but, can i still have fun while marathon training?

Tomorrow’s the big day: the first day of training for my second marathon!

It’s not the biggest deal in the world. We’ve done this before. But it feels so fresh and exciting. Let me be excited! 

I know how hard it’s going to be but, like last year, one day and one workout at a time. This year I’m going to put more focus on being able to have FUN during training. It was hard last year because it was my first time and everything needed to go absolutely perfectly no questions asked with no deviation from THE PLAN. 

Well. We all know how that goes. Of course we deviated from the plan. Of course there were skipped workouts and unexpected rest days and even some double days when I had more energy then I knew what to do with. Because life happens—the really good and the really bad.

All of this kinda goes along with this shirt….

I really, really don’t like this t-shirt.

running sucks tshirt

And this sticker… 

I don’t like this t-shirt almost as much as I don’t like this sticker.

zero point zero sticker

I mean, if you hate it so much, why do you give it attention? To piss off the ones that really love endorphins and health? It’s working because here I am getting fired up about it.

But then there are those shit training days when you kinda feel like that shirt is your mood AF. Am I right? It seems like training is consuming your life and there’s no fun anywhere to be found in all the land.

It’s easy to put blinders on when you’ve got this big huge humongous goal staring daggers in the distance and THE PLAN must go on. It’s easy to pass on things and experiences or slide down the training hole and forget fun is a thing and it’s especially important for sanity during marathon training.

These are my tips for making sure LIFE is fun in the environment of training.

1. Go somewhere, try something, see something NEW every so often. 

concord coffee lakeland

Even if you’re staying local, try a new restaurant or coffee shop, visit a museum, check out some antiques, find a record store. Just change up your scenery. Training can feel like laps on a track week after week, so puts your eyes (or mouth) on something else. #TWSS

2. When you cross-train, cross-train with friends. 

courtney campbell causeway

It’s a necessary evil. But we’re running this thing, why do I need to ellipticize or bike or swim? We know. Doing these sessions with friends gets your mind off things. Hit two birds with one stone and go to a NEW spin place with a FRIEND. Boom. I’ve solved all your problems.

3. Create standing dates for—anything.

food prep

Schedule something you love that will happen at the same time every week—that isn’t workout related. A Skype call with your mom. A few hours to re-paint your nails. A lazy night on the couch binge-watching a new Netflix show. An afternoon of food-prepping. Set it and stick to it.

4. Take a vacation day at work and use it to do a long LONG run. 

mizuno wave prophecy

We usually use our weekends to get in our biggest miles of the week, but on a week where you’ve got 20+ miles, take a vacation day, do it during the week, and enjoy every single non-long-running mile of your weekend.

What tips can you add to this? 

pre-marathon week one training: the good, the bad, the omg.

Hello from pre-marathon week one training. 

One word: Messy.

Ok, two words: Messy. Reflective.

Marathon training is going to be tough this time around. I think last year (August 2015-January 2016) having no concept of this distance was actually an advantage. Not really know what I was up against ended up being a blessing. I didn’t have to stress about the HARD until I got there. Until I was in the middle of it.

Thursday’s 6.25-miler was brutal. Every step. At any given moment during that run I compared how I was feeling to how I felt on marathon day in January 2016. It was a little scary; I’d have to run what I ran on Thursday X 4 plus a little more.

My mind was having trouble with that. My legs, moreso.

I didn’t panic (much). I know I had these feelings last year at this time.

How would this broken body turn these little miles into big, bad 20-milers? 

How would I convince my legs to stick it out for 3+ hours every weekend?

I’ve been here before. But this time it’s less fun because I know my legs are worse off than a year ago today.

morning run tampa

On Thursday’s run I listened to Nicole Antoinette’s podcast interview with Matt Frazier, the No Meat Athlete.

