Dating and Fitness – The Two Have A Lot In Common

“I have a date tonight. It’s gonna be hot and steamy, and I probably won’t be able to walk after. In other words, I’m going to the gym.”

At this time in my life, I’m in the very early stages of wedding planning. Yay! Not for the planning and the wedding, but for getting married.

That moment you realize you never have to date again.

That moment you realize you never have to date again.

It’s true, I’m super psyched to be married. First of all, I love Chris. Obviously. Second, I’d like to have children soon and I’m somewhat old-fashioned in that I’d like to be married before that happens. And, let’s face it, at 32 years old, I’m past the point where getting pregnant will be as easy for me as finishing an entire Chipotle burrito.

And one of the best parts about getting married is… no more dating! Not that dating was so awful for me; in fact, I really lucked out and never had any dates so horrifying they’d win any sort of “Worst Date” story contest. Nevertheless, it wasn’t something I particularly enjoyed and I heard plenty of horror stories from girlfriends that only furthered that feeling.

As I tend to do with just about everything, I started thinking about what dating has in common with fitness. I actually found quite a few similarities!

The Internet Has Changed Things
I can’t speak from personal experience but it’s pretty impossible to be unaware of all the dating options available today via the worldwide web. For the times we live in now, Chris and I meeting the way we did (at a house party) is pretty rare – so many people now meet on the Internet.

In addition to all the different sites a person can join, the number of prospects skyrockets. Some of my girlfriends who’ve dabbled in the online dating world have said there’s no shortage of potential dates they have to choose from on a given week. But in this case, quality is not equal to quantity. As many suitors as they have to choose from, less than a handful are what they’d deem even potentially compatible.

Keep that in mind when seeking out anything fitness related on the Internet – whether that be nutrition advice, workout programs or a personal trainer. Anyone can post anything about any topic he/she chooses (Hi, I’m Lindsay. Welcome to my blog) and anyone can call him/herself a fitness expert, health coach, or any sort of title they deem worthy of what they’re trying to sell.

Just like with dating, be aware of what’s on the Internet. Be very aware.
What’s On The Inside Counts
We’ve been told this since kindergarten, yet, we’re all guilty of disobeying the rule in dating and regular life. When going on a first date, one has to keep an open mind, as physical appearances aren’t all that matters. First off, if you’re meeting someone in the way of the aforementioned paragraph, they may not look like their profile picture. Get over it, you might not either (c’mon, we all choose our very best photos to be our profile pics). Shift focus away from the outside and give the inside a good look. On that same note, and this is just some personal advice from me, don’t focus too much on your own looks during a date either. All that time you’re spending touching up makeup or taking selfies isn’t impressing the person across from you trying to engage in a meaningful conversation. Unless they’re equally narcissistic – in which case, please continue.

The same is true when it comes to fitness. People tend to get too caught up in how things look on the outside and take away focus on what’s happening on the inside. For example, many assume that a skinny person is healthy and a bigger person isn’t. This is often the exact opposite of true. From eating disorders to being the skinny fat guy, thin doesn’t always mean healthy or fit. Likewise, someone who appears to be overweight may not be – he or she may be muscular, something you can’t always see under shirts and through jeans.

Your muscles, bones, heart, stress level, they’re all living on the inside. True, you can see plenty of exterior results from working out (nicer skin, bigger muscles, fewer spots that wiggle) but it’s not all surface. The scale may not always reflect the good you’re doing for yourself, something fitness newbs tend to focus on too much. Finally, and I may burst some bubbles here, the time you’re spending taking and posting gym selfies? It’s not making you fitter. Neither are the videos of yourself doing curls or rows. So please stop it. Stop it now. 

Keep focus is on being strong, feeling good and being healthy on the inside. And don’t worry so much about the outside cover, it probably looks pretty good.

It took him a couple tries to get the hang of paddle boarding but now it's something we love.

It took him a couple tries to get the hang of paddle boarding but now it’s something we love.

Always Give A Second Chance
Most people aren’t their usual selves on a first date. Chris refers to it as having your representative out aka: trying to put your absolute best self forward. Sometimes though, the worst in people comes out on a first date, especially when those awkward silences hit. In an attempt to keep conversations going, some may come across too chatty or self-involved. Others may inadvertently overshare life experiences and reveal too many personal details too soon. No matter what a first date is like, it’s likely not going to be an instant love connection. So unless the guy/gal is a murderer, sociopath, doesn’t like dogs (I had to throw that one there) or something seriously awful, it’s typically a good idea to give that second date a chance.

