One of my favorite things about going to yoga is how my teacher, Marisa, constantly reminds us that today is the best day ever! It’s amazing how small affirmations can truly motivate and inspire you to feel great. Every one of us goes through obstacles in life that cause so much stress that it can almost consume you. You can either choose to let it do so or take time each and every day to focus on positivity and how blessed we all are for these circumstances – everything is a learning experience that we can grow from!
My story is not too different from anyone else’s. Something catastrophic happens in life and all of a sudden you wonder “What the crap am I supposed to do now?” 2013 started off rough. And when I say “started off,” I’m talking – New Years Day, day one, boom! My whole world flipped upside down. Rather than focusing on what happened, I think the best part of my story is what began to happen after that. I knew that I could easily become a hermit, stay in bed, eat boat loads of ice cream and basically shut myself off from anyone and anything. But, I forced myself not to do that and, instead, I chose to run. When I felt sad, I ran. When I got stressed, I ran. When I was angry, I ran. Basically, I turned into Forrest Gump, and I’m pretty sure that and lots of prayer is what saved me. Something mentally just clicked (maybe there is something to that whole “runners high” business I’ve heard people talk about) and whenever I laced up my sneakers and hit the pavement, I felt in control. Let’s be honest, I also did eat boat loads of ice cream, but I digress.
After a few weeks of running jogging and lots of walking, it was now my 27th birthday (Feb 28, whoop!) and my gift to myself was signing up for a half marathon. One of my favorite friends Katy (who’s completed several half and full marathons), was signed up for the Disney Wine and Dine in November. Since three of my favorite things were included (food, wine and now running), I thought it would be the perfect way to train myself to be a “real” runner. I had never run more than 3 miles so I thought I was pretty smart by giving myself 9 months to train.
Let’s fast forward to May 1. When this day came around, I went for a run with Katy and did my longest distance ever – 5 miles. 5 WHOLE MILES!!! I was so pumped and didn’t feel like I was going to die (success!). I was strong and felt like I could conquer anything! So, what do you do when you feel like you rule the world? Something completely out of character and spontaneous? Nope, not me. I usually just reward myself with more ice cream. And I did. But, shortly after an ice cream-induced coma, I decided to join Katy and our friend Kayla in San Diego on June 2 to run the Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon. Keep in mind, this was only 4 weeks out and, again, the longest I had ever run was 5 miles (with several 1.5-3 mile runs in-between). A week after our 5, we ran 6. Then a week after that, we jumped from 6 miles to 9 as our long run. After our 9 miler, I was definitely wiped, but, didn’t feel like I was going to die (again, success!). At that point, I thought “Pfft, if I can run 9, what’s 4 more, right?”.
I’ll never forget how I felt the night before the race. The excitement was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t even really nervous. Mentally, I felt so prepared for what I probably wasn’t physically prepared for. After a huge pasta dinner (have I mentioned a runners diet is the best thing ever?) lights were out by 8pm. We had spent the day getting our race outfits ready (I proudly rocked a Pink Floyd shirt) and prepping our minds and body to wake up at 4 am to run 13.1 miles with 30,000 other people. Intense! My goal was to not die finish under 3 hours, but really, I was just stoked to be there and complete the race even if it took twice the time. We ended up finishing all together at 2 hours and 56 minutes!
Crossing the finish line was so empowering. For the first time in a long time, I was proud of myself. Proud that I chose to do something physically and mentally healthy. I took to take a tough situation and didn’t allow it to define me. I chose positivity over negativity. And every day, I am working hard to have the best day ever!