finished the 1/2
WARNING! This will be a longer post than normal. But it’s one that is personal to me.
How many of you have been told (even by yourself) that something is impossible? There’s something that changes inside of us and it transfers into all areas of life, when you prove them (or that voice in your own head) wrong.
For me, this came from a decision to run a ½ marathon 2 years ago. I’ve never been athletic. Never been what you call in-shape. And never had a lot of body confidence. But my journey to 13.1 miles changed me – and not just physically.
Dec 31, 2014
My friends laid down the gauntlet. “Let’s sign up for a half marathon in Nashville. It will be in April. We’ve got plenty of time to get ready.”
Jessica already had two marathons under her belt. Tessa and Kadra were already miles ahead of me in both running and fitness. Both of them had won age division awards in 5K’s. My fastest 5K had been 41 minutes. And I’d never ran one straight without walking breaks.  I was 44. Ten years older than the rest of my group.
I was literally nauseous the day I clicked the link to register for the half. It took me two hours to actually hit the submit button. But here we are. I selected a name for my race bib- sheer will. Because I knew that was what would actually get me to the finish line.
Jan. 4, 2015
I downloaded a training app. I made it 3 days and hit the first roadblock. Sick – throat, ear infection. Still managed to get on the treadmill for a bit because I’m determined not to get behind. I know we signed up as a group, but I know it will be an individual effort. I’ve got to find it within me to push past the fear and not let failure catch me.
The finish line is just the beginning of a whole new race for me. The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you. Be fearless.
Jan. 5, 2015
Workout night. Fun, even though I’m still cruddy. Have lost my voice. Used a deck of cards for the workout. The heart cards were burpees. I love burpees- says no one ever.  Great irony Jess. Made it through even though I really just wanted to come home. We have such a positive group.
Jan. 15, 2015
Killer workout of night. Already feeling the burn in my butt. Went to the track tonight – getting off the treadmill. Figured that will be better for the run anyway. I’m determined to follow the plan and make my best effort at the 13 miles. Signed up for a 5K in March. Will be a good test to see if I’ve improved. Down 2 lbs this week. Scale hasn’t moved in a while so that was a nice surprise.
Jan. 18, 2015
Added the indoor track. It’s so much different than the treadmill. More like the road. Having a hard time getting the six workouts a week in. I’m not a morning person. So I can’t see myself ever enjoying a 5am workout. Working on my meals. Making breakfast cups – kinda like muffins, so I have things ready to go.
Jan. 19, 2015
Got 5 miles in today. 50 minutes at the track. Then another 40 minutes before the workouts. Add a Kyle workout on top of it and I’m done for the day. I feel good about the effort and I ate good.
Jan. 24, 2015
I’ve started week three of the training. 50 minutes is the most so far. Later this week I move up to 62 minutes. I can’t wait for it to get easier. Not so painful every day. My knees and hips make me feel every one of my years right now.  But I still have that feeling of accomplishment. It’s never been my character to do this kind of thing and stick with it.  Doubling up the training – the regular workouts with the running- has been hard. But I made a promise to myself. I intend to stick with it.
Jan. 28, 2015
Today was killer for me. Had a horrible night at the track. Legs felt like concrete. Hurt. Painful. Slowest times in a long time. 18 1/2 min for a mile. Dejected but trudged through the whole 62 minutes.
Jan. 29, 2015
Leave for Atlanta tomorrow. Taking my sorority women for leadership training. Packed the sneakers. Treadmill probably.  Thought tonight would be better at the track. Got in a slow 3 miles.  Icing my calf tonight. Pain still in the hips. Added stretches and foam roller. It’s been a rough week physically and mentally. But I’m not giving up.
Feb. 4, 2015
I went to the chiropractor today to see about the pain in my hip and legs. He says it’s not a new problem and he thinks he can help. The muscles that attach the hip to the spine are pulling it out of line. My hip is tilting out due to that and he thinks that’s what is causing the pain. Also worked on my neck to help sleeping and headaches. I thought it was odd when he asked if I had stomach issues. He said my alignment can cause that – and I’ve had my fair share.
Made it through the meeting without blowing the diet and still no soft drinks. Made sloppy joe sweet potatoes last night. Been missing Carolyn these last few days. Not sure why. It’s been 7 months since she died. Just reminders everywhere. I’m stronger than I think, braver than I know.
Feb. 7, 2015
I don’t know what’s been wrong with me. Been going to chiropractor all week. Seems to be helping. Cried all morning and I’m not sure why. I made the decision to meet the girls for a long run today. I was so worried about holding them back. So much negativity in me. Had coach Jess right by my side and my other two encourages right there too.
In the end, it was painful but not unbearable. 6.33 miles averaging 15:09 min/mile
I did half of the half. In a couple of months the full thing will be in reach.
Iced the hip twice. Another appointment Monday. The Mr. Mister song “Broken wings” was playing in the jeep on ride home. It spoke to me. Yes, crying again. We’re all broken in some way. We’ve all got to find that inner strength to fly again.
You can feel sore tomorrow or you can feel sorry. There’s no giant step that does it. Just lots of little ones. It’s the lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges.
Feb. 12, 2015
Last nights chipper WOD
100 butterfly abs
90 overhead walking lunges
80 kettle bell swings
70 cal row
60 tire slams/ each
50 ring dips
40 split leg lunges
30 burpee tucks
20 GHO abs
10 man makers
Had a killer headache today. Really fought it. Hoping it wouldn’t turn into a migraine.
Hate clippers!!!!
Split lunges hurt the hip.
I didn’t feel accomplished when finished. Just worn out. Next week will be tough. Got a conference so will have to figure out making time. Don’t want to get behind.
Feb. 15, 2015
Headed to a meeting. Will miss our group workouts but will use the hotel gym. Gonna really work on the running. The hotel has a roof track. Maybe the weather will be nice. Hip better. Still some pain, but way better.
Feb. 23, 2015
So the last week has been kinda like a reset for my mind. I think you hear what you need sometime. Listened to Kevin Ekols and he reinforced what started a couple of weeks ago for me on that 6 mile day.
You’ve gotta get that negative talk/feeling out of your mind. You can do anything you set your mind to and work for. What you speak becomes. Only I can decide how I am going to feel.
So my mirror now has the phrase “I am strong enough and fast enough,” written on it. The same phrase is on a card attached to my monitor at work. I repeat it to myself throughout the day. This weekend I got 4 miles in – each under 15 minutes. Tonight I deadlifted 100 pounds and push pressed 55 (30 times).