Same is true with a new workout or program. Your attempt at running sucked? Sounds about right. First leg day left you nearly immobile for a week? Yep. New to yoga and felt like an awkward fool the entire class? Totally normal. The point is, like a person, developing a relationship with fitness takes a long time. It’s not going to be love at first sight. Give it another chance. Down the road, you may have to give it another. Fitness and relationships are both ongoing and require work, commitment and some TLC.

And finally, as the quote at the beginning of this blog states, when a relationship is really great, things will heat up. You’ll sweat. Your heart rate will go up. Blood will be pumping. And you may not want to get out of bed the next morning.

Fitness friends, do any of these experiences ring true to you? What other ways are fitness and dating similar? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Let’s Be Honest About the 21-Day Fix – It’s Bullshit

“I’ve been on a few diets because I can’t get enough to eat with just one”

What’s up with this 21-day fix craze? I’ve been seeing tons of social media posts about it, people showing their meals and accountability to the 21-day fix plan, which apparently promises to teach portion control and jumpstart your healthy eating plan.

21-day-fix

Pretty much!

Let’s get right to it here, I’m calling BS on this program and others like it. First, I hate that concept of “jumpstarting” a healthy anything – it implies going from zero to 100 in an instant. Healthy is a lifestyle; if you haven’t been living one, it’s not something you can change all at once and expect to sustain.

Second, the name itself just screams fad diet and easy “fix” (intentional?). Fad diets are just that – fads. Like crimped hair and fingerless gloves, society realizes they’re bogus, they go away and everyone who took part is like, “WTF was I thinking?” And a program that touts “lose 15 pounds in 21 days!” is a huge red flag. Healthy, sustainable weight loss is typically one, maybe two pounds per week; even less for a small person. Rapid weight loss means you’re losing some muscle too. But I guess trying to sell anything in the health and fitness world with the headline, “Lose weight slowly, without sacrificing muscle mass, and maintain over time with sensible eating and exercise!” isn’t sexy or appealing.

Always one to be open-minded, I welcome someone to explain this program to me. Like really explain it. Because I think I’m missing something big as to how this is A) teaching sustainable, healthy eating habits for the long term and B) allowing the body proper fuel for any sort of athletic performance in the short term. I wasn’t able to find out exactly how many calories a person eats or what exactly is the basis of the food plan; I assume that’s only revealed after the credit card is swiped. Based on the photos I’ve seen and the research I’ve done, I’m baffled as to how someone could eat the type of “meals” (I wouldn’t call 8 cucumber slices, 10 carrots, 5 rice cakes and 2 hardboiled eggs a meal but that’s just me) on this plan. For every meal. For 21 days.

Hungry and Angry is Hangry

And for how I acted…being hangry is no way to be.

Have you ever heard the word hangry? I’d be hella hangry if I tried to survive just one day on this “eating” plan (again, words seem to get thrown around pretty loosely with this program). Aside from being hangry, I’ve tried to wrap my head around how anyone could gut through a tough workout on this diet. I’ve had days where I’m so busy, I don’t take time to eat enough or properly during the day. And guess what happens? My workouts that evening suck. If I’m running, I feel like I’m slogging through the miles, no chance of any speedwork happening; if I’m lifting, I feel like I can barely rep my normal weights, let alone push myself hard enough to fatigue. No performance enhancements either way.

Speaking of that, I do believe there’s also a workout plan included in this program? I don’t know how intense a workout it is, if it requires endurance or heavy lifting, or if it’s actually mean to push a person to become fitter. But with an eating plan that’s primarily focused on cutting calories drastically, a typical person can’t expect to make any true fitness gains. The two just don’t add up.

Then there’s the aftermath. I’m having a hard enough time fathoming the 21 days – so, what happens after? If the name is any indication, you certainly aren’t expected to continue eating tiny portions of unsatisfying food and shakes beyond the final day of hell. Or, are you supposed to continue?

Maybe you’re so delirious from not eating, you’ve forgotten about food at this point. Maybe you’re supposed to not miss that thick layer of peanut butter on your toast (really, is that any way to live?) or enjoying more than 4 ounces of wine per day (the program boasts that you can drink wine – 4 whole ounces of it!). Maybe you get used to toting around fun, brightly colored boxes and ensuring anything you eat can fit into one.

