling my finishing moment awaiting me!

Yes my Dad was with me, at every mile, reminding me not to think too much of what was still ahead, but what was already behind me. THIS IS TRULY what got me through it. My mind was so strong with this thought. As I carried on through mile 25, it was with joy because I wouldn’t let myself struggle through 1.2 more miles. I would relish in the fact that I already had 25 behind me.

It’s amazing what the mind does to keep us going…and I kept going, with intensity!

5:05:38

I DID it!! I was glowing ūüôā

And I did it in 5:05:38… not too bad for a first timer, and to have fully enjoyed every minute I am quite proud of my time! I’ll be honest that I was hoping for under 5 hours and now looking back…stopping to pee (hey it has to happen after that long!), encouraging one of the SRLA runner’s with a few words and high-five or maybe holding back on some of those photos, could have shaved off those extra 5 minutes and given me that. But honestly it might not have been so worth it.

I loved every extra minute that it took to take it all in, every minute spent encouraging others, or taking encouragement from them. Stopping for high-fives, smiling for a camera or someone shouting “YEAH, GO TUTU!” made it all worth it!

A girl asked me after the race,“So how was it running in a tutu? Did it get annoying?” All I could say was, “No, it was actually too much fun running in it!”

The tutu made the run for me. The fluff was TOTALLY uplifting… as was having my inspiration written on my jacket. Many runners congratulated me along the way on my accomplishment or wished me happy early birthday and I had more than enough supporters of the TUTU….even had a guy run past me asking me for a date haha. It was a super fun way to add enjoyment to the experience and get some extra motivating cheers! (and I made it on TV!)

Sis and I freezing!

Being greeted by 40 mph winds at the finish down in Santa Monica, was not the most pleasant but I’d take it any day over the rain. Crossing the finish line was an amazing moment. I have a really great photo that I’ll be sharing soon of it. I was able to find my sis eventually and after I had a massage of course (got to get on that¬†for those tight muscles!) Then we were on our way!

My mom had an awesome post-race meal and little party to celebrate my accomplishment! Plus my parents’ jacuzzi tub for a soak was just what the doctor ordered!! Even my sister Jackie and her hubby Andy and the kids surprised me by coming up from San Diego to celebrate. They said they couldn’t miss it, and literally decided to come up that morning. It meant SO much to know that they made that much effort to be there for me. Even Jackie now feels inspired to run a Marathon after seeing me make it through this experience. She was so encouraging through this process as well and during my race through text. I can’t wait to be there for her when she decides to do one!

Jackie, Andy and I! Love the support...

I really can’t say enough great things about this Marathon. I’m still on a bit of the high from the accomplishment as it might seem…

I want to go so far as saying: everyone needs to run a Marathon SOMETIME in their life!!

Okay, maybe that was a bit extreme but really I think anyone could benefit from the process of struggle to triumph through what is an incredible amount of support and encouragement, you’ll feel as though the world want’s you to finish. I have no other real races to put this up against in the marathon department, but for my first I will say it has set the bar high for me, with all the supporters throughout the city itself, and volunteers helping the process. It was something I will NEVER forget, a moment of moments that will now be locked up in my vault of experiences that have changed my life forever!

26.2 motivated, inspired, ran and accomplished.

As I set out to make 26.2 the new 30, I DID for me!

I was MOTIVATED

I got INSPIRED

So I ran with DEDICATION and I ACCOMPLISHED!! Nobody ever said it would be easy….

“Once you reach mile 26, the rest is easy” ~DAD ‚̧

P.S. This may have been my first marathon, but I decided it’s not my last! I started out not believing I could do one and now I don’t believe how I couldn’t do another one!

A don’t mess with my tutu-Rationale…Part 3: THE DEDICATION :)

PART 3: THE DEDICATION

**If you can even handle a “Part 3” to my rationale’s please continue reading & Thank you for bearing with this highly therapeutic pre-race jargon!!

***If I lost you at “Motivation” ¬†I promise I’ll keep this short and SWEET!!

No marathon for me would be complete without some sort of spunk. Some sort of tutu-ish pizzaz. Yeah that’s right.

