Who do you show up for?

The most humbling experience, until the next one happens. This is how I’ve approached the marathon training and pretty much life. Ready for the cliché moments? Training for a marathon has helped me more than the physical aspects; I’ve seen the growth more in my professional and personal lives than anywhere else.

You see, when you are out for a long run at 12-20 miles and you know that you need to get it done, no matter how fast or slow (speed is relative), you need to get the mileage down because that’s what will help you prepare for the race that you have coming up. You have to get everything ready and guess what? Caca happens, straight up s*h*i*t just like l-i-f-e. It just does. Just like when your five year old doesn’t want to put shoes on for the 3rd time you’ve begged yelled, you’re going to find that frustration in your runs. It’s inevitable. Sorry, sunshine.

This all came about because I had a crappy half marathon on Saturday. I was warned how difficult it was, I knew that it was going to hurt. I knew that I could do it. I set a goal of 2:30, which was going to be a great time for me. And then the race started and the first hill came and I thought, “Well… NOPE.” When I came up to 2:30 and I saw that I still had two more miles to grind through. So I finished it, at 2:56 I completed by 10th half marathon. And guess what, I did this for me. That’s who I’m ultimately running for in this journey. I’m running for all of the doubts. I’m running for all of the times I fought running. I’m running for all of the times that I loved this sport. And that’s how I want to wake up every morning. I am doing this for me.

When you show up for yourself, you are giving the world such a wonderful gift of uniquely you. That’s why it doesn’t matter what the next person is doing, you run your race of life, get those blinders on, and show up for yourself. When I run/walk/crawl across the finish line on December 3rd, I’m not going to end up with a contract with a professional organization. I’m not going to have sponsors from athletic wear (although I’m here to be your muse/model at 5’1” and 154 lbs.!). I will finish it dammit, I will finish it for all of the times I said I couldn’t do something.

– Melanie (and I didn’t get any tacos after the half, I had to rush to my daughter’s soccer game)

Training for the next week:

16 miles today

Friday – Joyride  – come ride with me some time.

Saturday – 4 miles

Sunday – 7 miles

Tuesday – 5 miles

Thursday – 5 miles

Saturday… 120 min warm up  – 3 x 5 min at 11:09 pace with 5 min recovery between, 30 min cool down

Redefine Strength

strength quoteIf there is anything training for a marathon has taught me there’s this mantra that I was slapped sideways with: redefine strength. What does that even mean? Strength is obscenely subjective. I remember growing up definitely not being a typical size and having to get clothes from the Misses section. I couldn’t shop from the trendy stores like 5-7-9 (no longer in existence, kids) like my friends and I definitely couldn’t purchase clothing from a certain alphabet store that boasted washboard abs on their bags. Nope, that wasn’t me. I allowed it to eat away at my psyche that fifteen years later I’m now writing about it praying that I can give my children the emotional intelligence to know that a size does not define them, nor does a number on a scale.

If you Google search ‘redefine strength’ you will find yourself pouring through over 3 million hits of the search. You’ll find workouts, emotional blog posts, personal trainers telling you they want to change your physique. And honestly, they’re all kind of bs. Only you can define what strength is. Is strength being able to throw 500 lbs. over your head in a clean and press? Is strength being able to run 0.25 mile in under 10 minutes? Is strength being able to get out of bed in the morning and put on a smile for the world when your whole body and soul hurt? We need to stop giving numbers out as a goal.

My ideal strength is different from yours and this is ok. We need to celebrate strength wherever we can and really congratulate one another on the little victories that we achieve.

malala cover

So guess what? You’re strong. I’m strong. We are all friggin’ strong. Get on out there, scare the s*** out of the world with your strength because your strength will ignite others. So I leave you with Malala Yousafzai because she’s the strongest of strong and you know it. If you haven’t guessed – my mantra for the marathon will be redefine strength because my body can do things that I never thought possible. I want to hug that little girl who used to cry in the dressing room and say, “Girl, do you. God will fix things just right.”