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It’s All Relative


Credit: mansionwb

Credit: mansionwb

First-time marathon training changes a lot in a girl.

The ol’ body starts responding in new ways (I’m  happy to report that even though I’m not weighing myself any longer, I have noticed dramatic changes in how fit my bottom looks), you pretty much plan your Saturdays for only running and eating, and you start obsessing over the weather (read: 3 hours on the treadmill or outdoors—I’ll take outside any day). You also start to say—and BELIEVE—crazy things like, “Oh, I can have a glass of wine. I only have to run 7 miles tomorrow morning.”)

See, marathon training teaches you the power of relativity. Sure,  my definition isn’t nearly as complicated or life-changing as Einstein’s, but it’s totally true.  What used to be a long run for me before I started training now seems like a measly jog around the block. I only have to run 4 miles? My goodness! That’s like a blink of the eye these days. And, somehow, running 15 miles now seems like a perfectly sane way to spend a Saturday. When before, I’d think someone was crazy for ruining a perfectly good weekend morning that should be used for sleeping in, eating pancakes and drinking espresso. Thank goodness I have friends and family in my life who remind me darn near every day that what I’m doing really isn’t sane at all.

But, like I said, it’s relative.

While the thought of running 26.2 miles in just five weeks still simultaneously terrifies and excites me, it doesn’t seem that far off anymore.  By gradually running more and more over the past 10 weeks, I’ve retrained my body—and mind—as to what’s “normal.” And, to be honest, I kinda like this jacked up sense of normalcy because I’m enjoying it. I’m seeing my endurance progress, and I’m watching myself change from an exerciser to a runner, complete with the right gear and the right mindset. I can do darn near anything if I really work at it.

When you change your thinking and your behaviors, you change your reality. And when you get right down to it, the sky—or the finish line—really is the limit. I like to think that Einstein would agree. —Jenn

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  1. Tanya says:

    How exciting!!! I totally agree that with becoming fitter, things you thought of as impossible now seem like … why didn’t I do it sooner 🙂

  2. Kristen says:

    Lady, I couldn’t agree more. I’m training for a (MUCH) shorter race, but I’m still doing runs that, a few months ago, would have sounded like torture. I did 6 yesterday, and I still tailgated and had some beer the day before — no sense of impending doom or anything! And, you know what? It was totally fine. I mean, sure, I’m running for an hour, but I’m kind of enjoying it, which is probably the craziest part of all …

  3. I completely agree!! I LOVE that my new “no excuses” threshold is 10 miles. And yes, on long run days, literally all you do is run and eat!

  4. Lizzy says:

    Woot! Woot! Cognitive-behavioral thinking can work on anything, even 26.2 miles 🙂 To quote an equally revered hero of our time, Thomas the Train, I *think* I can, I *think* I can, I *think* I can!

  5. Great post. It’s all relative pretty much works for every aspect of life. Glad to hear your marathon went great. 🙂


  6. katrina m says:

    this is similar to how i felt when i was training for my half. yes i only went half the distance you’re going, but i still did one 13 miler just to see if i could, and multiple 8 milers… and i was so proud of myself. i have fallen far off the healthy lifestyle bandwagon since my half, but hopefully i will be getting back on there soon!!

    GO JENN!! 🙂

  7. Anastacia says:

    You INSPIRE me!! I decided to train for a 1/2 marathon (after just finishing my first 8k-yay! me). although I am nowhere near your accomplishment, this is a HUGE accomplishment for me…I was the chica who could barely run for 4 minutes before collapsing!!

  8. Chelsey says:

    This post is so inspiring! You go, Jenn! 🙂

  9. Lydia says:

    I can totally related to that.
    eg. Checking weather all the time.
    eg. It’s only 8 mile run.
    There’s one more thing – I wear a GPS when I run, I can tell exactly the distance between my home to any cross-street within 5 mile radius around my house.

  10. Angela says:

    Great post, and I totally agree! I just ran my very first marathon in October 2009- and I went through those same empowering feelings of spending Saturday mornings (/early afternoons) running for hours! Sounds crazy, but boy, did it feel great!

    …of course, then there’s the other side of the marathon! While recovering, I kept searching my “Map My Run” site for short runs…but everything I had labeled “short” in the past 3 months was wayyy too long for my poor, tired legs! It was definitely a 180 difference!


    Good luck in 5 weeks! I went out too fast, so I can warn you firsthand that that is NOT the way to run your first 26.2-miler! Enjoy every second, soak up the enthusiasm of the crowd, and write a post about how it went!!!

  11. Thanks for this post. One of my goals is actually to run a half marathon and there is no doubt that thinking positive and taking action are key. By the way, love your blog!

    Thanks again,

  12. Terra says:

    I’m only training for a 1/2 marathon, but people think I’m crazy when I start saying my short runs are 6-8 miles. I remember when I started running, almost 2 yrs ago, and 3 miles was a real struggle. The lesson to be learned is that you can accomplish any goal if you decide that you want to badly enough. I’m doing my second 1/2 marathon this October. I’m looking forward to some cooler training weather. Good Luck!

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