I am strong enough.

I am fast enough.

I am pretty enough.

I am smart enough.

I am enough.

Feb. 24, 2015
4 miles under an hour!
Sore as rip from last night but still did it!
Feb. 27, 2015
Did the 5k route for next weekend on lunch. New glitch. My feet are falling asleep. It’s hard to run when you can’t feel the bottom of your feet!
Shoes? To tight? To small? Who knows?
March 4, 2015
Moved up to the 35 pound kettle bell tonight. Back already hurting! Lol!
Brutal workout tonight – 10 rounds
Burpee lateral jump
Push ups
Overhead squat
Dumbbell thrust
Atomic sit-ups
Kettle bell swings
Got 2 1/2 miles in beforehand.
March 7, 2015
Brittany Shep Pugh 5K today
Best time ever for me – 40:56
March 14, 2015
Youth tour is this week, so diet and exercise was all off course. Yet, still managed an 8 mile run/walk. 8.3 miles in 2:03:45 (avg pace 14:54). I’m excited with that. Walked most of 7 and 8 but kept up a good pace. Hip sore tonight. Gatorade and water. Rolled feet and hips. Did this run alone. Just me and my music and my mantra – strong enough…fast enough. Short, quick, short, quick. I say that over and over in my mind reminding me to take short quick steps.
March 21, 2015
Having to skip days due to work and meeting schedules. But loved the feeling of improvement today. 3 miles averaging 13:26 pace.
March 24, 2015
New shoe day. My old ones are wearing out. Got refitted. Same brand- BROOKS GHOSTS. But moved to a wide width. Added an insert because they said my heel flips out on my right side. Said that could help with the hip too. Tired them out with a 2 mile run/walk. Tired legs today but shoes felt good.
March 28, 2015
10 miles today!
2 1/2 hours
Today sealed the deal for me. I really think I can make the 13.1 miles. I was tired but not beat by the 10 miles. Tried out the stingers for taste. Worked ok. Ate about an hour before (breakfast casserole). That did good.
April 11, 2015
Had a 7 1/2 mile walk/run today. Worked the hill again. Did 6 on the hills last weekend. Really works on my hip and hammies! Kadra and Tessa came over today. Of course they left me in the dust but always keep coming back to check on me. It’s two weeks before Nashville. Rolling, stretching and chiro!
Sitting on ice packs and now have one wrapped around the knee! But I will make it through and to the end!
April 18, 2015
One week from today is the half. Excited and nervous. I’m alternating between both all the time now. Can’t believe that it’s almost here. When I signed up 4 months ago it seemed like I had forever. Finally found a pain management device that is working thanks to Alyson. Aleve loading – 4 a day then 2 a day until race day. Seems to really help. Trying to figure out what to pack. Electrolyte, chews, socks, who knew! Got in 4 miles of hills today. Kept it under 14 minutes each. Best time for me on them yet.
Printed off all my race info, waivers, registration, parking. I can’t imagine 35,000 people going this. I can’t wait to get there and get finished!
Strong enough, fast enough — my goal 3:30:30
April 21, 2015
T-minus 12 hours until the road trip to Nashville. Weather forecast not looking promising. But no matter, we’ll persevere. I alternate between excited, nervous and just ready for it all to be over with. Played golf today and enjoyed it and the sunshine. Can’t believe I’m this close to doing a 1/2 marathon- me! Friggen journey through hell.
I’m lucky to have had people by my side through this whole process. Loving me every step of the way. Pulling me through some of them. No matter the time the watch shows Saturday, I’m proud of how far I’ve come.
But dear God….please help me finish!
April 24, 2015
It’s the day before the run. Been in Nashville since Wednesday. Did a lot of site seeing. We’ll finish it together. Headed to the expo to get packets. Worried about the weather. But at this point, it’ll be whatever it is!
April 25, 2015
Left this morning around 5:30 am. Ended up walking about 2 miles to the start. Traffic was crazy downtown. Can’t even begin to tell you what starting in a sea of 35,000 was like. Colorful. Controlled chaos.  Loud. Friendly.  Music on every corner. Everyone cheering you on. So much local support in the neighborhoods.
They had signs that said…
