Do any of these sound familiar?
“I’m going to run a marathon.”
“I’m going to finish a triathlon.”
“I’m going to get my Ph.D.”
“I’m going to write a novel.”
“I’m going to get promoted to CEO.”
As runners (or aspiring runners), many of us are Type-A personalities and we establish some pretty lofty goals for ourselves in all areas of our lives. The risk of setting the bar sohigh is we stand a decent chance of slamming our heads squarely into that bar if we are not physically and mentally prepared to meet the challenge. Most of us have a good idea how to prepare physically, but how do you approach a major undertaking and break it all down into mental chunks that are not so overwhelming?
After I became an avid distance runner, I decided to take on the challenge of writing a novel. Initially, the thought of cranking out tens of thousands of words and subjecting myselfto public scrutiny seemed daunting to say the least. However, I discovered that when I approached writing in the same way I approach a distance race, everything became manageable. In fact, I broke my novel down into 26.2 “miles” in place of chapters because I found similarities in the projects. My suggestion to those who have set ambitious goals that may seemunachievable – whether it be a distance race, losing that extra 20 pounds, or getting your law degree – is to employ a 13.1 step,mental half-marathon approach.
Understand Your Goal
Research what you need to do, how best to get there, and how much time it will take
Choose the Right Gear
Make sure you have the right tools for the task. Whether it’s that new pair of trail shoes, or that fancy laptop, your journey will be much more difficult without the right equipment
Don’t try to go out on day 1 and run 10 miles if you just ran your first 5K. Similarly, don’t start your new job and immediately tell your boss that you are going to run the company in a few months. Neither of those approaches turn out well.
Get Started, But Take One Mile At A Time
When you toe the starting line, don’t think of the 13.1 miles ahead of you. Just think of getting to the first mile marker or first water station. When you focus on the attainable, the seemingly-unattainable suddenly becomes reachable.
Move at A Conversational Pace
A common piece of advice for runners is: If you cannot hold up a conversation, your pace is too fast. In the office, if you cannot find time to talk to family, friends, and coworkers, you may want to slow down. You might miss something important or burn out.
Compete Against Yourself, Not Others
Life isn’t fair. Ryan Hall is crazy fast. Lebron James will dunk over you every time. Your boss might like your office rival more than you. Deal with it and do the best you can for you. You can only control so much.
Train for the Hills!
If you aren’t prepared for the tough spots, you’ll find out soon enough.
The Further You Go, The More The Crowd Around You Thins Out (Know the map)
When you start off on your endeavor, you are bound to have to navigate through a lot of clutter. Be patient, because the farther you get, the more flexibility you will have on your path.
Eat a Powerbar, go on a vacation, have a beer with a friend. Nothing’s worse than hitting the wall because you pressed too hard.
Enjoy the Scenery
What good is it to run a race in a new city if you aren’t going to take a look around? It’s a cliché, but the journey really can be as nice as getting to the destination.
Reassess Your Goal According to the Conditions
Did you pull a hamstring in the middle of your training plan? Did your child get sick and your mind wasn’t really in that big presentation you gave? There is no shame in giving yourself a break and seeing if your goal needs to be reassessed.
When You Feel Faint, Slow Down
Listen to your body and to you mind. The best stories told usually don’t end with, “… and then I woke up in the hospital.” Although, there are some pretty funnyexceptions. J
Maintain Proper Form
Keep your head up, your back reasonably straight, and move forward. If you lean too far toward the finish, you may fall flat on your face. Bend over backwards too much, and you’ll be looking at the sky.
13.1 Run Through The Finish Line, Not To It.
Once the goal is in sight, make one last lunge to make sure you finish strong. You haven’t finished until you are completely across that line.
Whatever approach you take, the main thing is to keep moving toward a goal. Every race has its obstacles, even if they are only in our own minds. Whether it’s running a marathon or writing a book, it’s always toughest to get started again once youcome to a complete stop.
J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, a thriller set in modern day Pittsburgh against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon. As a former police officer and Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service, he has drawn upon his experiences in law enforcement, and a love of distance running, to create a novel full of suspense and insight. Visit him at www.hensley-books.com, www.facebook.com/hensleybooks, and on Goodreads. Resolve is available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and several other outlets.
Mr. Hensley is currently working on two other novels: Measure Twice and Hedonistic Calculus. He lives with his beautiful wife, daughter, and two dogs near Pittsburgh, PA.
My running story begins in February 2012. I was at my heaviest weight of 235 lbs. I had just joined Fitness World Gyms in Hartsville, SC the month prior & started making smarter choices about my food at that time as well. Although I had started to drop weight by using the elliptical, going to fitness classes, and by monitoring my caloric intake, I wanted to try something I had never done before. I wanted to challenge myself....I wanted to compete in a 5K race.
