Honest and real

It’s about to get honest and real up in here.

I’m having doubts.
…about that *little* thing I signed up for on October 7th.

The Chicago Marathon. My first full marathon.

It’s ironic — and honestly, very frustrating — that I’m having moments of self-doubt and downright fear this week after just posting about how far I’ve come this past year, thanks to the barre n9ne 60-day challenge journey I’ve been on. A journey that has shown me that I have every right to love the skin I’m in, and to be confident in my abilities, in my strengths…in ME.

Yet, I’m doubting the marathon thing. Not just a little bit. But a lot.

…can I do it?

…do I (still) want to do it?

…what am I doing?? 26.2 is ridiculous.

...why am I doing this?

It’s that last question that really got to me.

why, why why.

Why 26.2?

Because I need to prove that I’m a serious runner? Nope, that’s not it. I run for me, not for a title, not to “belong,” but for me.

Because I said I would? Well kinda…but that’s not a good enough reason to put myself through 16 weeks of training.

Because this is my year — of no limits, no boundaries, and a helluva a lot of “getting uncomfortable?

Let’s face it — I’m only doing this thing once (and I MEAN that). And this is truly my year — both mentally but also physically. I am the strongest and fittest I’ve ever been. My body is ready for the pounding it’s gonna take from marathon training.  This is it. Game on.

So why am I afraid? I guess its because I’m human and facing something as daunting as 26.2 miles is effing scary. It just is. It’s a powerful thing to say that your body was able to overcome the odds and ran 26.2 miles (because let’s be honest, very few in this world will ever do it). And I *do* want that. I guess I just don’t want marathon training to rule my life for the next four months – and maybe that’s why I’ve felt hesitant, scared, doubtful.

So I’ve made a deal with myself. Quite simply: I won’t allow marathon training to overcome me, my life, my semblance of balance. I know it won’t be all puppies and rainbows each and every week but I’m damn committed to making sure I’m having fun along the way. That I’m still following my #1 fit passion which is barre n9ne (sorry running, you come in 2nd place!). And that I’m still living life fully, happily, healthily and my way.

Ultimately, that’s the only way I’m going to get myself through marathon training without letting fear overcome me, without letting that creeper named “self-doubt” poke his head in the door, and without letting it steal my joy for other things in life.

So yeah, this is me being real, honest and 100% me here. Running this marathon is a HUGE goal of mine. But it’s not my life. It just isn’t.

I know this might sound counter-intuitive to those of you who *have* run marathons before, but I gotta go with my gut on this one.

(and on that note, be on the lookout for my “rebel without a cause” version of a marathon training plan. I’ll be sharing that with you next week!)

45 thoughts on “Honest and real

  1. I can really relate to this. I pulled out of a half because I could not answer the WHY I could not–for me at that time–find a way to maintain balance and train and enjoy the PROCESS and train.
    your gut knows best EVERY TIME.

    • This makes me feel so much better, Miz! Seriously — I do know WHY I’m doing this, I just need to wrap my head around the process itself and make it work for me vs. me working for the process, if that makes sense?

  2. LOVE the HONESTY in this post about how running is a #2. It sounds like a close #2 to barre!

    I can’t wait for 26.2 for you in October–and I do have a feeling you are going to be hooked on the marathons, but from what I hear it can be hard on the body to do so many!

    Have a WONDERFUL Thursday!

    • Haha a lot of people are telling me I’ll get hooked! I’m still not so sure about that but I guess I have to go with the “never say never” mantra on that one. I won’t know until I experience it first, right??