Or maybe, and what really happens, is you remember how delightful it is to dine out without having a panic attack. How enjoyable life is eating real meals and treating yourself here and there. How much better workouts are when you’re properly fueled. And then you go back to eating like a normal person. In addition to the pics I’ve seen of people’s accountability meals, I’ve also seen a few of what people eat after they complete their 21 days – an entire pizza, ice cream, beers, basically a binge-fest. Good lessons being learned.

That brings me to the real problem I have with this. How is this truly helping us, as smart, capable adults? Have we become that out of touch with our own biological cues (eat when you’re hungry, stop when you no longer are) and simple common sense (come on, you know an entire plate full of pasta is excessive, do you really need a properly-portioned container to confirm that)? Are we really so impatient and desperate for a quick fix that we’re wiling to shell out more than $100 for a few pieces of tupperwear and a generic, one-size-fits-all exercise plan because we simply can’t take the time to figure out on our own what works best for us, each individual – with individual genetics, triggers, metabolism and priorities?

Running-A-Marathon

Do I look perfect in a bikini? Of course not. These moments are what drive me.

I do understand everyone’s goals and lifestyle aspirations are different. Just because my goals are to run faster and lift heavier doesn’t mean you want that. My lifestyle aspirations include not having to force all my food to fit into containers and enjoying a couple cold beers on a Saturday afternoon – that doesn’t mean everyone else is looking for that. I don’t want to be skinny; some people do. I’m happy having a little bit of a gut and thighs that can barely be contained by normal pants if it means not having to fight an uphill battle against my genetics. I love feeling strong at the gym and being able to lift heavier weights than some of the guys there (doesn’t happen often but it does happen). I love being able to say, “I’m not fast ‘for a girl’ – I’m just fast.” and back it up with my performance.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t all pay attention to what we eat and do our best to make good choices most of the time. I’m very conscious of what I eat; I realize when I’m making the right choice and when I’m making a splurge choice. I understand a splurge isn’t the end of the world, it just means I need to be strict going forward to balance it out. I know what a cup of pasta looks like, a serving of vegetables, protein and ice cream. I understand taking the time for a healthy breakfast every morning helps me avoid the tempting doughnuts in the office cafeteria. I’ve learned what I need to do, what works best for me to be balanced and successful.

I didn’t learn all this by reading one generic pamphlet and dropping a lot of cash on containers that are essentially just measuring cups. I learned by making a choice to educate myself, to track my food and understand what foods are going to help me achieve my goals. Every day, I pay attention to portions and serving sizes. I’m focused on being conscious, yet not obsessive.

I’m not gonna lie, it hasn’t taken me 21 days to get to this point – it has taken me years. I know, I know, that’s not sexy and appealing to most people. But a true, sustainable lifestyle can’t be made in 21 days. It just can’t. It has to be a long-term commitment. It’s all about balance, 365 days a year. Not a quick – or, sorry, 21 day – fix.

It’s like qualifying for the Boston Marathon; it didn’t take me just those few hours on race day to do that. Or a few weeks of regular running. Or even a few months of hard training. It look me years to achieve that goal. Failed attempts. Frustrations. Setbacks. Hard work. But, in the end, I did it. A healthy lifestyle is nothing different.

Am I being unfair to the 21-day fix? Is there something with the program I’m missing that truly promotes a healthy, balance approach to eating and quality exercise? Please comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Travel Workouts With Resistance Bands

“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.”

Something happened this weekend. Something Chris and I haven’t done for several weeks. We stayed home. We went out for a dinner date, got in some much-needed R&R, did a ton of stuff around the house, watched hockey and had solid gym sessions both Saturday and Sunday morning (I’m headed out right now to get my Sunday Sweat on!). That last part was probably the best feeling out of everything.

Lake-Vacation

Love.The.Lake

Living less than an hour from beautiful Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, and having the added bonus of all our parents owning lake properties, we’re spoiled in that we get to live at the lake every weekend from late April to early October. It’s peaceful. It’s relaxing. It’s fun. It’s also tough on the diet and workout routine.

I’ll often get up early on Saturday morning at the lake to run with Burton – however, the warmer summer weather limits the distance we can run (we both get hot!) and my famous hard Sunday lifting sessions go by the wayside. I do my best to work within my surroundings but it’s just not the same. Same goes for travel; I’m great about making time to get in workouts and making do with what I have with the hotel and nearby facilities, they’re just never quite as good as when I’m home.

As I prepare for a work trip to Montana this week, I was checking out the area and gym facilities so I could set up myself for best success. Cardio should be no problem; if there aren’t safe trails nearby, I always have the hotel cardio machines. But the weight room is always lacking, no matter how nice the hotel. Then, I started thinking about resistance bands and how convenient they’d be for traveling and working out away from home, lake or other far off place.