I downloaded the Couch To 5K app so I could run the April 28, 2012 Carver C.A.P. 5K in Florence, SC. Starting out proved to be extremely difficult. I was obese even after having lost about 20 pounds at that point. I remember trying to run for 90 seconds was nearly impossible for me. I had aches and pains, but I persevered. Eventually I was able to run for those 90 seconds and even worked my way up to running for 5 minutes straight!! I was able to complete the Carver C.A.P. 5K with a time of 43 minutes, 34 seconds. I was not able to run the entire 3.1 miles, but that didn't bother me. Something happened to me that day; I realized that I COULD do something that I set my mind to IF I was willing to put in the hard work that it required. I didn't know that completing that 5K race would cause me to get bitten by the run bug :) It wasn't long after that race that I found out that Fitness World Gyms decided to start a run club. I signed up and made many new friends. By the end of 2012, I had completed 14 - 5K races and earned a PR of 36 minutes, 50 seconds at the Charlotte Turkey Trot 5K in Charlotte, NC on Thanksgiving Day. I also estimated that I ran/walked approximately 200 miles in 2012.
So far the year 2013 has been very eventful for me. I have a new PR 35 minutes, 39 seconds for a 5K. I completed my first 10K at the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC with a chip time of 1 hour, 29 minutes, 38 seconds. I have also completed my first half marathon at the Run Like A Diva Half in Mrytle Beach, SC on April 28, 2013, one year to the day that I completed my very first 5K!!! My chip time for the half marathon was 3 hours, 14 minutes, 21 seconds. As of today, I am over halfway to completing my goal of running 400 miles this year. I am currently training for the inaugural Darlington Marathon that will take place in September in Darlington, SC.
During the course of my journey I have lost 67 pounds, but in losing those 67 pounds I gained so much. I gained lots of friends, self-confidence, and a sense of pride in myself that I never though I would have.
And that is my story......to be continued ;)
My love of running came out of finding a way to survive. I was raised in total chaos and sickness, full of alcoholism, abuse and pain. I found running (innocently enough) while running away from my dad...and it worked. Running became my very own escape and I used it any chance I got. I started running track and cross country in the 6th grade and it carried me through highschool. I ran in college; but fell prey to my own addictions and waged a nasty battle trying to do everything in my power to outrun myself. I ended up in the hospital due to alcohol and eating disorders and very slowly began re-building my life. I was able to get healthy mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually by using my running as a healthy way to deal with life. I have now raised two beautiful children who are on their own and thriving and am re-married to an amazing man (who does not begin to understand my running...but loves me and supports me in it)
Running is so personal to me. I run for me and for me alone. I am free when I run and I never feel more alive than when I am running. I am grateful every day that I can run because I tried so hard to destroy myself...it is an absolute miracle that I have no lasting health problems due to my past. My hope for every runner is that you run for you...and only you. Enjoy it, celebrate it, nuture it. It is yours and your alone. Thanks so much for letting me be a part of this wonderful community. I appreciate each and every one of you and every experience you have had.
I received this message the other day on my Facebook page (copied by permission)
My daughter is a musician. We are a family of runners, (all 7 of us) who like all, were touched by the tragedy in Boston. In conjunction with her upcoming album release she'll be headed to Boston for a series of shows.
We put together a video tribute - with a song not on the album - as a possible way to raise funds for One Fund Boston. The idea is to donate 100% of our itunes proceeds from the single to the Fund from now through Labor Day. (essentially the end of the tour)
She'll be getting a bit of press so we thought we could incorporate this effort with any free media the tour might generate. We have not publicized this at all at this point. The video is on her site - but we've not promoted it. We wanted to get your feedback first.
It, along with her story, can be found atwww.courtneyjonesmusic.com
I was completely speechless. The video is amazing. I was touched that they would ask my opinion and that Courtney took the time to put all of this together...not to mention the absolutely amazing voice!! It was so cool to see some of those pics again, I received so many that I don't think I ever even got a chance to look at all of them.
I got in touch with Andrew (Courtney's dad), to let him know I would certainly do whatever I can do to support this. Anything at all.
That set the wheels in motion. Courtney's music team, including her producer - Boston's own Peter Malick - posted the video on YouTube, it can be found here -http://youtu.be/9ikjxTnyjoQ. Uploaded the single to iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/enemy-fire-single/id672743034?uo=4 and is featured on her website www.courtneyjonesmusic.com
It's premiering here on the RunJunkees site and we'll be sharing it on our Facebook page. I hope you'll take a moment to visit and help support Courtney and her efforts here. Spread the word !
Flipping through my mental rolodex to the afternoon of February 24th 2012 standing on a scale in my doctors office watching in horror while the nurse continue to slide the weight on the scale higher and higher. The weight kept climbing like the thermometer on a summer afternoon. Two hundred pounds, two hundred and fifty, finally the mercury stopped at three hundred and eight pounds. I was mortified!
