Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Journey to Race Day

Approximately twenty seconds before crossing the finish line on the field of Autozone Park.
Memphis, TN. ::: December 3, 2011
Photo Credit: Chris Coons

"Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction."
-William James

I am filled with glee to report my first marathon finish. Tackling a marathon was never something I thought was in my reach as a runner. After finishing my first half marathon in Cleveland this past May, my confidence grew. I began to think differently about my physical abilities and limitations. In July I nervously revealed to Chris my desire to join him in Memphis to run the marathon. A few weeks later we signed-up for the race, and I made out my training schedule.

Throughout my training I had serious doubts about completing the race. At the beginning, I had issues with my left IT band, and pain in the ball of my left foot. With the increase of my weekly mileage, failed workouts became common. My asthma and severe fall allergies interfered with scheduled runs. I would set out on a six mile run, only to return to my apartment after a mile and a half because I couldn't breathe.  With each roadblock, thoughts of quitting would arise. But as with most of life, I didn't want to go down without a fight.

I clung furiously to moments of joy and excitement that arose on my training journey. My speed increased on shorter runs, and my form radically improved. I began to understand my body's needs. I understood when it needed rest and when it needed to be pushed. I completed my three hardest weeks of training injury free and happy. Heck, I even began to really look forward to hitting the pavement three to five days each week. My body transformed. Muscles strengthened. Endurance improved.

Mentally, I felt a shift. Running was no longer just a way to stay in shape or find common ground among peers. It became the time in my day to find clarity. It became a metaphor. My approach to running mirrored my approach to life. Thus, I could see my strengths and weaknesses in and out of my running shoes more clearly.

Reflecting upon this weekend, I can confidently say participating in the 2011 St. Jude Memphis Marathon proved to be an amazing experience. I can also confidently say, the race journey not race day changed me the most.

Over the next week I will focus on allowing my body to heal. Yoga, warm showers, a pedicure, hydration, lots of sleep, and good food will all be a part of my recovery. Then, I will lace up my shoes again and define where my feet will take me next.

I am filled with glee to report my first marathon finish. I am filled with glee to report that it won't be my last.


{More race day photos and reflections, as well as a peek into my adventures in Memphis to come! So be sure to check Underlined and Bold for further updates this week!} 


  1. Congratulations!!! You pushed through months of tough training with honest hard work, and you were rewarded with a great race. So happy that I got to see it all unfold.

  2. And this is a fantastic description of the process. The ups and downs of the transition from doubt to confidence. From a view of running as a chore to an embrace of running as joy/strength/release.

  3. Shoot, no one is supposed to look THAT GOOD twenty seconds to the finish line! Congrats! It's inspiring to hear about your training when I'm at the beginning of mine and am already ready to give up and eat chocolate.

  4. Congratulations again on a great accomplishment! This is a great reflection of your journey. Can't wait for more.

  5. Awesome to see how dedicated you are when you set a goal. You set a great example for others to follow!

  6. You all are super sweet!

    And I almost forgot... Chris thanks for taking such an awesome action shot! (I'll put a photo credit on there fore sure)

    @Liz (aka storywrought) - you're training for a marathon!!??? I want more details my lady.

  7. Great job, I am so happy for you! Congratulations to you and your determination!

    xo Jmoksha


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