I’ve never worked out with resistance bands. When we talk lifting, I’m a heavy weights girl. But I feel like they could be a great option when away from home, so I’m looking to buy a couple and find some good resistance workouts. It may take awhile for me to experiment with moves and find good combos I like, but I have a feeling a blog along the lines of, “My favorite resistance bands workout” is coming soon.

In the meantime, I could use some advice – do you have any good resistance band workouts or moves? How about general tips to make workouts happen when you’re away from home? Leave a comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Natural Grocers Comes to Fargo!

“Skip the diet and just eat healthy” 

Health-Food-Store-Fargo

It’s finally here – Natural Grocers in Fargo!

Healthy eating is tough to define as a one-size-fits-all concept. Everyone’s body and genetics are different, and everyone’s goals are different. But there are some pretty basic principles all should follow like: Eat less processed foods and eat more fruits, veggies, lean proteins and low-fat dairy. Drink less soda and high-sugar drinks, drink more water. That type of stuff.

If you’re still unsure and you live in Fargo, you’re in luck! Natural Grocers is now open. I had the opportunity to attend a special sneak peek luncheon today with my pal, Mallory aka: @kjsfitmomma on Instagram. Side note, if you don’t know about her go to her website. Read her story (or the note I wrote her). If you’re having a day where feel like you’re not making progress, feel like it’s too hard to eat right or are just being a whiny bitch, get inspired by her and man/woman up!

Okay, back to Natural Grocers. This is unlike any grocery store I’ve ever been to, certainly unlike anything we currently have in Fargo. Beyond a huge variety of good, healthy food, it offers organic food (if you’re into that), gluten-free food (if you have Celiac disease), and a ridiculously large variety of vitamins, supplements, and health and beauty products.

Here are the highlights from my visit today:

Protein-Supplements

Protein – oh, so much protein!

1. NG’s mission is to offer products that are safe and healthy – as such, there’s a list of foods, supplements and health care items they refuse to carry (that could potentially eat into profits or limit clientele – you’ve gotta respect that commitment!)
2. Healthy cooking and informative seminars offered weekly in-store
3. Opportunities for certified employees to conduct demos and seminars in the community
4. Store employs a Credentialed Nutrition Health Coach
5. Employees receive above-average pay, great discounts and more unique perks
6. Fundraising drives are held that benefit local food banks and other non-profits
7. When you bring reusable bags, $.05 for every bag is donated to our local food bank
8. And – the big one – Affordable prices! (Mallory and I both did some comparisons with a few other local stores to confirm this.)

Healthy-Lunch-Fargo

Not until after I devoured most of it did I think to capture a pic of this delightful meal.

The only negative I could come up with? There was a pretty limited selection of fresh, grab-and-go type foods for lunch. That being said, I found a Greek-inspired lunch box of Dolmas, falafel bites, mini pitas and hummus. It was so good, I ate more than half before it dawned on me to take a pic of it.

If you go, keep in mind that the store’s commitment to green practices extends to bags – as in, bags aren’t offered. You must bring your own (and you should!) but if you do forget, there are recycled boxes you can use to haul your stuff. And, trust me, you’re gonna make a haul when you go!

Fargoans, feel free to comment or tweet me any questions about this exciting new store!! @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter

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Enough of The Dad Bod and Body Image Crap

“Are there any guys out there who are just normal?!” 

Body-Image

Presenting…The Dad Bod. Apparently.

The damn Dad Bod. I swore I wasn’t going to blog about something so stupid. I figured the rest of the world would realize how stupid it is and it would just go away quickly. But it hasn’t. It’s more popular than ever. The headline and photo of Jon Hamm (who apparently is the new poster boy for this trend) on the front page of the local Fargo-Moorhead newspaper last Thursday just reinforced that nonsense. So, here we go.

Here’s my problem with the Dad Bod and all the attention it’s getting – it’s normal. It’s not a phenomenon or some new fad of what’s the ideal male body type. It’s what normal guys look like. Guys who work, then make time to work out a normal amount. Guys who eat a normal amount and type of food. Guys who consume a normal amount of drinks (which, as we all know from experience, can be a lot on the weekends). Guys with normal genetics and metabolism. Just normal dudes being normal dudes – and now there’s a stupid trend the masses are trying to associate with it.

