Getting Tough

August 7, 2006    By: Kristen J @ 11:09 pm   Category: Life

For about a month or two my friend and I have been training to run a 1/2 marathon. Don’t worry it’s only a HALF marathon. I’m not crazy enough to attempt a full marathon yet and I honestly don’t know if I’ve got a full marathon in this old body of mine.

When we first started to run we struggled to knock out two miles. In fact, the first time we set out we ended up running about 2/3 of the way and walking the final 1/3. We’ve gotten to a point now that we don’t really start struggling until we hit our 4th mile. To some of you that may seem like child’s play but I’m pretty proud of myself for getting that far.

Not only has running been good for me physically but it’s also been good for me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Physically I’ve come to really enjoy being able to hit the road and push myself. Running to me is like being able to stand on a cliff and scream your biggest loudest scream releasing all of your tension and stress into the atmosphere.

It wasn’t always like that for me. I’ve run on and off since I was about 12 but it’s always been difficult for me to do it with any consistency. It has been painful and unpleasant, something I did to keep the chubby monster at bay. My form was bad, I was a wuss, and I didn’t have the right equipment.

The first thing I learned that helped me out was that shoes really matter. After doing some research I found the right shoe for me and my knees and legs have thanked me for it. Then I learned that form makes a big difference too. Running with your shoulders hunched and your arms flailing is not only ugly but it’s also very tiring.

Probably the most important thing I’ve learned is that good goals are not always easy to accomplish. Many times when I’ve run I’ve thought to myself, “I can’t breathe! I’m going to die! I can’t breathe! This really sucks!” and the whole thing was over before I could really even get started. Finally one day as I was giving myself this lovely pep talk I thought to myself, “Oh get over it Kristen. You’re not running for very long and you can breathe once you’re done running!” That one little thought changed my perspective and running became a lot easier for me (not that it’s really that easy).

The funny thing is that one little thought changed my perspective on a lot of things. In the past I’ve tended to give up on a lot of my goals when they became difficult. I’ve said things to myself like, I can’t read my scriptures tonight because I’m too tired. I’m going to be more frugal right after I buy this one thing that I really need (not). Oh, my healthy eating habits are starting right after I eat this bag of m&ms (ok, let’s not get carried away, I’m still working on that one). There are so many areas in life where this applies.

I guess the old saying is true, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Am I tough? I don’t know, but I’m sure trying to get going.

[Associated song: The Presidents of the United States of America – Kick out the Jam]


  1. Do you listen to music when you run?

    Comment by Susan M — August 8, 2006 @ 7:30 am

  2. I love to listen to music when I run but I haven’t so far because I’ve been running with my friend. When we start to hit the longer runs I’m not going to make it with out music so my friend will have to deal with a silent running partner. I’m sad right now because I can’t get my ipod to charge and I don’t want to spend money on a new one.

    Comment by Kristen J — August 8, 2006 @ 8:19 am

  3. What do you find is good to listen to?

    I used to listen to a song by Tool, “46 and 2,” it’s awesome cuz it talks about breaking through and muscle memory and stuff—easy to relate to running/exercise. Plus a song by Monster Magnet called “Powertripping” or something like that—it was very ego-centric–I’m better than everyone–kind of song. Fun to work out to.

    Comment by Susan M — August 8, 2006 @ 10:13 am

  4. One of my favorite songs to run to is the Presidents of the United States “Kick Out the Jam” is got just the right beat and pace. The problem with that song is that it’s too short. I’ll often hit repeat.

    I also like Wall of VooDoo’s “Mexican Radio” because it is just the right rythm for my running pace. Another one is Talking Heads “Same as it Ever Was” also for the rythm.

    I know those songs sound weird, it’s all about speed and rythm for me.

    Comment by Kristen J — August 8, 2006 @ 11:36 am

  5. I am not much of runner and I will never use the phrase “only a half marathon.” However, if I started running, I think I would want to run to something like Minor Threat.

    On second thought, I might not want music at all because I find my ability to ponder is greatly enhanced by walking. Maybe it would work with running as well. I can think a million times better if I am walking than if I am just sitting there on a couch or something, am I the only one?

    Comment by Jacob — August 8, 2006 @ 1:16 pm

  6. Running seems to be theraputic (sp?) for many people. Ryan at BofJ is in training for a marathon as well. He has some interesting posts on the subject as well. Good luck on you marathon/2.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — August 8, 2006 @ 2:10 pm

  7. My body is not made for running but I love to walk. Some friends and I have been walking for almost a year now and it makes a huge difference in how I feel. I know what you mean about the perspective. There is a very steep hill where I live and it took me a long time to get the courage up to walk it. I did a month or so ago and realized it’s not all that bad. I mean it was hard but I did it. I proved to myself that I could.

    Good luck with the training!!

    Comment by Jamie J — August 8, 2006 @ 2:14 pm

  8. I’m with you Jamie — I don’t like running unless there is a ball involved. But I have been going on 3-4 mile walks in the evenings this year and have really enjoyed that. It’s after the kids are in bed and I get an about an hour of guilt-free iPod time plus some exercise. I even get some ponder-time in (despite the music).

    And no Jacob — you are not alone. I think that a lot of us need some mindless/repetitive activity to occupy part of our brain to allow us to think clearly with the rest of it. It works the same with knitting and the like I think.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 8, 2006 @ 2:27 pm

  9. Dang Geoff! I was going to tell Jacob about knitting. Seriously talk about meditation and pondering, nothing is better than knitting or crochetting. Sometimes it works a little too well for me. In the middle of a session I’ll find my brain waves have slowed down so much that I need a nap.

    Comment by Kristen J — August 8, 2006 @ 3:12 pm

  10. I am with you Jacob. I like to pace back and forth if necessary. I used to run quite a bit when I was younger, and still walk a lot, although I would much rather play a good game of volleyball. My problem is that I need a piece of paper to write down my thoughts to get very far in any organized thinking process. Walking is great for when I am stumped though.

    Comment by Mark Butler — August 8, 2006 @ 10:05 pm

  11. Pleased to meet you.

    I’m in marathon training myself (although I’m kinda taking this week off — I changed shoes and my legs feel like nails have been driven through them), and what you say grabs my attention in a couple of spots.

    I learned a few weeks back that I can’t run with other people. I’m doing run/walk intervals, and nobody seems to want to do those intervals, and, if I try running with others, even if they go slower than I run, I get worn out. So I stick to my intervals, and I don’t get out of breath. Out of breath is a bad sign — it means you’ve gone anaerobic, and that’s just not sustainable in distance running. FWIW, my intervals are timed using the interval timer on my watch, and I’m running about 90 seconds and then walking 75 seconds, and then repeating. Every week, I add about 5 seconds to my running interval, and take away a second or two from my walking interval, and will continue to do so until I’m walking 1 minute. I’ll keep 1 minute walks from now on forever, but will continue increasing my running intervals as time goes forward.

    Have you looked into the Phedippidations Global Half Marathon in October? Which marathon are you training for?

    Comment by Blain — August 11, 2006 @ 12:56 pm