But did you die?
You trained for this but my arm is killing me from holding this sign the past 2 hours
You’re the (shit emoji)
Burpees and running!
So many people along the course cheering you on. Kids handing you lemonade and water. Bands. Signs and posters. Melissa was my perfect companion. She pushed and was encouraging along the way.
Someone should have told us you needed to practice using the bathroom in sweaty running gear in a porta potty. You should practice grabbing water cups along the route.
That awesome feeling of crossing the line at 3:22!!!!!!!!!!
Even ahead of my 3:30:30 goal!
New 13.1 magnet for the car.
Finishing with food and a concert. Going to think about the rest before putting it on paper. Wouldn’t have believed this a year ago.
April 27, 2015
So I’ve had a couple days to soak in the 1/2 marathon. I really still can’t believe I did that.
Mile 12 became mental when my legs stated cramping. But I pushed through it.  Melissa pushed and encouraged me all the way through. Such a great atmosphere. All those neighborhoods. All those signs. The music.  It all made your focus on the event, not the steps you were taking.
The hills were killer. Not even gonna lie about that. Who the hell does a Nashville half as their first one?
It was fabulous feeling crossing that line. Under my time. Way under the time I originally signed up as. It’s still hard to think of myself as an athlete or runner – but I am.  I trained. I hurt. I pushed. I cried. And I finished.
Am I done? With running more than a 5K? Maybe. Come too far to quit. I’m not where I want to be. Still love to drop 30 more. But I’m not focused on that right now.
It’s more about the steps of the journey. The belief in yourself. The knowledge you can accomplish things that didn’t seem possible 12 months earlier. The idea that nothing is unattainable. I’m still a work in progress. And I always will be.  That’s ok. I don’t have a deadline on being the best me. I’ll always challenge myself and grow.
To choose not to means we’ve quit living. And I’m not done yet.  (Stiff still! Rolling! Stretching!)
So what does this story have to do with anything? If nothing else, it’s to remind you that your story grows with you. It’s evolving and changing.
Once you prove to yourself that you can beat the “impossibilities” you set for yourself, it opens you up to believing that in so many areas of your life. So I’ll ask you one more question – what is the work/goal/idea that you’ve been told is impossible? Now, go out there and prove “them” wrong.
Believe in you – yes it’s a skill you can improve
Self-confidence, by definition is a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities or judgment. Many people say you are either born with it or you not. I would argue that it is a skill you can improve with just a little work.
When you begin to believe in yourself, you change the thought pattern from doubt to a feeling you can accomplish anything no matter what adversity stands in your way. That belief can begin with just simple self talk. Wake up and look in the mirror and tell yourself ‘you can and you will.’ Or pick any mantra that feels right for the situation. But start each day by telling yourself you know you’ve got whatever comes your way.
With repetition comes belief. The more you do, the more you will believe you can do. Each win or success will build on the last. Celebrate those wins. Make mental notes of why they worked. Use what you learn on your next project or idea.
Don’t let failure stop you. How many people do you know bail on an idea or dream just because it doesn’t work out on the first try? Grow from it. Learn from it. Pick up the pieces and try again.
The world is filled with enough people who will tell you you can’t do something. Don’t join in the choir. Turn off the negative talk in your head. Each time a negative thought creeps in, stop and replace it with a positive.
Finally, share the skill with others in the workplace. Catch a co-worker doing something amazing. Comment on it. Share their win. Improvement comes even faster when good is recognized. Quit just pointing out the flaws and watch the motivation and morale of your workplace improve.

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