They got into training and running and racing, achievements, goals, and some failures and learnings. Then Matt began talking about whether or not he’d still be doing the running thing if he hadn’t fallen into it and made it his job. When No Meat Athlete became hugely popular and successful I think Matt felt like he needed to stay present in running and races to keep his business afloat. To keep readers interested. To keep staff motivated.

But if he had no audience, no one to “report to,” would he still keep training for the thing? If he was being 100% honest with himself, if no one else in the world existed, if he was making this decision independent of anyone or any other responsibility in the world, would he still say YES to long workouts and this goal race? Is this what he’d do and how he’d want to spend his time?

Talk about some serious soul-searching, right?

He’s basically asking himself: Are you doing this because it makes you happy or because you won’t feel relevant to yourself or your followers if you stop this thing for awhile or forever? 

What a time to hear this. On a run. Doing the thing that may or may not bring joy to my life anymore. 

It made me kind of exit my body for a second and ask myself WHY we’re doing this again. Why am I going for this race a second time knowing it’s definitely gonna suck? Again.

The most true, real, honest reason I can give is because I am so deeply passionate about this sport. Because even if I crawl across the finish line I still want to be at the finish line. Because YES the process is so, so hard but do you want to know what’s harder? Watching other people do it without me. Eighteen-milers feel like death but so does accomplishing nothing on a Saturday morning.

That was a lot of feelings for a Thursday morning.

Matt decided that, right now, he’s not in love with running. He’s taking time off, trying new ways of moving his body that makes him feel good. He’s still running No Meat Athlete and hosting a podcast. He’s still involved and maybe someday his flame will re-light.

My pre-marathon training included some cycling, too. A particular 35-miler that almost left me in tears. It was humid and early and I did a little too much thinking for a 4:30 a.m. wake up call.

mean girls gifbike ride tampa 2

I’ve officially finished my training plan, as of this morning, and I can’t believe we kick things off on Monday.

bike ride tampa

Let’s do this thing. 

the newest and best coffee places in tampa.

Something’s in Tampa’s water. Something delicious. 

Every other week it seems there’s a new restaurant or coffee shop opening up. And since I live in the heart of South Tampa I’m close to all of them.

#BLESS

Normally I’d be skeptical. Do we really NEED all these new places? Are they going to survive? But the South Tampa culture nurtures new businesses, trendy food experiences and, of course, new coffee joints.

Hyde Park Village is kind of a mess right now. But it’s because they’re getting their act together and revamping the roads, store-fronts, and making room for new eateries and shops.

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So when Foundation Coffee Co. announced the opening of their newest location in Tampa Heights, I swapped the office drip for a cup brewed with a little more flair, and fair trade beans.

In case you’re in the Tampa area, here are the spots you must hit. All in one day if you’re feeling frisky.

Foundation Coffee Co. It’s tucked into Tampa Heights in North Tampa, surrounded by offices, a few rough neighborhood streets, and an Asian Market. The space is big and open and the barista looks like he could whip up a foam flower faster than you can order it.

foundation coffee tampa

The Lab Coffee Another open space, but it’s small and super cozy. The only downside? No air conditioning. It might not be the best place to “chill.”

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Buddy Brew Coffee The Kennedy Blvd. location. The vibe here is established. The patrons know it’s going to be busy all day. They know there will be a wait. But it’s worth it. The new Hyde Park Village location has the open-just-to-open vibe. It’s small, cramped, and the layout is…weird. But Buddy Brew coffee is Buddy Brew coffee. Delicious, and made with mushy, caffeinated love.

buddy brew coffee tampa

Blind Tiger Cafe Street corners are the best real estate, especially for coffee shops. Windows cover most wall space and it makes enjoying coffee that much more…enjoyable. I also love when coffee shops sell more than coffee—like beautiful trinkets and towels to add to your kitchen. This place has that plus bomb coffee.

