Hey guys! If you are new to following me or haven’t noticed yet, I LOVE to run. It’s been almost 3 years since I ran my last full Marathon but I’m ready to take on the challenge again this December, on 12/02/18 !!! I want to take you guys along my journey of marathon training and all the beautiful struggles that come with it. Training for a Marathon is definitely not an easy goal to accomplish but there’s so much you learn about yourself during the process and the satisfaction at the finish line makes it all worth it. Like they say, “greatness does not come from comfort zones” aaaand if you ask me, there’s nothing comfortable about a 26.2 mile race. But before I get to all the training, I want to give you guys a brief history of why I fell in love with running and why I decided it’s time to take on the mileage again.
The Start Line
I’ve been running since I was itty bitty, doing fun-runs and 5Ks with my parents growing up…But, my love for running didn’t begin till I was in middle school while my mom was training for her first Half Marathon. I would join in on her runs every-now & then while she was training, just for 1-3 miles..nothing crazy. It wasn’t until I was in 7th grade when I could finally join my middle school Cross Country team that running & I took our relationship to the next level. While having a blast running for my middle school Cross Country team, I also completed my first Half Marathon when I was 12 with a time of 1:45. Not spectacular, but I was still proud. As a young runner, with little knowledge of proper training or nutrition, I got injured frequently.
High school was yet another big step in my relationship with running. The competition stepped up and so did my love for the sport. Cross Country & Track became who I was. That was my thing. When it wasn’t Cross Country season, it was Track season.. I think we had about a month & 1/2 where we didn’t have to train but most of us still did anyway. I didn’t mind; I had found what I loved doing & I loved every aspect of the sport, my teammates, my coach…everything. Although I was above average in my sport, it wasn’t until my parents split up that I began to be considered a top runner at my school. Not that my parents splitting up was the only reason I improved, but it was definitely a correlation I could not ignore. I had a lot of built up frustrations and anger from my parents divorce that I didn’t know how to handle; so I ran. I ran early morning before school at practice with my team. I ran after school either at practice or on my own. And I ran late at night when I couldn’t sleep. I was running everyday, at least twice a day. It sounds crazy.. but that’s because I had gone a little crazy tbh. There were several times I would be running around my neighborhood at 12am, on a school night, because I was trying to escape whatever I was feeling or thinking at the time. Sleep didn’t come easy at the time so running was my go-to solution. Plus it was so freeing b/c no one even knew I was doing it, no one in my neighborhood was awake to see me. I never told anyone what I was doing. And running in the dark made running feel like I was flying! Looking back now, I realize that was probably not the safest thing to do…but at the time, I was convinced I was wayyy too fast for anyone to catch me even if they tried to. smh…
Everyone handles stress in different ways; whether it be eating, drinking, smoking, listening to music, whatever. For me, I work through my stress by exercising (but more specifically) RUNNING. Lucky for me, my stress gave me the ability to turn a negative situation into a positive! Without getting too much into the craziness of what was 17 year old Sarah, all those extra miles and the current mind-set I was in had made it possible for me to set new PR’s in Cross Country, qualify individually for State in Track, and receive a Track scholarship to Sam Houston State University.
With the highs, there are also the lows. My first year of college was a bit of a low for me …to put it lightly. I honestly don’t talk about this much, but I want to be honest on my blog and also help you guys understand where I’m coming from & maybe relate to someone who has gone through similar situations. I was excited to go to college and run at the collegiate level. I was starting a new chapter in my life, awaiting new adventures. Fun, right?? It was a lot of changes all at once. With my foundation (family) broken, I was a reckless teenager who had a lot of newfound freedoms. Any kid who has gone through divorce knows that your parents get so caught up in their problems, that they don’t really seem to notice much else; so you can get a way with a lot more shit. Excuse my French. I was having a lot of fun during my last year of high school & the summer before college. Almost always hanging out with my friends, spending as much time away from home as possible, and was head over heels, crazy IN LOVE with my boyfriend at the time (now husband).
When I moved to Huntsville for college, everything that was helping me deal with my parents divorce was now gone. I’m being dramatic…it was a 2 hour drive away, but you get the point. Looking back now, the only reason I was able to keep my shit together so well during high school was because I had such amazing friends that were basically family helping distract me from stuff going on at home. So once that wasn’t there for me 24/7, I wasn’t that strong.
If you’ve ever competed in any sport at the collegiate level, you know that shit ain’t easy.