  3. Having doubt is normal! Especially when you are able to tackle the unexpected and/or something you have dreamed / thought about for a while. My advice to you is to not look at the marathon and ALL of the long runs you have to go on to get there – it gets too daunting. Take it one long run at a time. You can run 13 miles – you’ve done a half…so focus on 14 or 15. Once that’s done, look ahead to the next week – another mile or two is easy. Before you know it, you’ll be at 20+ miles and ready for the race.
    I agree – marathon training isn’t all happy smiles and great runs. I have a ton of crappy runs where I doubt myself, doubt the time I’m shooting for, and wonder why I’m putting myself through it all. Just know that it all pays off the last bit of the race, when you cross the finish line, and for the days/weeks/months after when you can look back with pride.
    I’m excited to follow your journey, Jess =)

    • Oh friend, I needed your words today! You bring such great experience to the whole marathon “game” and I needed that perspective — big time! That’s the thing — I need to remember to trust my body for one and for two, I need to quit thinking about the end game and instead focus on the here and now, the week-to-week, run-to-run. It is so easy for me to speed up, skip ahead and that’s when I start to freak myself out!

      I am totally excited to experience this thing, the training, the hard work, the thrill of crossing that finish line after running for 26.2 miles. Insane!!

  4. Completely normal to go back and forth about wanting to do the 26.2. Here you’ve reasoned with yourself and I couldn’t agree more with your decision. Marathon training is incredibly time consuming, it was for me bc I wanted to compete. Taking a balanced approach is the best way to go. This energy will turn into nervous excited butterflies before you know it!

    • Exactly — I’m not here to compete, I’m here to experience 26.2…for me. Not for a certain time goal, not to beat the other marathoners that day, but for me. This plan feels much more doable now that I’ve labeled it “my” plan, ya know?

  5. Oh, I so am with you on this! I just started training this week for my marathon and I’m kind of freaking out too. When I look the training it’s very daunting. But it’s always been a goal of mine and I don’t want to live with regret. One run at a time, right? I’ve got your back, girl! You (we) can do this!! 🙂

    • It makes me SO happy that we “found” eachother at the right time — now I will have someone else to bounce ideas off of during this process who gets it and is in the exact same mode as me! And our races are sorta close to eachother so our training should be fairly similar, distance-wise. That’s awesome!!

  6. It is OK to be scared of 26.2 miles, but that shouldn’t cause doubt in your ability. You are an awesome runner and incredibly fit. Trust your body that it can do this. After 17 marathons, I fear the race every time. But I don’t fear the distance, I know my body can do that. It is everything else that goes along with it that my weak mind fears. 🙂 You will love the training probably more than the race itself!

    • Girl, THANK YOU for weighing in on this one — I admire you so much as a runner and totally appreciate your words of wisdom. It makes me feel loads better that even after SEVENTEEN marathons, you still fear it. That’s amazing. Just goes to show how powerful experiencing a marathon truly is. And reminds me why I made the decision to run one myself! I will say — I’ve always loved training for races so I’m hoping the same holds true for this one!

  7. I ran a marathon 5 years ago and let me tell you, it is HARD. but it’s rewarding. And I know it’s sounds cliche, but if I can do it, you can do it!

    • Seriously — you’re right, I need to realize that others who are very similar to me workout-wise have done this, it totally means I can do it too. I want that reward at the end, BIG TIME!

  8. You will do this and you will do great! I just wrote about accomplishing things myself. I tend to look at the big picture instead of taking each day and accomplishing that adventure (adventure so is seems like fun). It’s the short term goals that get us to the long term goals…each day at a time.

    • That’s the issue I have too – skipping ahead to the big picture versus taking it all in, piece by piece — the entire process of the big picture, vs “just” the big picture itself.

  9. Girl – you know I’m going to say that you got this one. You have to get out of your head though. It’s way too far off to be worrying. Just take each training run as it comes. You’re going to build up to that mileage with no problems. You’ve already got the 13 down. And I know it’s easy for me to say take it one day at a time. But you signed up, you want to do this, and you will. One way or the other. Just don’t let your head get the better of you.

    • I knew you’d tell me that — I also knew you’d tell me to shut my brain up (in much nicer words, mind you)! That’s my problem, bottom line – my brain will not calm down, settling into the fact that this is a process and at the end of the process is the reward. It’s not happening tomorrow or even next week/month. I have until OCTOBER to get marathon-ready. I need a chill pill 😉

  10. I think the fear is healthy, and realistic. If it wasn’t a big deal, it wouldn’t be worth training for or doing! You have given yourself a challenge, and that’s how we become better versions of ourselves, how we learn more about who we really are, and how we continue to evolve. The best things in life are worth working for. At the very least, it’s a learning experience, and at the very best—-you will finish saying it was the best thing you’ve ever achieved! You are amazing—and you are laying the groundwork for this to be a positive experience!