ONE. BIG. UNREASONABLY FLUFFY. TUTU.

Love the tutu.

Tee-hee ūüôā I just couldn’t resist!!

So maybe it reeks a little¬†of “Look at me over here in my tutu…” But isn’t that why we wear these things anyway?! And run in costumes in general for that matter, is for a bit of that attention?

I really just wanted to add a lot little glory to my moment I guess. Wearing a tutu seemed a good way to go about that. When is there ever a better opportunity to wear one right?!

Let me not just run 26.2 miles…let me run it in a tutu.¬†

I figure the minute I have any lazy inclination to lose focus on my form and happen to look down, I will be met by my amazing pink fluff saying “keep your chin up lady… you are almost there!”

Maybe it will even add a little more GRACE IN MY PACE. Just sayin.

I have considered the fact that it might begin to bother me at some point, but I’d rather deal with it when it comes. If this is the only marathon I ever do, I want to make the most of the entire experience. For me that meant adding an element of my personality and excitement to it. Give it that extra bit of special!!¬†After all, crossing that finish line will be my welcoming moment to a new era in my life in many ways. I want to celebrate every mile. I want to high-five those little kids out there supporting, I want to see this along the way too…

Thank you very much!!

Can you feel the excitement in the air people?! I am 3 days out now from this experience and I hope my energy is already jumping out of the screen you are looking at.

I.CAN’T.WAIT!!!!

This whole process has consumed so much of me over the past half-year, that I am more than anxious to finally be there in that crowd…

I’m sure the kids can’t wait to have mommy off a strict running schedule too. But these little faces are gonna be in my spirit the entire way..

Spirit and inspiration in these smiles make every one of my miles worth running ‚̧

“20,000 runner’s, 40,000 reason’s why…when the gun goes off only your reason matters! There is no FOCUS without¬†U¬†in the right mindset.” ~Dad

My reasons….

3 kids

2 run one for my Dad

1 marathon for turning 30 in T MINUS 20 DAYS!!

This race is DEDICATED to 3 reasons for 1 moment. I love it!

The finish line is bekonning…rain or rain as it appears…I will see that finish line.

Oh yeah and don’t mess with the TUTU!!

XO

Marathon Rationale Part 2: INSPIRATION


“A baby learns to crawl-A toddler to walk- A child to run- A marathoner never forgets the child within.” ~ Dad

“Part 2” rationale for my marathon is INSPIRATION. Throughout the process of preparing for the LA Marathon, I have taken inspiration from many sources. Whether it was an inspirational quote, or seeing a person out on their wheelchair using the same trail I do (that happened several times). At some point it begins to feel as though there is not much more inspiration¬†to run for other than because I CAN. Because God has given me my mobility, I will put it to use while I can. I think it would be great to run for a cause in the future, in fact I plan on it.

There are a couple bits of inspirations though that are very close to my heart. As mentioned in “Part 1” running has been a part of my life forever it seems. My dad ran many races as I was growing up. Between the 5k’s, 10k’s and marathon’s he did, I’ve always considered him¬†a seasoned runner. I thank him for giving me one half of my “running bug.” My mom is the other half to that equation. She also did several races during that time and would support my dad on his marathon’s as well.

Here is a great post-race pic of my parents probably almost 20 years ago.

The official contributor's to my "running bug"

I love them ūüôā

My mom ran a 5k with me (my first) when I was in junior high. In high school, we had a little tradition of running together during the early mornings before I’d go to school.¬†Looking back I believe it was our way to stay connected during those teenage years. Between myself being busy with school and extra curricular activities, and her working, running gave us something special to do together. The mornings¬†welcomed¬†us with early sunrises and the sound of morning birds in their usual chatty spirits. It encouraged the healthy chatter between a mother and daughter that can often get lost in the shuffle of life as we grow up. I’m very grateful for those times we had on our morning runs together.¬†It helped to solidify our relationship, and inspires a closeness I hope to have with my daughter.

There is this great horse trail at the top of the street that I grew up on, which we would all use for running. It brings back so many memories when I’ve had the opportunity to run that trail again.

