Zero to Marathon In 1 Year Flat

So I am sitting here writing this post thinking…WTF have I gotten myself in to?

Let me back up.

Sunday (4 days ago) marked the 25th Anniversary of the LA Marathon. Until this year, that would have really meant nothing to me. Don’t get me wrong, I deeply admire marathoners. I just hadn’t really thought too much about them because in my mind they were “out of my league”. They do run 26.2 miles after all! And I have never witnessed a race in person, though hear about them on TV periodically.

This year not only did I have friends running in it, but the course wound practically right past my front door, just before mile 22. One of my friends running was my neighbor, Shannon. She plays a significant role here because she recently coerced, uh I mean gently persuaded me to join our neighborhood run club. She and I are spinning buddies, but I have always told her I hate running, so she smartly only mentioned the club once in a blue moon…until I joined no doubt.

So, a slight (very slight) curiosity about running has been developing over the last few months. But nothing could have prepared me for this week’s whopper of a decision! Yes, I have committed to running a marathon! Let’s discuss.

Sunday I walked down to my neighborhood Lululemon store that hosted the mile 22 80’s cheering dance party. Folks, this is RIGHT up my alley. So me, my neon pink sparkle skirt, green retro glasses with attached earrings and pretty in pink flip flops had the time of our lives dancing and cheering on the runners as they passed. What I didn’t expect is to feel is, well…feelings. I thought I was just in it for the cheesy music, energetic rah rah’s and the occasional sip of champagne. But as life would have it, I had a tremendously deep, personal and opening experience. And the beautiful part was that I wasn’t ready for any of it.

As the runners began to pass, a sense of intense admiration welled up inside me. Every part of my being was cheering them on, and each of my dance moves for them showed my enthusiasm. I was SO proud of them that I could barely stand it. And they were happy! Actually happy as they passed, and were fed by the sound of the music and our voices. At mile 22? This was astounding to me. I pictured people dropping left and right by that time.

Then IT happened. In the midst of an attempted break dancing sequence, I had a flood of my own beliefs pass right before my eyes. And I realized I had a CHOICE whether to buy into them or not. These runners cruising by were waking me up to my own self-imposed limitations. I had actually bought into the belief that I could NEVER run 5 miles, let alone 26.2. And even if I did happen to run, I would hate it, my body would break down, I would fail, etc, etc. Geesh, no wonder I’ve avoided the sport all these years.

I started thinking to myself, “If I have all these beliefs just about this one thing, imagine how many I have about life in general”. Wow. Wake-up-call.

I went home from the marathon that day feeling so exhilarated and inspired, and I began to literally feel belief after belief fall off me. The freedom in that is almost inexplicable. I became curious to find more illusionary beliefs to challenge and question and extended my gratitude for the realizations I was having.

So, here’s how it went after that. I kept this all to myself Monday and let my inner world grow and prosper, and actually process the events of Sunday. I felt a strong push to say YES to this inner journey…so did. I completely began to see that running a marathon for me is probably 95% mental and 5% physical. And I started translating those statistics to anything in life I have had “fear” of. It’s almost as if my mind was beginnign to re-program itself.

By Tuesday, I made a scary (and let me reiterate scary!) yet freeing decision to run the 2012 marathon. In fact, I made it real by tweeting it out to my friends at Lululemon and making it my status on Facebook.

Ok @lululemon, I’m gonna run the 2012 LA marathon. Just decided! This will b my 1 thing a day that scares me 4 the next 2 years! LOL ;) 4:14 PM Mar 23rd via TweetDeck

See how the time says 4:14pm? Well, by 6:15pm that same day I was at run club and found myself volunteering to run the 4.5 mile course as opposed to the “safe” 2 mile one. WHAT? Who was speaking those words? I thought I didn’t really even like running! Not only that, I vowed to myself that I was going to enjoy the experience and actually relax with each step.
And I did! Who is this new person?

By 7:30pm a few friends of mine encouraged me not only to run the marathon (with them), but to do it next year in 2011 instead of 2012. Yowza! Alright-y then! I say YES! I can do it! Now don’t think I am any less afraid here. I am just choosing not to give that part of myself the energy, because the part of me that DOES know I can do it is much more interesting to me now.

And today I changed my tweets and FB status to match the even more, as Lululemon stated, “big hairy audacious goal” to solidify the new 2011 reality.

I share this story because this is an insightful community of people who are looking inward to create from the heart, not the mind, and I feel you can relate to aspects of this story that are “between the lines”. Whatever your “marathon” may be, I encourage you to say YES and follow what Lululemon says….“Do one thing a day that scares you”. It certainly is freeing and worth it.

I intend to spend the next year blogging about the inner and outer journeys of preparing for the marathon, which is a daunting 361 days from today. It won’t always be pretty, but it will be my “yes”.

I leave you with my favorite sign held by a spectator on Sunday:

Glad the marathon is only 26.2 miles.
26.3 would be CRA-ZY!