Ybor+www.thetravelpockets

Victory Coffee Jumping over to the Channelside District. It fills up quick because it’s just an itty bitty little place, but the vibe is great and so is the food. I like this one for a mid-bike ride coffee stop because it’s usually quiet on the weekends. They also have board games for those that like to linger.

victory coffee channelside

Jet City Espresso Hands down one of my favorite little places in all of Tampa. The South Tampa location is in the bottom of the owner’s home. It’s completely unassuming from the outside, but full of life and delicious brews inside. If it’s cool enough outside, there’s a porch with benches to enjoy your coffee. They also sell Mother Kombucha, which is a huge win.

jet city espresso tampa

Oxford Exchange It’s impossible not to feel under-dressed here, no matter what you’re in. But the attitude is come-as-you-are. Oxford triples as shops, restaurant, and coffee and tea bar. They brew Buddy Brew so it’s almost a pseudo third location, but stepping into this space feels like you’re transported to another time. Inspiring is an understatement.

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Kahwa Coffee With so many amazing little locations all over Tampa I try to stay away from chains, but each Kahwa location feels like an independent shop. My favorite is the downtown Tampa location because of all the windows. And I don’t know how they do it, but their cold brew tastes like rich chocolate milk.

kahwa coffee tampa

DI Coffee Bar Of course I’m obsessed with this place because it’s on Davis Islands, my all-time favorite place in all of Tampa. There are beautiful wood tables inside, skylights, and quiet working and chatting areas, plus plenty of seating out front. I dig it. (Just not the prices—ouch!)

di coffee bar

There are SO MANY more places I haven’t been but can’t wait to visit next. If you’re in Tampa what’s your favorite? If not, leave a link to the best coffee/tea/restaurant in your city! I love checking them out🙂

Happy Tuesday!

running happens in the context of life.

I read something I really loved this weekend.

starbucks coffee and reading
Not the right Lindsay. But close enough.

At 10 a.m. on Friday morning at Starbucks I wrote and I read. After a hot and sunny bike ride I needed caffeine and air conditioning. I wanted to be in the space of other people’s conversations but not involved. Does that make sense?

I took the day off because my company has this thing called “Summer Fridays” where employees can take three Fridays off during the summer just to enjoy the season. C’mon. That’s awesome.

I pulled on my venti blonde roast with steamed soy milk while underlining and highlighting and ear-marking my favorite pages in the Believe Training Journal. But the great thing about this journal is that it’s more than a journal. It’s a serious source of inspiration.

I read this: “Running happens in the context of life.”

Whoa.

Again. Running happens in the context of life.

Between the big things and the little things. In celebration and in mourning. To commemorate. To remember. Maybe to forget.

Whatever purpose it serves for you on any day at any time at any point in life, it’s what should fill in the holes, around and in between the life that’s already going on. It should enhance it.

I took this to heart and locked it in there. This one’s hard for me because for so long my life was constructed around running. It wasn’t added goodness, it was the goodness. It was what determined my happiness. And when something that brings that much happiness into your life is taken away, it makes you realize how much you CANNOT rely on any one thing to give you life and light. See: kindling.

I’m not there anymore. Not as much at least, because my body doesn’t let me. And I’m learning to be ok with that.

Again. Running happens in the context of life.

mizuno wave rider

Running happened this weekend, but only in and around the non-running I had planned. Only because I made time. Only because it made me happy to be outside in the sunshine. And when the running was over, the living started again.

Balance.

Here’s the life that happened these past few days.

*Making smoothies because Florida CANNOT CHILL for like a sec.

manitoba harvest protein shake

*Snapping. You following yet? LPNEDWARDS

starbucks coffee snapchat

*LIVING in white pants. They’re my new favorite.

white pants ootd

*Biking in storms. I made it home .2 seconds before all hell broke loose on Sunday afternoon.

bike ride bayshore tampa florida

*Listening to this song. Over and over and over. Sorry, neighbor. Don’t listen if you don’t like bad words. It’s, like, really offensive. I really dislike Kanye, but when dude collabs with JAY Z I’m all about it.

So, do the running. Do the living. And do it so they get along and become BFFs forever and ever. Ya feel?