Revisiting the trail and my street I grew up on.

I can almost imagine my younger self walking to the top of that street again. I’m guessing I would have never imagined to see the woman I am today, but I think I’d be pretty proud.

Being inspired by my parents all my life gives me inspiration as a parent now myself. To be able to leave a positive impression on my children, like my parents did, is something I pray about often.

My inspiration for this race comes also from being a mother. My kids inspire me everyday. They have brought so much life and love to my world and I want to help make sure that I’ll be here for them as long as possible. That means taking care of myself and my health. Running has been something they enjoy doing with me on our local riding trail. I try to get them out with me as often as I can. Plus it’s the perfect activity to complete physical education requirements. Ella and Gavin ride their bikes and I push Grant in the stroller as I run. I hope this helps to spark a lifelong positive approach to health and fitness.

My parents set my sister’s and I up with a great foundation of fitness. Now it is up to us to continue for ourselves/families. We often attended these races as a family when we were little. It gave my sister Jackie and I (being the older two of us three) the opportunity to take part in the children’s dashes. As Jackie also describes¬†here on her family blog¬†that we were fortunate to have the experience and memories of those early days of fitness. Now we have the opportunity to¬†re-create those experiences for our own family which carries on the tradition again.

Here are a few photos from our early running days haha…

Budding young runners ūüôā

Now all these years later, I’m glad to have the knowledge of my dad from his training days. My dad has been such an encouragement. Unfortunately after originally agreeing to do this race with me, he reached the point for himself during the training process that he had to back out of doing it.

That was a bitter-sweet moment.

His mind was telling him he wanted to be there with me to run the race, but his body had told him something else. He finally had to listen to it. Something about pushing between 13 and 15 miles was just not settling right for him. I really didn’t want to persuade him to keep going, even knowing it has been his dream all along to run a marathon with one of his daughters.

Dad and his daughter's

That brings me to the¬†special¬†thing about the marathons he did run. He made a point to run at least 3 marathons, earning a medal for each daughter. And he did it. 3 solid times, LA Marathon in 1999, 2001 and 2002. It would have been consecutive if it weren’t for a horrible knee injury he had on a ski trip we took in 2000. It was during the middle of his training, already up to 17 miles which is one of the worst setbacks you can ever face. He had to wait it out for one year.

The story of Dad’s marathon life actually began back in 1989. It was the 4th LA Marathon on the books. My dad’s INSPIRATION¬†to run a marathon came after watching the 1984 Olympics here in LA. He set out for that first marathon not being fully prepared as he came to find out. After only training up to 15 miles, he arrived to the race with not an ounce of nutritional supplements on him. He thought he could rely on what the race would provide for runner’s throughout the course. Little did he know or really consider the thought that they could run out of these things so maybe he should bring back up. That was exactly what happened. Supplies became low by the time he reached the stations. All was good for him till about mile 19, when he started to realize that he wasn’t feeling so well. Then by mile 21 he was able to get a slice of orange to eat. The acidity on his empty stomach was definitely not a match. At mile 22 my dad said he “was done.” He had to quit the race.

This is a moment that would haunt him for the next 10 years. He had to finish it. Ironically the unfinished marathon is the story he shares most, not so much his following victories. I think reliving such an intensely painful moment, not only physically but mentally is therapeutic in some way¬†for him.¬†I would gladly hear it again and again. It’s obviously one of those moments that just changes you forever. You never forget it, and it lives on in you through sharing and reliving it.

I can’t imagine what that experience really was for him. I just know he is a hero in my book and an inspiration for not giving up on his dream to finish it. I can truly acknowledge now how much perseverance he had to complete those runs for us. I appreciate it on such a higher level now that I am going through what he did to reach his goals.

I hope my kids look up to me that way too someday. Not to say I’m going to go run more marathons or anything….now that would be crazy lol.

Overall my inspiration comes mostly from within. What is in my heart and mind. The things that drive me and have kept me inspired are the ones who are closest to me rooting me on, and my kids who always have my heart and soul.

As my dad reminded me…

Inspiration is nothing without your own spirit in it.” ~ Dad

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 ūüôā

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!