Training/Practice gets more serious, competition is a lot harder, and the pressure to do well is more intense. Especially if you are there on scholarship. Practice was twice a day, with either a team meeting or weight lifting session mid-day. Meets/Races on the weekends. The pressure to be “tiny” was also a factor for me. In some sports, the thinner or lighter you are, the better. Cross Country is one of them; the lighter you are, the faster you are. Let’s put it this way, at 118 lbs, I needed to lose about 5-10lbs if I was going to be competitive at a college level (at least that’s what I was told). I was struggling with trying to lose weight. I wasn’t doing well in my classes. I was tired all the time and missing my boyfriend and friends like crazy. College was pretty much kicking my ass. All these new changes were taking a toll on me, therefore they were taking a toll on my running. Miles started feeling longer, training started feeling harder, and I was losing motivation to push out of the funk I was in. I started skipping classes to sleep. Drove back to my hometown to see my friends and boyfriend any chance I got, but things weren’t the same. There was too much stress, and for the first time I couldn’t “run away” from it. Unfortunately, running was now part of my stress and I had no healthy coping mechanism to deal with it.
Everyone on the Cross Country team had monthly reviews with our Coach to discuss what our goals were, what we needed to work on, and just how things are going in general. My meetings started becoming more & more negative as the season went on with my Coach asking what was going on with me and why I had seem to be in a rut. I honestly didn’t know what to say; my spirit was broken. How do you explain that as a legitimate excuse?! So I just told him things would improve…I just needed time to adjust. A part of me was trying to convince myself just that. To sum things up, I sucked my whole Cross Country season at SHSU and was dealing with an annoying stress-fracture that kept flaring up. Cross Country season had ended and now it was time for Track. I didn’t see things getting better for me anytime soon, honestly I just kept feeling lower & lower. I don’t want to get into too much detail, but before Track season had started, I had come to the decision to quit the Sam Houston State Cross Country & Track team. I hated myself for it. But for my emotional, spiritual, and physical health, I felt like I had to.
Once I quit I felt like I let my team down.. I never really give them an explanation of why I quit. I felt like I let my parents down because how were we going to afford college now!? Plus they couldn’t brag about me being a runner at SHSU.. I was just a regular student now. Even though I didn’t care much for my Coach, I felt like I let him down too. He had such high hopes for me when I I first joined. I cried the whole meeting when I told him I was quitting, I honestly can’t even remember what I said but I remember him saying he could tell I wasn’t the same “spirited girl” I was when I first joined the team. There was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders after that meeting, but I also felt completely lost. There goes my whole college plan…lol
I stopped running for awhile after quitting the team. I needed to get my shit together and my relationship with running had been temporarily broken. We weren’t on good terms at the time, as Ross Geller would say “we were on a break”. (haha I had to lighten the mood there, things were getting gloomy) SoOoOo fast forward to age 21! I’m finishing up college. And I’m training for my first FULL marathon!!! The big 26.2! Yikes. I’ve done a handful of 1/2 marathons but training for a full marathon is a whole other ball game! Running for 1-3 hours just for training is weird y’all. Even though you just ran for say, 17 miles, no one is cheering you on and you definitely don’t get a medal at the finish. You just pat yourself on the back & go home because that was only practice for what’s to come.
The best part about training/finishing the marathon was the fact that I did it 100% by
myself, for myself. I wasn’t running for anyone else. Just me. And even though I had an awesome support system cheering me on and motivating me along training and race day, most of it was pure self-determination to prove to myself I could do it.
I am now at a point in my life where things are pretty good, I can’t complain. I feel strong physically, mentally, and spiritually. With that being said, I am curious to see just how well I can run a marathon with the attitude and knowledge that I have now. Starting in August, I will be sharing the highs and lows of my marathon training with you guys. This time I am incorporating more strength training and stretching into my training regime. Also, I will be giving you an insight into my nutrition and meals for training for anyone who is interested! If you are training for some sort of competition or just working on your own personal fitness goals in general, hopefully this will be helpful to you! I always love seeing other peoples training styles and health tips that work for them.
The marathon I am signed up for is the San Antonio Rock N Roll Marathon on December 2nd 2018. The day before my birthday! Since I will be turning 26 this year, I feel it’s only fitting to run 26 miles to celebrate my 26 years of life. Well, 26.2 miles to be exact…
I hope you will enjoy this journey as much as I do. Who knows, you may even find yourself wanting to try a Marathon yourself! (no pressure) LOL Thank you guys for reading my posts and following along 😊 Hope you have an awesome day and do something to make your future self proud.
💋 XOXO MrsFitz