What’s your balance? What does that mean to you?

signing bonus.

GUYS, DID YOU SEE EVAN JAGER (AKA MY SECRET HUSBAND) WIPE THE FLOOR WITH HIS COMPETITION IN THIS MORNING’S 3000M STEEPLECHASE? He was a goldilocks gazelle out there. AND EMMA? AND JENNY? There wasn’t one bone in my body that wasn’t fan-girling these past couple days. 

Glad I got that out… Ahem. 

———————————–

All the track and field events this week got me thinking and feeling about a million different things. “They are freaking amazing! U-S-A! U-S-A!” and “I love this sport so much!” and “I’d give anything to be one of them right now!”

These thoughts made me realize that even though these athletes are competing on the world’s stage this week and I’m over here just trying to not burn dinner, we were all on the same playing field at one point. We all had a first day, a first practice, a first failure, a first success. Everyone in the running community STARTED and SIGNED UP at some point.

When we get more and more familiar with the sport along our journeys, when we register for races and kick off training cycles, we all go through the same sort of things, no matter our level. Like…

*We’re gonna get in kick-ass shape.

*We’ll experience blisters at least once and chaffing on the reg.

*We will (or we should) schedule more hot dates with a foam roller than with our SOs.

*We’ll house all the foods all day long.

*We will most definitely earn serious bragging rights once we cross our finish lines.

*We will proudly hang our hardware around our lamps on our nightstands. Speaking from experience.

But my favorite and most important thing we when begin is receiving the most epic SIGNING BONUS.

disney princess half marathon

This signing bonus we all get when we begin our running careers is a PROMISE and an INCENTIVE. That if we work hard enough at this thing we signed up for, if we put in the miles, the time, the sweat, the pain, the energy, the early mornings, the weekends, the fudged toenails, then we’ll get something bigger and more satisfying out of it than what we spent to start: the chance to achieve HUGE goals we never thought we’d have the courage to set.

This signing bonus, to me, is more valuable than free shoes in the mail and gifted race entries. This is one of the only things that doesn’t differentiate us from the pros because we all said YES, we are doing this thing and we have faith it will make us better people, one way or another.

Now go take that to the bank.

does the marathon ever get not scary?

The marathon is a big thing. Hi, it’s me. Welcome to Club Obvious.

The marathon is a big amount of miles, a big time commitment, a big ask of your body and mind. A big, scary goal. I know this because I made it mine last year for the first time.

It’s terrifying to set 15 or 18 or 22 miles as a goal for a weekend long run. It’s scary to figure out how to fuel for those 15 or 18 or 22 miles. Soreness can be a little freaky, especially when it lasts longer than we’re used to. The runger beast is scary when it’s not fed….ya feel?

And I need to know: does the marathon—and everything about it—ever get not scary? I’m not asking for a friend. I’m asking for me. Because I’m two weeks from my first day of training for a distance I’ve already run once before, and I’m freaking out, man.

Does Shalane or Kara or Desi or Amy or Meb have an OMG moment every now and then? Even them? The ones who made a career out of this big, scary distance?

I guess what I really want to know is if it ever gets easy to stare a distance like this in the face. It shouldn’t, right? Because that might mean the goal isn’t big enough anymore, or that we’ve adapted and that it’s time to start growing again.

I want to know if there’s anyone like me who got used to not believing in his or herself for so long that a big success or accomplishment is surprising.

believe training journal
Lauren’s Believe Training Journal is the best in all the land. Marathon #1 went in the red one. Marathon #2 will go in purple. 

I hate that about me. But I love that I’m going for this marathon again, whether it’s the last time or not.

Now, want to know something I DEFINITELY believe in? Tofu and veggies cooked in coconut oil. Dinner tonight was SUH good.

vegan tofu meal

Yes, yes, all day long. 

I had the same thing for lunch last week with rice and two meat-eater co-workers came over to my desk to tell me how amazing it smelled. Hi, yes, honey be jealous. Plant foods, for the win!

