I've never had any desire to run a marathon. In fact running is often something I feel like I should do or enjoy more than I actually do. It takes time, and let's be honest, I'm just plain slow. I enjoy lots of forms of exercise, running isn't on the top of my list.
But you know what I do love? Conquering things I initially think I can't do. That's what fitness is for me. It's the mental and physical battle that I can win. That I will win. Because I don't stop until I do. In fact if someone is telling me about something they've just done (Ragnar Race, physique competition, 1100 burpees) and my first thought is "hell no" my second thought is usually, "alright, let's go."
Just to loop you in, all of those things I mentioned above I've conquered. They were terrifying thoughts, but I did them. I'm here to show you how.
So here it is, my current Mt. Everest: I'm running the 2017 Boston Marathon with Horizon's For Homeless Children. That's 26.2 miles. MILES. Takes a bit of time in a car, takes a whole lot longer on two legs. Alright, let's go.
Quick pause on my story, I want you to think about what that metaphorical "Mt. Everest" is for you. It could be a physical challenge, it could be initiating a big project at home, or chasing that promotion at work, or finally deciding to take the plunge and go on a big freaking trip. We have lots of obstacles in our lives and they come in all shapes and sizes. Pinpoint yours. It probably came to mind the second you read this article title. It's probably why you clicked on the link to begin with.
Alright, now we've all got our current Mt. Everest in mind, how do we get there? Here are my 5 tips on how to get to the top. And hey, you can already check off #1, crushing this thing already.
1. Set a freaking goal. Write that goal down.
As I just shared, I am running the 2017 Boston Marathon. I know many people have run marathons, I've seen many people run marathons, I never thought I would be these "many people". But here I am, "training" in WINTER to run 26.2 miles. I hate winter, I don't love running, so why the hell am I doing this? Great question, brings me to my next tip...
2. Find your motivation, what's your WHY?
The Boston Marathon is iconic. Ask anyone in the running community or anyone remotely near Boston. It's the most electric day in this city. Most of the city has the day off (Patriot's Day) and spread themselves along the 26.2 mile course with signs, costumes, snacks, horns, and they support these crazy runners. It's the one day it doesn't matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you believe in, this city just comes together for each other. You see people of all shapes and sizes CRUSHING the mileage. Some fall and there's a fellow runner to pick them up. I've literally seen people be carried across the finish line by fellow runners. I have chills writing this. It's simply incredible.
So for me, I was walking through the Boston Commons on my way to work the morning of the marathon last year and seeing everyone getting ready, I had this overwhelming feeling that that should be me. I wanted to be a part of it, not just a passerby.
Make the choice. Participate in your life.
That feeling alone became enough of a WHY for me. It became something I just had to do. I have no desire to run just any marathon, but I have a NEED to run the Boston Marathon.
3. Tell anyone that will listen about your goal.
That thought process took about 90 seconds for me to get to the conclusion that I'm running in 2017. So halfway through my walk through Boston Commons on that very same morning I stopped and took this picture (a bit of a fraud I know, I wasn't actually running through Boston Commons for this picture, but had gone on a run earlier that morning).
See what I did there? I set a goal. I wrote the goal down. I knew why I wanted to get there. Then I shared it with the world, or my world. That was back in April, between April and now (Dec) I've told everyone I was running the Boston Marathon in 2017. There are going to be times when I doubt myself and my ability for my body to carry me this distance, and it would be easier to not do it then to participate, but my community will hold me accountable. Because in the end this is something I want to happen so badly, and something I will make happen, but sometimes you need a little extra outside support to remind you of your own goals and ability.
You also must be a cheetah to qualify for the Boston Marathon and have run a marathon before. Both are not true for me, I needed a team to choose me. It's competitive to find a charity team to run on, you have to apply and interview and hope you get selected. So up until about 5 weeks ago, there was a very real chance I was not running the Boston Marathon, but I had told anyone that would listen to me that I was. I could envision myself crossing the finish line. I was mentally preparing myself for the early morning, dark, numbingly long training runs. I had believed it would happen so fiercely that it did. I had told so many people this was happening, I starting having people ask me to apply to their team. I chose to apply to one, Horizons For Homeless Children, an organization I feel passionately about, and was lucky enough to get chosen. So in addition to my training I'm also on a quest to raise $9,000 any and all donations are SO appreciated.
4. Seek help. Believe it or not, people actually want you to succeed.
I need a lot of help for this challenge, because it's really now become two challenges: preparing my body and mind to run 26.2 miles, and raising $9,000.
Focusing on the actual running. I'm grateful to partner with Boston's first running studio, MYSTRYDE, for my marathon training. A kickass treadmill studio, with awesome classes focusing on speed work, endurance, core strength, intervals and community. The majority (if not all) have run the marathon before and are going to be huge assets to me over these next four months. I'll be training there once a week and sharing the workout with you all. I've already participated in some classes and I swear on my life 4 miles on a treadmill has never been so fun.
For my complete training I'm working with New York Road Runners, specifically Coach Steve, who created a custom plan for me. The beauty of this plan is it incorporates the current training I already do into what my milage should be, meaning I do tons of cross training now so while I'm not marathon ready I am physically ready for lots of other things.
5. Envision it literally happening. Then do the damn thing.
I briefly mentioned this, but I can actually see myself crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I can see myself high-fiving my parents on the sidelines at the top of heart break hill. I can hear myself chanting my mantra passing the halfway point, at 13.1 miles "You're strong Erin, be strong.". I can feel the chills and anxious nerves waiting at the starting line in Hopkinton, MA. I see it, I feel it, I hear it, it's going to happen.
Believing you can, is more than half the battle, it's the whole battle. The second you know you can, you will.
You have your goal. You know your why. You've told your community it will happen. They're going to be there for you when you need them. You'll reach out and ask for help, because people want to help you. You are not an island, we all lift each other up. And see it. See it and feel it and hear it so fiercely that you can't imagine it not happening.
Alright, let's go.
Join me on Instagram for the daily check-ins and progress @ebailey_fitness. #WithErin