running

The Joy of Running in the Back of the Pack.

Running a half marathon is a huge accomplishment for anyone who does it. There are people in the front, middle, and back of the race. Do you know what goes on in the back of the pack? Sit down. Let me tell you the joy of running in the back of the pack.

I ran a half marathon on Memorial Day. It was my third half marathon.

One thing that has been the same in all my half marathons is that I am a solid back of the pack runner. I start my races in the back and I finish my races in the back. I am well acquainted with waving at the front runners as they pass me on the other side of the road. I can see their faces. I see the focus. I see the determination. I see the drive.

I have never been in the front of the race so I can’t really speak to what it’s like up there. I’m sure it is so exciting. Hearing the cheers as you achieve some incredible time must be enough to keep you floating for days. Seeing all that training pay off must be a reward like no other.

What I can do, though, is tell you what it’s like running in the back. I can tell you about what I see and what I experience. I can tell you what a joy it is to run in the back. 

I can tell you about the focus, determination, and drive.

It takes a ton of hard work on and off the road to finish a half marathon (13.1 miles) in just over an hour.

It takes a lot of focus and determination to run the same distance in 3 or more hours. While the front-runners are eating their bananas and rehydrating, My peeps and I are just starting to hit our sweet spot. We’ve only done a third of the race.

I remember talking to a fast runner after one of my previous half marathons about how much respect I had for how fast he is. I told I couldn’t imagine being that fast. He responded with, “No, I have so much respect for YOU. I can’t imagine being out there for so long and never giving up. We need more of that.”

I can tell you about the stories.

One of the benefits of being a slower runner and hanging out in the back of the pack is that you have ample time to get to know each other.

There are plenty of people who want to be alone and zone out to their music and that’s okay. And there are others who are more than happy to engage. If you are willing to engage with them you can hear some pretty awesome stories.

I have heard stories of incredible weight loss, overcoming cancer, grieving the loss of a loved one, coming out of depression and anxiety, and health scares that can jerk anyone into healthier living.

These are the stories that will get you wondering why you didn’t start earlier.

They make you think about how small your seemingly big obstacles really are now.

These are the stories that tell you that you really can do anything and now is the time to things done.

It is an absolute honor to run in the back.

It is an honor to be in the presence of real-life superheroes.

I could tell you my own story of overcoming depression and making the choice every single day that I am worth the effort to get up and go running even if just for today. But, let me tell you. Those other stories in the back of the pack will bring you to your knees.

I can tell you about the community.

It is like a family in the back.

Just like we tell our stories to each other we also take care of each other. We all know the struggle of being out there for so long.

We know the pain and the frustration. We also know the determination to not quit.

If you are in the back you will hear plenty of, “Come on. It’s only X miles to the end. You’ve already gone Y miles.” Or, “Give me one more mile. I know you’ve got one more mile in you.”

You’ll see strangers wait on the side of the road while someone they just met that day is throwing up or just needing a break.

Finishing times aren’t quite as important in the back. It’s more about just finishing the race.

Isn’t that what life is all about? It’s more about the journey than the finish?

We help each other have the best experience possible.

Running a half marathon is a huge accomplishment for anyone who does it. There are people in the front, middle, and back of the race. Do you know what goes on in the back of the pack? Sit down. Let me tell you the joy of running in the back of the pack.

I will tell you about the competition

In the back of the pack, the competition is with no one but yourself.

The pressure is off.

No one is trying to be the first, second, or 50th place. It is all about finishing and overcoming something.

You are pushing past the leg cramps, labored breathing, and dehydration and accepting nothing less than a finish.

And everyone around you is in the same place as you.

This is when the personal mantras come out to play and you hope and pray that TODAY mind WILL overcome body.

And since the back of the pack is a community, we help each other because we all have that same goal. We aren’t competing with each other. We are competing with ourselves and helping each other.

There is so much HEART in the back of the race. Click To Tweet

I can tell you about the finish line.

Goodness. That finish line. It is amazing.

You have been thinking and dreaming of that finish line for 2.5+ hours.

That moment when the finish line of your imagination that propelled you forward becomes the finish line in front of you is indescribable.

The big crowds are probably not there because many have gone home already. And that’s okay because you can hear your family cheering you on. You also have the new family that has been with you every step of the way that day. You celebrate the journey together. You high five, fist bump, sweaty hug, and celebrate. It has been an awesome day of mind over body.

When the race is over you go home to rest and recuperate. In moments of incoherence, you dream of your next big challenge and you think about the awesome people you’ll meet at that next race.

And you smile.

Because we back of the packers have got to stick together. The true spirit of the race happens at the back of the race. And who would bring that if we didn’t?

 

 

Running a half marathon is a huge accomplishment for anyone who does it. There are people in the front, middle, and back of the race. Do you know what goes on in the back of the pack? Sit down. Let me tell you the joy of running in the back of the pack.

 

Running a half marathon is a huge accomplishment for anyone who does it. There are people in the front, middle, and back of the race. Do you know what goes on in the back of the pack? Sit down. Let me tell you the joy of running in the back of the pack.
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Journal Entry: Writing And Running A Marathon


2018 is rapidly approaching and I couldn’t help musing about my top two goals for the new year. I spent some time journaling about it and would love to share. 

I’ve heard it said, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

This has been said to me so many times that I’ve lost count.  I thought I knew what it meant then but it’s not until now that it is making more sense.

You see, I’m going to run my first marathon in 2018.

I made a promise to myself a long time ago that I would finish a marathon before I turned 40. I am just 14 months away from turning 40.

Running a marathon has been on my bucket list for probably 20 years already. I can’t really explain exactly WHY I want to cross that finish line. I just know that there is something deep inside me that says I will always have unfinished business if I don’t run a marathon. I think God has some work to do with me while I’m training.

