Now that I have officially signed up for my very first marathon, I have had a few friends and coworkers ask me how and the heck I have gotten to this point. Three years ago I blindly set out for my very first 5K race. In less than six weeks I will cross the marathon finish line. How did I get here? Support. Lots and lots of support.
If I could give any advice to a new runner starting out, it would be to seek out people who support, encourage, and inspire you. I know that I would not be running today if it was not for the love and support of certain people in my life. Taking on a new goal can be intimidating, scary, and challenging, but if you have the right people in your corner it really can make all the difference. Having someone to ask questions to, vent to, rave about an awesome run to, or compare war stories with (hello, missing toenails!) makes the journey that much better.
Here are some people in my life who are helping me to the finish line:
My Husband Joe: He is my handsome Italian whom I love more than words could ever express. He is the first one who encouraged me to run with him. He often uses tough love, telling me to suck up the pain and push harder, but he is also there with the loudest praise when I succeed. If he is not racing with me, he is always there cheering me on.
My Best Friend Esther: Esther was a highschool track and cross-country star who still loves to run in her adult years. Last year she ran The Kalamazoo Marathon and totally rocked it! She is always there to give me encouragement and advice. A conversation does not go by without her asking me about my training and her telling me how proud she is of me.
Team Transformers: The support that I get from my run group, Team Transformers, is unparalleled. They are there by my side every Saturday morning as we tackle double-digit miles. Cramp in my leg? They will slow down with me. If I forget my fuel, they will offer me some of theirs. I am feeling mentally blocked, they will give me a pep talk. If I lose my key during a 10 mile run, they help me find it (and this is a true story!). I love every member of my run group! I feel that all runs are possible with them by my side.
Blogging Buddies: The plethora of knowledge that I have learned about my favorite hobby (running of course!) from fellow bloggers is amazing! If that wasn’t cool enough, the support and encouragement among running and health bloggers is the cherry on the sundae! I love that we can bounce ideas off one another and trade tips and advice. I also love the encouragement that I have received from each one of you and the inspiration that I draw off of your success stories and runner highs.
FitFluential Run Group: Thru this Facebook group I have discovered my favorite running headbands, the benefits of compression socks and chocolate milk, and how to properly recover after a race. The tips and tricks in this group are endless, but so is the support and love! There are virtual high-fives and “Great Jobs!” galore. A huge thank you to Jess at EatDrinkBreathSweat for introducing me to this awesome group. :-)
The Kalamazoo Running Community: I am blessed to live in a community that is MOVING! Getting off the couch and getting active is contagious in Kalamazoo, MI! 800 runners showed up to Run Camp this year to work towards a goal of a healthier life. Here is a great article on that called, “Kalamazoo gets up off the couch and gets moving” . What I love the most is the support and encouragement that you find on the streets of Kalamazoo. “Nice job!” or “Looking good!” is commonly shouted out from one runner to another on the road. Lots of waves, smiles, and thumbs up are given. It’s like we are all in this together and having so much fun in the process.
There will be people in your life who might not understand your passion for running. They might even tell you that it is ‘bad for your knees’ or that it is ‘unnatural to run that many miles’. There will be people who might not understand your hard work or sacrifice. There will be people in your life who will give you a sideways glance if you say the word ‘fartlek’. That’s okay. Not everyone is going to understand your wild and crazy love affair with running, but make sure that you do find at least some people or a supportive group who do. It makes reaching for that goal or crossing that finish line a lot more fun and the journey a lot easier.
Where do your find support, advice, and encouragement when it comes to running and fitness?