It’s as easy as shredding Brussels sprouts, chopping up carrot and red onion, throwing it in a pan with coconut oil and tofu and BAM. Deliciousness in minutes.

Answer me this: Is marathon training ever not scary for you? What are you making for dinner? 

sunday’s recipe: church and brunch.

My church? This sunrise.

I try to catch it at least once every weekend, from this place. When I get to the top, I close my eyes and think of one thing I’m grateful for. It’s probably the most spiritual this lady is gonna get. 

And I don’t know what it is, but the minute or so before the sun peeks over the horizon, it feels like the world holds its breath. It gets silent for a second. Or maybe it’s just me.

The other riders and runners and walkers and early-risers, they’re all out there, too, for the same show as I am. I don’t know them but I think it’s pretty amazing to share something with those strangers. We automatically have something so wonderful in common.

I love it.

tampa bay sunrise

We were out of the house by 6:15 a.m. and we pedaled our butts off to make sure we were at the top of the bridge just in time.

biking tampacourtney campbell causeway sunrise

When I got home I fell asleep for another hour while listening to Endurance Planet. I nodded off while Tawnee was talking about the pros and cons of energy drinks and then woke up while she was answering listener questions.

And when I finally got my act together? Brunch.

The best meal of the day if we’re all being honest with ourselves.

sunday brunch

In the mix:
I sautéed some carrots, greens and tofu in coconut oil, added a wild rice blend from Trader Joe’s, then drizzled everything in tahini. Delicious. Simple. Vegan. Done in under 30 minutes. Enjoyed over the latest issue of Women’s Health that praises Jessica Simpson for OMG being a mom and working out. Le sigh. 

Now. If you’ll excuse me I have to get back to Stranger Things. Read: watch until I truly believe my apartment is haunted and then not sleep all night long.

Can’t wait.

How was your weekend? What do you do on Sundays?

celebrating tampa on 813 day.

Here’s the thing about my city, Tampa, FL: I am absolutely, madly, passionately in love with it. And here’s the thing about relationships like that: they are so insanely rare and special. 

I’ve lived in Florida for seven years THIS MONTH. Six and half of those were in Tampa and six months in Fort Lauderdale. Those six months were…rough. Here’s how that half a year went…

The day I found out I got my first job out of college in Ft. Laudy I was STOKED. A career! Responsibilities! A 401K! No more waitressing!

vicki real housewives

Me after my first month wondering if it was normal to work 65+ hour weeks plus weekends…every single week.

kim z real housewives

Me on the phone with my mom literally every single night.

giphy-6

Trying to enjoy the beach with all the nonexistent friends I made.

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The day I was offered a position at the agency I REALLY wanted to work at in Tampa (and the one I’m still at now, almost four years later).

giphy-5

Pulling back in Tampa like…

giphy-4

And to sum it all up?

giphy-3

Why am I telling you all this? Because it’s August, 13! And that means it’s Tampa Day because 813 is our area code. It’s a celebration of all things Tampa.

And why should you care? Because I think it’s absolutely essential to be in love with where you live. For me, it’s more important for me to love where I live than where I work. I spend more time working than enjoying Tampa, so when I do get to hang out with city, I want it make me feel as fantastic as possible. Other than Manhattan and London, I’m not sure I’ve felt like this about any other city.

After seven years I truly feel like a Tampanian; I can even give directions!🙂 To celebrate 813 Day, I made a list of all the reasons I love Tampa.

1. The Bay. Nothing gives me greater joy than walking, running, and biking along the bay every day. The water does something to me.

2. The foodie culture. I’m definitely loyal to a good bunch in my neighborhood, but there always seems to be new places popping up.

3. Walkability. If I move anywhere, this is a non-negotiable for me. I live in the PERFECT location in South Tampa. I can walk to restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and the water. Traffic is something I’m just not good at.

