Goals, Running, Self Awareness

Overcoming Challenges

The 2019 Vermont City Marathon was unlike any other half marathon I’ve run. This half marathon was the first time I had ever run a 13.1 mile race while pregnant. I completed the 2019 Vermont City Half Marathon almost 15 weeks pregnant!

In the lead up to, and completion of this race, there were 2 periods of time when I had to overcome challenges – first, 1 month before the race and then again on race day. This is how I overcame these challenges:

It wasn’t until the end of April that I felt physically ready to get back into running after a 4 week hiatus (thank you first trimester symptoms). I struggled with self doubt about my ability to properly train for a 13.1 mile race in one month. Luckily, my body was fairly accustomed to the activity. It was about consistency and putting in the effort to not only build back some strength but to also shift my mentality. Every run, whether a 3 mile run or a 10 mile run did just that; strengthened my body, relaxed my breathing and gave me the confidence that I could do it and I would do it. I overcame this challenge through consistency and pushing through my doubts.

The second challenge hit me hard on race day, just past the 10 mile marker. My legs that had felt strong and light for the past hour and 20 minutes suddenly felt like they weighed 1000 lbs., EACH. With that heaviness, the effort to keep moving at a running pace was brutal. Then came the mental monologue: “well, if you just stop and walk you’ll probably feel better.” Excuse. “You’re already slowing down, you might as well walk.” Excuse. “Do you really think you can run 3 more miles like this?!” Then came “Vivian”, the name I have given that evil voice that sometimes creeps into my head. The one that knows how to derail my successes better than anyone. I wavered between agreeing with her and believing in myself. I know with 100% certainty that if I allowed myself to slow down and walk, the end of the race would be even more of a grind. I knew if I gave in to Vivian and her script of negativity that my armor would weaken and it would be 100x more challenging to overcome her in the future. So how did I overcome this challenge? I kept running. I changed my mental monologue from one of judgement to one of compassion, empathy and encouragement. “Yes, people are passing you but you’re still running!” “I am light.” “I am able.” “I can do this.” “Push, push, push!” Shifting my mental monologue took effort, focus and self awareness. Then I was at mile 11… and then mile 12… and then mile 13 and I was still running!

This half marathon was unlike any other half marathon I’ve run. Not only because I was pregnant but because I have never felt so strong, fast and capable (both physically and mentally) before. With the exception of my cheering squad, it was me out there, just me getting through the ease and the challenges one step at a time and today I am so much stronger because of this race.

I finished this half marathon in about an hour and 52 minutes – about an 8:33 minute per mile pace.

We will have challenges from time to time and all we can control is our attitude and our effort toward them.

How are you overcoming your challenges? Are you?