Today started in the very best way. I woke up to an email from the Marine Corps Marathon letting me know that I had won a spot in the 40th Marine Corps Marathon this October. It will be my third Marine Corps Marathon and my fourth marathon ever.
Let’s just call it crazy when we see it: I am ECSTATIC to have nearly $150 taken out of my bank account so that I can run 26.2 miles and get a medal, a sweet shirt, and all of the bananas I could ever want to eat.
I may be crazy, but if I can run a marathon, then so can you.
The first thing people tell me when I share that I love running half and full marathons is “Wow! I could never do that.”
I’m here to tell you that if a marathon is something that seems impossible for you to complete, then it might just be a great thing for you to try. You heard me: YOU can complete a marathon, too. Even if you are reading this blog post, spoon deep in a pint of Phish Food. Even if you’ve never run more that two miles. EVEN IF YOU HATE RUNNING.
Meet 2012 Jen.
She was a little overweight, recovering from a breakup that knocked the wind out of her, and hadn’t run more than a 5k in a very long time. She was also going through her brunette phase, which she quickly remedied (post-breakup) with a great highlight job in Sarasota, Florida.
You guys. I was not happy. I felt like everything was out of my control. I ate a lot of M&Ms and I cried to my parents like it was a job.
And then, I did something crazy. I signed up for the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon, and I told my dad I’d train every day with him. I did this having completed two very slow half marathons, and very scared that I wouldn’t finish.
Running the Marine Corps Marathon in 2012 changed my life. I mean this literally and not in a way that should be taken lightly. I mean that training for and completing that marathon in 2012 gave me a whole new outlook on life. It changed how I approached situations. It pushed me to share my success with others. It made me discover that I am whole and powerful and unstoppable all on my own, and that I am capable of doing impossible things.
And so, I started doing other impossible things. I took up boxing and hot yoga, I lost 30 pounds in a few months, I lifted heavy weights, I competed in a Miss Virginia preliminary. And won. I ran two more marathons the next year, completed 12 weeks of races in a row, and finished a 5k in under 22 minutes. I placed top ten at Miss Virginia and was paid to speak at an event on body image for over 500 women. I ran a mud race and quit a job I hated and met the man of my dreams on Twitter.
If I can run a marathon, so can you. If someone who was never an athlete and had just hit rock bottom can pick up everything, train, and finish not one, but three marathons, then you can too. You can reclaim your life, sign up, commit, train your little tush off even when it’s disgusting DC swamp hot, and you can run/walk/skip/jump/cry your way across the finish line.
And when you do, you will discover that you are far more powerful, capable, and full of potential than you ever imagined. And just like it has changed my life, it will change yours. Once you have seen your unlimited potential, it’s very hard to rationally limit yourself again.
Maybe your marathon isn’t a marathon. Maybe it’s applying to your dream job, quitting everything and moving to the city you’ve always wanted to live in, or deciding to learn a new language or an instrument or a sport. But you know, if you wanted it to be a marathon, it could be.
I can’t wait to share my journey to Marathon #4 with all of you. Just in case you’re inspired, comment below or email me — we’ll find the perfect race for you to discover your inner impossibility crusher.