    • This is true — if I wasn’t afraid, what would the point be — its a daunting challenge ahead of me but that’s the thing, it’ll be daunting but so so so worth it in the end. I have to remember that. Just like any other challenge I’ve set for myself, I can do anything if I calm my mind and just go for it, trusting my body to do the work that it’s meant to do.

  11. I am so glad you blogged this out and are keeping your roots of honesty and transparency and being REAL with this. you know this won’t be easy but it will be worth it. I KNOW You can do it. I am so proud of you already and in awe that you are going for it, when I know I most likely never will. This is YOUR goal, YOUR reach, YOUR no limits and I know without a shadow of a doubt that you will conquer it. and I will support you in any way that I can. love you sis!

    • Thank you sis — it was from our conversation the other day that I finally got my head around this thing. You helped me get there, as usual…what would I do without you?? Seriously – you make me smile so big just thinking about you cheering me on on race day, it makes me so excited to do YOU proud that day. It’s even more important to me than doing myself proud. xoxo

  12. I think its natural to be scared, I think it’d be weird if you weren’t. I also think that entering training with this attitude and approach will help it not take over your life. Again you are doing it for yourself, no one else.

    • I know, I don’t know why I thought it was weird or “wrong” to be afraid — I guess if it wasn’t a scary thing, everyone in the world would run marathons, right??

  13. I don’t think there’s any reason for marathon training to run your life – your attitude of balance is good and healthy! If you want to do this, you can! Don’t focus on 26.2, focus on what you need to do day-by-day, week-by-week to prepare yourself. It’s about the journey and putting in the work to get there ready to go. 🙂

  14. you know what?…..marathon training is freakin’ AWESOME!!! yeah some may consider it work…but me, it’s going out for runs. 1 run is speed stuff, another run is hill stuff, another is tempo and then there is the glorius long run. what can be more simple than pulling on the runners and hitting the streets, the trails your “hood”. i’ve run many marathons and a few ultras and i’ve yet to hit “the wall” or bonk…running is pure and simple…one foot in front of the other till you reach your destination.
    enjoy the experiance!!! you CAN and WILL rock this!!!!

    • Ahh I love your energy and passion about marathon training! YOUR energy makes ME excited to embrace this thing and to have FUN with it instead of fearing it. THANK YOU!!

  15. You know that the reason I hated doing a fitness competition was because I felt like the training and prep for it ran my life. I would have NEVER done a full and gone through the training if it had ever reached that same feeling for me during training for a marathon. Because, you’re right. That wouldn’t be worth it and I will never put so much stock in training for an event as I did for the fitness comp again. It’s stupid, in my opinion, to not live because of “training”. I never once got that feeling with marathon training. I actually LOVED training for the full. And it really is a rewarding experience. I understand your concerns, and if they at any time feel like it isn’t worth it, then you can always opt out. No harm in that. You do what is right for YOU. But I know you can do it with balance. 🙂

    • Such a good comparison, Tina — and you’re right, if marathon training became my LIFE, I would be miserable. I’m sure of it. Some people can and do and love to immerse themselves into training but for me? I have so many other “loves” in life that I just can’t see giving those things up “just” for a race, bottom line. So for me, its most important to both trust the process — but it’s got to be MY process — but also to find the right balance so that I’m enjoying the training vs. dreading it. I am really excited to experience it, I truly am — especially exciting because I’ll be experiencing it with you too!

  16. I totally get this. I personally tend to let marathons take over my life. But it works for me and I love it. I love training, I love running, I love getting ready for race day, I love thinking about my hydration and my fuel. It’s me. But that doesn’t have to be you. I’ve seen so many people train for and run marathons and still have a life. If you only get one 20 mile run in instead of 2 guess what? It won’t matter, you’ll still cross the finish line. Make barre your priority and the running will fall into place. I bet you find that once you start training your anxieties and fears will subside and you’ll find more confidence that you can do 26.2 miles! Way to be true to yourself!