Could it be that it is more about the training than the finishing? Click To Tweet

So, I have signed up for a marathon to be run in November 2018. That gives me a year to build a base and then ramp up mileage.

Running long distance requires great discipline and focus.

It means putting in the miles when the weather is perfect and when the weather sucks (i.e. cold and wet or hot and humid).

It means getting out of my comfort zone.

It means growing grit and not running away from discomfort.

It means early mornings or late nights of just getting the time on my feet.

It means always coming back even when it hurts. 

It means sucking it up when I just don’t feel like running.

It means my head clearing as soon as I start moving and then learning something new about myself by the end.

It means creating a mental place where I can be lost in my thoughts and work through it all.

Being a marathon runner means that I CAN do this and all my excuses can be damned to Hell where they belong.

It is a perfect pairing that 2018 is also the year that I am diving head first into WRITING.

The parallels between running and writing are astounding. Click To Tweet

Why?

Being a writer means putting in the time at the computer pounding the words out.

Being a writer means early mornings and late nights.

Being a writer means embracing the discomfort.

Being a writer means putting in the time so that I can reach word count goals.

Being a writer means working hard for a finish line that I can’t even see yet but knowing that it is there.

Being a writer means working towards that finish line knowing full well that it isn’t really a finish line after all. It is merely a stepping stone to achieving bigger and greater things.

Being a writer means being comfortable with mining through my soul and giving voice to my deepest thoughts and feelings.

Being a writer means opening myself up to what God wants to do while I’m “out there.”

Being a writer gives me an outlet for all the thoughts I have while I’m outside chasing after that marathon. (And Lord knows, there are plenty).

Being a writer means going after goals even when it sucks and hurts.

Being a writer means leaning in when it’s hard instead of giving in to comfort.

Being a writer means I am growing major Grit.

Being a writer means that I CAN do this and all my excuses can be damned to Hell where they belong.

 
 

 

 

Stock Image Credit:
lucas Favre

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How To Conquer Those HUGE Goals

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.)

Starting a blog is hard.

Running a marathon is hard. 

When I started this blog, I had no idea how much was involved.

I knew that I needed to invest in some coaching this time around. I’ve started blogs in the past but I had zero ideas what I was doing. ZERO. I figured I could bootstrap it and figure it out along the way. In some ways that is true but I am determined to make this blog work. I have a stronger vision and much bigger goals.

So, I bought coaching and it has helped me a ton.

Even with that said, I am still shocked and sometimes overwhelmed about how much there is to grow a profitable blog.

Pinterest to Freebies.
Opt-ins to Twitter.
Producing Products to E-mail marketing
The list goes on and on and on.

Once I got through the awesome course I bought, I realized how big the blogging world really was. Holy Moly Sweet Jesus.

How in the world will I learn all of this?

Here’s what I’m doing. I’ve taken a play from my son’s homeschool playbook. 

EASY + 1

You can relate this to blogging or training to run a marathon .

Here’s how it works.

You see a project or massive goal that you want to attack. It is HUGE and honestly, quite overwhelming. How in the world will you ever get it done? 

You are right. There is no way you can do this where you are right now.

But, you CAN do it by moving one step at a time and challenging yourself bit by bit.

The EASY in this formula is all the things you already know how to do.

It could be that you already know how to post basic blog articles or that you can walk a mile pretty easily.

Keep doing the easy things, putting one foot in front of the other.

But, doing the EASY things like posting basic blog articles and walking for a mile will not get you to a profitable blog or running a marathon.

You have to CHALLENGE yourself. That’s where the +1 comes in.

Don’t stay where you are. Do the easy and take it up a step.

Easy + 1 gets the job done.

Let’s look at a couple scenarios to drive this home. 

Scenario #1

You know how to post basic blog posts. By all means, keep putting out quality content on a regular basis.

Remember, bloggers are writers first. 

Now start adding graphics that you created in places like PicMonkey or Canva .

Got the pictures under your belt? Can you make quality pictures quickly? Yes?

Now your Easy is a basic blog post with awesome graphics.

Add another tool to your “Awesome Profitable Blog” toolbelt. 

Don’t stop there!

Keep making your basic blog posts with awesome graphics.

Then, start sharing those blog posts with awesome graphics in Facebook Groups.

To do that you need to figure out which groups are best for you and your niche, join them, and figure out the atmosphere in there. This will take some time. This is your next +1.

You will be creating basic blog posts with awesome graphics that you share in your favorite Facebook Groups.

Keep doing that, bit by bit, until you have a profitable blog.

Take the Easy and +1 it with each new and challenging step. You WILL get there.

 
 


 

 

Scenario #2

You can only walk a mile at a time but you have this HUGE dream to run across a marathon finish line. (*author waving hand*)

It seems impossible right now. Well, that’s probably because it is impossible….where you are right now.

That’s okay. Don’t give up because it’s impossible now. 

Keep doing your one-mile walk.

Then add another half mile. Do that till it’s easy. And repeat.

Start adding in small bursts of running. Do that till it’s easy.

Lengthen the small bursts of running. Do that till it’s easy.

Increase how far you run each day.

Next thing you know, you are running the marathon (26.2, BABY!!).

That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Okay, yes, it was hard but you tackled it the Easy + 1 way.

This is exactly how I am facing this massive world of profitable blogging AND running my first marathon.

I am not there yet but I am tackling each +1 and adding another tool to my toolbelt with each step.

This method really helps those feelings of being overwhelmed at conquering HUGE goals. Just focus on each new challenging step, step by step, and eventually, you’ll get there. 

In the meantime, your job is to work with diligence and to always pursue that Easy + 1. Click To Tweet

 
 


 

Stock Photo Credit:
Joshua Earle

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