December 7, 2019
Yep, you read that title right. I started out walking two miles. And seven months later, I ran a half marathon. And I am not a natural runner. AT ALL. The farthest I had ran in my life was a 5K. I was the person who set out to run a mile and was dyyyying a quarter mile into it. So why running, right? Well, it all started when I was 30 weeks pregnant.
I hadn’t exercised consistently for a while. And after listening to enough Jenna Kutcher and Rachel Hollis, I got fired up and decided to change something. I made a goal to run a half-marathon in 2019. I decided I wanted to do a half because I knew it would be hard for me. And I wanted to prove to myself that I could do something hard. I have big goals as a Utah wedding photographer. And I knew that if I pushed through and didn’t give up on this goal of running a half that I would be better able to push through and succeed in my goals as a Utah wedding photographer too.
So January of 2019, I started “exercising” every day. And at 30 weeks pregnant, it basically consisted of getting off the couch for 15 minutes a day, but hey, I did something. I had my baby, and once I had the green light for exercising again I started walking. I started out with only 1-2 miles. Once I felt up to it, I tried to run my first mile. And I about died. I was sure I had almost gone a mile, so I looked down at my armband and my phone said… 0.25 miles. Woah. I had a looooong way to go. I gradually upped my run each week by a half mile.
I remember the first time I ran longer than I had ever run before. It was my four mile run. And I was so beat. The only thing that kept me going was the piece of cake I promised myself I could have ONLY if I finished. Desserts were my motivation a lot of the time. 🙂
Then there was the six miler. Out in the blazing sun. I stopped probably every half mile because I was utterly beat. I would run through a sprinkler in a field and keep going. Then seven miles. When we slept in. And it was August. So we packed up our kids and at 10am went to the only place in town we knew of with shade and ran. And ran. And ran. My boss of a husband pushing the stroller the whole time (I don’t know how he did it!). We brought a spray bottle with ice water and would douse ourselves every so often so we wouldn’t get heat stroke or something. And the only thing that kept me going was Rachel Hollis yelling in my ears that I did not have permission to quit. Thanks Rach.
Eight miles? We ran in the dark. Bryce got off work late because he was working like crazy. We had to squeeze the run in and it was the best day for it. So we packed up our kiddos and ran into the night. It was pitch black when we were done.
Nine miles. I remember running the last mile and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Literally. It was stuck on there. I was so invigorated and excited that I had actually made it nine miles on my two legs.
Then there was 10. It was Conference weekend. So I put in my headphones and listened to hymns and talks. And it was actually one the the most invigorating runs I’ve ever had.
Then 11. On the day of my 11 mile run, family had come to town and were all going to lunch. But I knew I had to do it. So I missed a lunch with family to run. And run. And run. I ran slow yet steady. It was the day before we moved out of our little home. I ran around Logan Utah where I had lived for the past six years. And I ran. Past our old apartments. Past our alma mater. Past the hospital we had our babies in. Past the temple where I had gone so many times and shot my first wedding as a Utah wedding photographer. Past so many places and memories. And I reminisced. And I cried. It was the perfect end to our time there. When I ran 11 miles, I knew I could do it.
Race day came. We bussed up to the starting line. It was so cold. We tried to warm up, but there’s no warming up when your muscles are that cold. We went into the masses and ran past the start line. And ran. And ran. And ran some more. Adrenaline is an awesome thing. Mile 4 came no problem. I remember when it used to take everything I had to run that far. All the way to mile nine I was doing great. Mile 10 and 11 were tough. I saw people around me stopping to walk, and I wanted so badly to join them. But I didn’t. With Lauren Daigle pushing me on, I kept running. When I got to mile 12, I knew I could finish. I didn’t even hear the music blaring in my ears as I grabbed my sweetheart’s hand and we ran around the corner and through the finish line together.
I’ve never been so exhausted and felt so accomplished at the same time. (Except maybe giving birth 😉 but there’s no epidural in running…) I set out to prove to myself that I could do hard things. That I am able. And I did. But what I also learned, that I wasn’t expecting, was that I could do hard things with God. Every single run I needed Him. I would pray before I ran for grace and help to keep going. When I was running and felt spent, I would pray for strength and energy to go on. Sometimes I could feel it immediately, sometimes it was more gradual. But I know that the only reason I ran this race was because of the grace I received from my Savior. I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
I ran roughly and 11 to 12 minute mile. That is slow. And I came in basically last in my division of 19-24 year old women. And you know what? That’s okay. Because my goal was to run a half marathon. To run the whole time and finish in under three hours. And I did. Your goals may be different than mine or your friend’s or your sister’s, and that’s okay. What matters is that you show up and do your best.
I heard once that no one likes running. And I agree. Because I don’t like running. I love the way it makes me feel.
(*Note, this is not an approved plan by experts by any means. It’s just the plan I made for myself that worked for me.)
*This article contains affiliate links.