4. All the peoples. Tampa is such a melting pot. We’ve got the full spectrum, from college kids to young families to retirees, all different backgrounds and professions. It’s such a cool mix.

5. So. Much. Coffee. Bless you, Tampa, for having more independent coffee shops than Starbucks. Well. That might not be right, but they’re giving the chain a good run. I feel like there’s a new brew house opening every other month. It’s amazing and absolutely 100% approved by me.

6. The history. Tampa is most known for Ybor City. It was founded in the 1880s by cigar manufacturers and was populated by thousands of immigrants, mainly from Cuba, Spain and Italy. Even my alma mater has a ton of history. Read about that here.

7. The fitness scene. Tampa if a fit city if I’ve ever seen one. Run, triathlon and bike groups, Crossfit boxes, barre, spin and pilates studios, and so much more keep Tampa looking real good. Any day of the week I’ll see a group of people on road bikes putting in work along the water. It’s heaven.

8. HOCKEY BAY! A fun play on “Tampa Bay.” We have a pretty killer NHL hockey team, The Tampa Bay Lightning, and the city comes alive when it’s hockey season. And OMG their first home game is September 27!

Now, play along with me. What do you love the most about where you live?  

18 thoughts while creating a marathon training plan.

All the feelings came out last night. I didn’t sleep. And the only answer was to get up before the sunrise and ride it out.

morning bike ride tampa
My new jersey is, quite literally, the only thing that got me out the door.

Last night I also took a first pass at my marathon training plan. It felt good to plan for something again, to set mini goals on the way to another big one, and to reconnect a little with this sport.

Matt’s story inspired me, and if I’m gonna go out, I’ll do by having as much fun along the way as I can.

I fumbled my way through Excel and eventually mapped out 18 weeks of training, from August-January. Last year’s 18 weeks felt like a good middle ground; 16 sounded too short and 20, an eternity. Eighteen gives me enough time to sprinkle in some half marathons and even enjoy a couple lower-mileage weeks. My legs loved that last year.

Like every runner embarking on a brand new pain plan, I had some thoughts; 18 to be exact. One for each week of training. Let’s talk about them.

1. “It’s gonna be fine.” Blissfully, naively positive. This is the nothing-can-go-wrong stage. You know, before ish hits the fan in the middle of a 20-miler.

2. “I need new shoes.” Ah, yes. We all know this is the best part of training.

3. “Better start carb-loading now.” I mean, might as well get ahead of things.

4. “Where my winter half marathons at?!” If long (long long) runs have to happen it’s more fun to do them with hundreds of people.

5. “How many rest days per week can I get away with?” Last year I always had at least one and sometimes two per week depending on mileage and how I felt.

6. <<looking at the long run runs>> “How did I do this last year?” Big miles always seem impossible on paper. But we’ll get there again.

7. “OMG I will be an aunt when I cross the finish line in January.” This has nothing to do with the marathon, but my sister is due with her first little one in October and we’re SO excited.

8. “What are the chances I can convince the boyf to bike next to me on my long runs?” He was a lifesaver last year with water, fuel, headphones to tune out my bull shit. Love him for it.

9. “I’m running 15 miles on New Year’s Eve. I’ll be celebrating…from my couch.” I mean, enough said.

10. “I can’t wait to get to the expo.” If you’ve run a Disney race, you know they do expos better than anyone else. And note to self: DO NOT forget your license again, Edwards.

11. “…Should I vlog it all?” Kelly at Run Selfie Repeat has been vlogging her way through “BQ or bust” and I’m LOVING it. If I did it, would you watch? BE HONEST.

12. “Can I make it through without Botox?” I got Botox last year around November and I think it helped. (I think?) I have to decide in the next month.

13. “Coffee. Better buy out the rest of Starbucks’ inventory.” I think it’s best for everyone I’ll interact with for the next five months.

14. “THANK YOU YEEZUS I have a bathtub this time around. Ice baths are going down. So excited.” No, really. I love freezing my buns off.