Later that afternoon sitting on our couch depressed I made a life altering decision, I was not only going to lose weight but I would get myself into shape at age forty. The very next day I made a drastic change to my diet. I began to walk six miles a day five days a week and slowly things began to change for me. My body started feeling better. The digestive issues I had been having were suddenly gone. I began to have more energy and my walking began to speed up.
Fast forward to an afternoon in late April as I returned from the local store where I had bought some fertilizer for our lawn. After lifting these extremely heavy bags from the car I happened to notice each bag weighed forty five pounds. Stepping back for a moment and standing there in amazement realizing I had lost forty five pounds at this point and lifting those bags of fertilizer really put what had happened to me in perspective.
A week later several friends had begun to push me to run a 5K race. Now I had not run since playing high school lacrosse twenty two years prior. I was resisting all I could but my curiosity would eventually get to me. However we signed up as a family and had planned to walk it. Race day finally arrived and as we got there the half marathoners had begun to come in. The atmosphere was electrifying. I was so excited to be a part of what was going on but really having no clue what was going on. All I knew is that it felt good. As we stood waiting for the gun my wife looks at me and says “You know you want to run”. I politely replied no I’m going to walk, BANG, the gun goes off and the tightly packed crowd of runners begin to take off. My wife looks at me and says again “You know you want to run” and I looked back with a huge smile and I was off. About a mile into it I am feeling great as a gentle pat on my back gets my attention and woooosh, my thirteen year old son goes flying on by. With the finish line in sight and my adrenaline pumping I noticed all those half marathoners clapping and cheering as we crossed the finish line. Wow, what a sense of community I thought. Runners of all skill levels cheering and supporting one another. I was hooked! My first ever 5K race was now complete, finishing in 35:19.
Comparison pic July 4 2012 and July 4 2013
It all started in 2010 when I got laid off. My job was extremely stressful and I put in very long days which lead to unhealthy habits and massive weight gain. I was around 180 pounds when I started that job and around 260 when I left 3 years later. While being laid off I decided to join a gym. I spent a couple hours a day walking on the treadmill and gradually added some short runs interspersed in there. My goal was to run a 1/2 marathon and signed up for one in August. I started loving running so much that I signed up for an earlier one and ran my first 1/2 marathon (Red, White and Boom) on July 4, 2010 in 2:36. By the end of the summer I had lost over 60 pounds.
In the meantime, I found a job and started nursing school. Working full-time and going to school full-time made it incredibly difficult for me to continue working out and I fell back into a sedentary lifestyle and gained all my weight back. I was very stressed out being in school and was very unhappy with my life. In 2012, I made a choice that I needed to take better care of myself if I was going to take care of patients so I started running again, but did so over my lunch break at work since this was the only free time I had.
My bucket list always included a marathon but it seemed so out of reach for me. This time around I decided that I needed to set my sights on one and signed up for Grandma's marathon in Duluth MN. I continued running, going to school and working. I found that adding the running to my life reduced my stress so significantly that school was no longer something I loathed going to and actually found I was learning more and more easily. I was happier in life, wasn't as tired all the time, was getting sick less often and was losing the weight that had been holding me back.
Finishing strong in 2013
On June 22nd, 2013, I ran my first full marathon. I ran it in 5 hours, 8 minutes and 32 seconds. A time I will never forget. I won't lie, it hurt like hell but it's not a bucket list item for me anymore, it's a personal goal for me to improve upon. I've already signed up for 2 more full-marathons because I know I can only improve from here.
I've continued going to the Red, White and Boom 1/2 marathon every year. It was my first 1/2 marathon and it was their inaugural 1/2 marathon so it's something special to me. Last year it was reduced to a 5-miler because of extreme heat and humidity so I don't have a time comparison but I completed it this year with a PR of 2:20.
Running for me is something that has kept me whole and sane. I didn't have any support when I first decided to run a marathon but when the people around me saw what a positive change it was having on me, they rallied around me. now I have people asking me how to start running, and I help them understand how to continue running.
My name is Jill Kuebrich. I started running last June with the sole goal of being able to run the Andrew Kuebrich Hero 5K in memory of my son. Andrew was an ultra marathon runner and a true Run JunkEe! For his 24th birthday he celebrated by running a 100K race in Singapore. 7 months later he was run over and killed while biking the coast of Taiwan which was one of many items on a list we found in his journal.
The Second Annual Andrew Kuebrich 5K is August 18th and I would like to invite you all to join us in this celebration of Andrew's life. The 5K proceeds helps to sponsor the high school scholarship we have started. Andrew and his list have inspired countless people to begin running and to live life more fully every single day! We would love to have you come out and Join us for this great event.
This 5k will be part of the Smallville Superfest and will take place in Plano, Il. The Superman movie released in June 2013 was filmed in Plano, Il. To register for this event please follow this link or email the race director directly, at firstname.lastname@example.org for a registration form. We are also accepting race day registration.
It would mean a great deal to my family to have another great show of support for this event.
To read more about Andy click here
A random collection from the world of RunJunkEes