Do you know what’s not normal? Guys with 24/7 washboard abs and zero jiggle to any part of their bodies. Guys who eat only chicken and steamed broccoli, then get the rest of their calories from shakes and supplements. Guys who don’t allow themselves to enjoy a few cold ones with their buddies. Guys who take gym selfies and film themselves working out, and every one of their social media posts revolve around how awesome they were at the gym that day. Guys who can’t talk about anything other than what kind of protein they take and how much they squat. And you know they’re judging the shit out of you for not being as perfect as them.

That’s not normal. And, really, is that the type of person you’re most commonly surrounded with? Maybe I’m the one who’s out of touch with reality but that’s sure as hell not my normal.

Body-Image

Let’s be honest – Leo could wear a potato sack dress and it would be considered a hot new trend.

It seems Leo DiCaprio sparked this Dad Bod phenomenon after a picture of him was taken on vacation. I doubt Leo was trying to start a new trend or morph his body type into this desirable Dad Bod look. Guess what probably happened? Leo took some time off work and took a vacation. He probably started eating normally vs. eating for a specific role, maybe skipping a few workouts but still getting them in for the most part. That’s right people, it appears Leo’s just living life. Being normal. As amazing as Jake Gyllenhall looks in his new movie, what he had to go through to get that body isn’t normal. Reports I’ve read state he was working out hard 8-hours a day (with professional trainers and programs) and sticking to a very strict diet (likely put together by a professional dietician or sports nutrition expert). Normal people don’t do that.

Prior to the front-page article about the Dad Bod in last week’s paper (BTW, thanks Forum. Way to feed into the stereotype that there’s no “real” news to report Fargo, ND) it actually came up in conversation with my future brother-in-law and his buddies. We were settling in to watch the hockey game with a bunch of pizzas. Winding down a day of hanging out at the lake, playing yard games and enjoying beers. Somehow the Dad Bod came up in conversation and they joked how they were ahead of the trend, how they loved it (forget the fact none of them are actually dads, that didn’t even factor in). All normal guys. Guys who work hard, then make time to the gym and work out hard. Guys who eat and drink a normal amount. Guys who have fun and don’t judge how their friends look without a shirt on.

Not to burst their bubble, but I wouldn’t call them trendsetters. I wonder if they know that they’re just normal? Either way, I’m grateful they are so that I don’t feel like I can’t be myself around them – beer gut, bikini and all. Which brings me to the female angle of all this. I’ve seen a few articles bashing the Dad Bod for the sexist and unfair message it sends. Don’t worry, I’m not going to do that.

Basically, I don’t care what the Dad Bod means for women’s body perceptions. If women feel offended that it’s okay for a guy to have a normal body but they need to look like Barbie, that’s something they have to come to terms with. Me, I’m not waiting around for the “Mom Bod” (or some other equally-appropriate name that defines a girl, mom or not, who’s not a size zero) to be okay.

Mom-Bod

Okay so she’s not heavy – but I love my strong “Mom Bod”

For it to be cool to be fit, yet also have thighs that touch and an ass that pops out of a bathing suit. (I enjoy speedwork runs and leg days so, yep, I have a big butt and thighs.)

For it to be okay to have a little gut from enjoying a few drinks and not eating perfect all the time. (I’m guilty of both.)

For it to be acceptable to wear a bikini and not have a flat stomach. (I do. It gets hot at the lake. I’m not going to wear capris and baggy t-shirts all summer.)

I don’t care about all those things. Sure I have days where I feel insecure like everyone else but I’m pretty much just being who I am, trying to rock the body I have. And I’m not vain enough to expect anyone to spend enough time and energy focusing on me and my flaws.

What do you think of the Dad Bod? Will all the hype die down? Will it help shift realistic body images for men and women? Or do you not give a damn one way or the other? No matter your view, I want to hear it! Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.

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Looking For New Inspiration and Motivation

“Now What?”

For those of you who follow regularly, I know the blog has been sparse the past couple weeks. Not coincidentally, it has now been a full two weeks since my last big race and goal for which I was training, the Fargo Marathon.

This was the best feeling - I want it again!

Post-Fargo Marathon. This was the best feeling – I want it again!

For me, there’s always a window of time after the completion of a huge goal that leaves me a bit lost. I had been training for the Fargo Marathon for months – and, especially this year, was extra-focused on my goal. From precisely planning food and timing supplements to tracking weekly mileage goals and visualizing race day, I spent most of my waking hours focused on my goal. Now that I’ve achieved it (yay!!) and had a couple weeks to relax a bit, recover and take a break (mentally as much as physically!) from the intensity, I’m ready to get back to my regimented fit life.