15. “Costume. Yay or nay?” I was THIS close to wearing a costume for 2016’s Disney Marathon but I chickened out. I think if I were doing it with friends I would’ve worn one, but one my own? Weird.

16. “How much is a massage package?” The last time I had a sports massage was in college. Might be nice to get at least one per month this training cycle.

17. “Maybe I should get a water backpack this year…nah.” I say this every year. It’ll probably never happen.

18. “I. Can’t. Freaking. Wait.” WE ARE DOING THIS. (AGAIN)

matt long’s story.

For those of you who are familiar with elite athlete, Matt Long, you know that’s just one of his many titles. 

Matt is an athlete, a father, firefighter, philanthropist, speaker, and survivor. Yeah, especially survivor.

From Rich Roll’s podcast with Matt Long:

In 2005, New York City firefighter, avid marathoner and ironman athlete Matt Long hopped onto his bike to do what he did every day — ride from his East side Manhattan apartment north to the Randall’s Island fire academy where he helped train the city’s bravest. As he crossed 52nd Street, a 20-ton bus made a right turn from the middle lane. The bus didn’t just hit him, it dragged his body completely underneath, where Matt was then quite literally impaled by his bike.

After receiving 68 units of blood in the first 40 hours post-accident, Matt spent the next month in a coma.When he woke up, the doctors told him he was facing a one percent chance of survival.

Matt had other plans.

After a 5-month hospital stint and 40 surgeries in under two years, he did more than survive. He finally came alive.

Three years after his accident, in 2008, Matt ran the NYC Marathon in about 7.5 hours, 4 hours slower than his pre-crash time.

In his interview with Rich he said something that I’ll probably never forget (referring to the NYC Marathon):

My journey wasn’t over for me until the crossed the finish line. It was my victory over the bus; to say, well, you didn’t take running from me. I’m not fast anymore. I don’t look good while I’m running, but you didn’t take it away from me. I still have it if I want it. I obviously went further from that day but at some point I turned around and said these are the things I love. These are the things that gave me enjoyment and I still have them, but now I’m leaving them on my terms, not because you hit me. 

Dead. I cried. On my lunch break, walking around downtown Tampa, I wept. 

If only Matt knew how deeply that speaks to my heart, how paralleled our stories run. I, of course, did not survive a fatal crash. I didn’t spend months in the hospital and years in rehab. But I did wake up one morning suddenly hit by my own bus: Dystonia.

Almost five years ago a switch was flipped in my world. My identity as a runner was stripped. I let this disease control me for so long, and told myself I couldn’t achieve the goals I had set for myself after my college running career was over.

One of them was the marathon.

When I trained through Dystonia and eventually crossed that finish line, it was a huge F-YOU to the disease, the same F-YOU Matt told the bus when he crossed his NYC Marathon finish line in 2008.

He ran that marathon on his own terms, and he exited the running world on his own terms. I think that’s why my second marathon in January 2017 will be so special, because there’s a chance it will be my goodbye to running, too. Doing it when I want and the way I want.

We can push ourselves as hard as we want. We can endure more hours and days and years of training as athletes with challenges, but what’s the mental cost? If you followed my #runnarounddmarathons training recaps last year, you know I went through the full gamut of emotions. I don’t know how many more times I can go through that.

In two and a half weeks I’ll start marathon training again, slowly, steadily, wisely, and gratefully. For what my body has let me do up until this point and for the hope that I will find something that fills me up the way running used to.

Please listen to Rich’s podcast and Tina’s podcast. They will truly change how you think of the body, mind, and spirit. And please please please be grateful for the able body you do have. The one that LETS you endure long runs. The one that LETS you suffer and then triumph and then do it all over again. I would give anything. I would give absolutely anything.

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Now, you. I want to know the reason you run. I want to know when you got started, one of your biggest running goals and how you’re going to get there. I want to know what you’re training for now, even if it’s just LIFE.

SPILL YOUR BEANS.