    • You know what though? If letting it take over your life is fulfilling to you and makes YOU happy? That’s worth it and its the right approach for you. I totally dig and appreciate that. I also appreciate your advice about the training schedule itself and recognizing that its ok if I miss a run or two here and there — like you said, the most important thing is to build my endurance up through the long runs so that’s where my major focus will be. I also think you’re right that once I start training I’ll see that its not as scary as I’m thinking it’ll be and that I’ll actually have a lot more fun than I expect I will. That’s the hope anyway!

  17. Oh hunny, it’s PERFECTLY normal to feel this way. Seriously. I did when I set out to do my first one. It is a very scary thing, I’m not going to sugar coat it, or bust out the puppies and rainbows. Marathon training can have it’s ugly moments – running 20 miles is hard the very first time you do it, but you know what? Once you do it – you say, Holy sh*t I just ran 20 freakin miles. YAY ME!

    Stick with what you know, you don’t have to change your weekly run/barre schedule at all. Just your long runs, those are the MOST important. If you miss a lot of long runs then a marathon is going to be hard as hell. But I have no doubt in my mind that you will run each and every run, you will run proud, and you will run happy. I know you.

    Tell the self-doubt creeper if he sticks his head in your door again Im gonna punch him out 😉


    P.S. Don’t forget that I’m coming with you on some of these long runs so I can push your butt along and give you the confidence you need! 🙂 LOVE YOU!

    • Aww babe, thank you thank you THANK YOU for talking me down off the ledge. I have to say, I got really excited at the “holy sh*t I just ran 20 miles go me!” comment. I can’t even FATHOM what that will be like but it also really excites me to get to that point — 20 miles?? Crazy town! But also so very very cool — which leads me to believe that I still totlaly want this thing, as scary as it seems to me right now. 🙂

      PS I can’t wait for our training rundates 🙂
      PPS the self doubt creeper has been warned!

  18. Oh Jess! It’s totally and completely normal to have your doubts. There were so many times during marathon training when I had no idea why I was doing this and yes, you can be a slave to the schedule. I loved the process of training and loved seeing my body grow stronger and run miles I never dreamed of before but I definitely wasn’t one of those people who was completely hooked on marathons. And I’m OK with that. I think that it’s so important to be honest with yourself (barre comes first) and with that acknowledgement, you will make it work. Like Samantha said, the long runs are most important. You have the strength and running base. It’s getting your body used to the longer distances. One mile and one run at a time.

  19. Hmmmmm…I’m assuming you knew I’d have to comment on this. 😉 Jess, you’ve got this. I know you’ve got this. Geesh, if I can get to 13.1 you most certainly can get to 26.2. And I don’t blame you. I don’t blame you one bit for thinking the way you do, because it IS a scary thing. It’s not some easy peazy fun race. It’s hardcore, and you’re right: there are very “few” out there that attempt it. But see, that’s the beauty of it. It’s believing in yourself. It’s knowing that you control your mind and your body, and it will do whatever you believe it to do. I watched my course tour last night and about barfed. Where I thought it’d be like 5 miles, it was only 1.7. Time elapsed is not the way to view it. lol Anyways, you and me…different goals, yet the same. We’ve got this. Together. (And I don’t blame you for not making this a more than once thing.I feel the same way about a full. Maybe one full one day…but no desire right now. :)) I love you and keep doing what you’re doing. You inspire me always.

  20. I can imagine how overwhelming the thought of a 26 mile marathon would be but what a goal and I know you can do it! You have me in awe with your barre transformation and teaching so I know however daunting this marathon goal is, you’ll do your best.

  21. Nothing wrong with fear and doubt, so don’t condemn yourself for having natural, human emotions.

    What you do in response to the fear and doubt is the issue.

    Do you allow them to reduce you to a quivering slag heap or power through and fight on in spite of it?

    I think I know what you’re going to do.

    Good luck in the Marathon. I’m sure you’ll crush it.

  22. Pingback: Running towards 26.2 | EatDrinkBreatheSweat

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