But it’s not so easy as just getting back to the gym. I’m at that point where I have the feeling. The one I’ve blogged about before. The one that always happens to me (and maybe others too). The one that leaves me saying to myself, “Now what?”

What do I want for my next goal, my next focus, my next carrot dangling in front of me? As I’m trying to sort that out, I’m getting back to the gym and regular exercise, for the usual reasons. But I need something a little more, something to really push me. You would think swimsuit and shorts season would be enough but, sadly, it’s not. Sure, I want to look good in my bikini and feel worthy standing next to my superhot future husband but it’s the spirit of competition that really gets me into #beastmode at the gym and pushes me to my best. I’m not normal. I want competition and intensity. I crave that shit!

Hoping to mooch off other’s inspiration, please post a short comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 and tell me what you’re training for right now. What’s your goal, what’s motivating you? Thank you for the inspiration and – who knows – maybe I’ll find a new fit addiction (oh won’t Chris be thrilled?!).

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My Dream To Run – Well, First Qualify For – The Boston Marathon

“Dream big and dare to fail”

Dare to fail. What a concept. How often do we avoid trying things, not because we’re afraid of the challenge but because we’re afraid to fail? This could have been true of my dream to run the Boston Marathon – well, not so much running the race, qualifying for it.

For those who don’t know, the Boston Marathon isn’t one of those races a person just signs up for and gets to run. Everyone who wants to run this prestigious marathon (unless you’re a celebrity, wealthy or have some inside info I don’t know about) has to first qualify to earn a spot. I’m not sure when I decided I really wanted to run the Boston Marathon but about three years ago is when I remember starting my quest to qualify.

Two years ago, I made my first attempt to qualify at the 2013 Fargo Marathon. I didn’t change up my training or nutrition from years past and it was hot and humid on race day.
The outcome: I failed.

Last year, I attempted again at the 2014 Fargo Marathon. I focused more on speed work but didn’t change much else with my training, nor did I change my nutrition. I ran the best and hardest marathon of my life, enjoyed it and improved my previous PR by several minutes.
The outcome: I still failed.

That moment you realize you just qualified for the Boston Marathon.

That moment you realize you just qualified for the Boston Marathon.

This year, I attempted a third time at last Saturday’s Fargo Marathon. I pushed my speed work runs and my long run schedule, and made overall tweaks to my training plan. I committed to leg workouts every week – heavy leg workouts. I cleaned up my nutrition and focused on quality foods and supplements that would support my training and properly fuel my body. I sought out more outside advice from reliable sources and did more research on my own. I practiced my running strategy for marathon day with every longer run throughout my training.
The outcome: I succeeded.

On Saturday, I achieved my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon in a time of 3:30:49 (a sub-3:35 race is what my age group needs to qualify). I’ve struggled to sum up the feelings and emotion in a blog entry. I always assumed, if I ever did qualify, I’d know exactly how to describe it. Easiest blog I’d ever write! Not so much. Sure, words like ecstatic, proud, relieved and happy came to mind but I could go on with words forever.

I decided, rather than talk about how I feel now that I’ve achieved my goal, I’d use my journey to a BQ as an example. An example of how you can’t let fear get in the way of trying to achieve something big. I don’t mean that to sound like a really lame After-School-Special and I know it does. But I’m being serious!

Was it a dream to think I could ever qualify for this race? Absolutely. If you had asked me seven years ago, after I finished my first full marathon in something like 4:18 and change, I would have laughed and said that was never something I could do – but I’d still love to run another marathon.

This guy - he always believed I'd succeed. #lucky

This guy – he always believed I’d succeed. #lucky

When I decided to go for the BQ, for the third year in a row, was I afraid I would fail a third time in a row? I was terrified. I’ve never been so nervous for a run. But I wanted it so bad and, when I thought about not doing it at the start of my training this year, something inside me told me I had to. That it was worth it to try again. When I failed the first time, I learned. And I got better. When I failed the second time, I learned. And I got better. Even if I failed a third time, chances are I would learn something. And I would get better. Part of it came down to my determined attitude. The other half, a simple cost/benefit analysis. The outcome of succeeding would be the best thing and the outcome of failing? Well, it wouldn’t be the worst thing!

What dream have you gone after, knowing you could fail? Or (and you can be honest!), what dream have you held back from chasing because you were afraid to fail? Post a comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311. Then, face your fears and try! After all, what’s the worst thing that could happen?

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