The Road to Marathon Training is Littered with Heartbreaks and Triumphs

January 16, 2017   /   byrunningwhilevegan  / Categories :  Running

    4th of July, 2016. Photo via BlacklistLA

“Running REALLY has changed your life, hasn’t it?” – Erin Clemens (my sister)

I’m on my way to an LA Marathon training program orientation that my running club, BlacklistLA, is hosting. All I can think is, “how did I get here? How is this happening? How am I going to pull off 26.2 miles?” It’s a chilly night in mid-November, and I have been signed up for this race since early summer. But that was back when March 2017 seemed like a lifetime away. Too far away to take seriously, or really believe would happen. Plus, by March, surely I would be a strong enough runner that it’d be doable. Other people do it all the time! My boyfriend has three marathons under his belt!

October, 2016. Photo via BlacklistLA

But seriously, how did I get here? Eight months ago I was nursing a broken heart with a steady stream of vodka, breaking only long enough to get myself to work and back to my studio apartment of despair. I hadn’t been in a relationship for a decade, and then at 34, five months into my first adult relationship, I believed I’d sabotaged my only chance at love, and a couple days before Valentine’s Day no less. Sure, he made me miserable, but aren’t relationships supposed to be work? Compromise? Not always laughs and smiles? Or maybe even hardly ever? So I laid in bed and tried to drink him away, myself away, my loneliness and failures away. The only problem was that six months prior, my sister and I had signed up for a half marathon. A Disneyland half, the kind where you need to sign up almost a year before the event because they sell out! The kind that are so expensive, it would hurt too much, financially and then mentally, to not show up. So, I had that hanging over my head. I had never run more than 5 miles before, and in a few short months I was supposed to run 13.1? I hadn’t been eating, I wasn’t sleeping, and I drank that reality away too. It was a dark, dark time.

Me, after my first 3 miles in months. I walked about half of it

Eventually I got up, and started doing my Yoga With Adriene workouts. I finished her Yoga Camp series, which I had quit halfway through when the shit had hit the fan. I put on my old running playlist and struggled through 3 miles. I started to feel like myself again. I only had about two months to train for a half marathon! I upped the milage every week. I walked when I had to, but I just needed to get the feeling of what it would be like to be on my feet for two hours. Mind you, I work as a pastry chef, so I’m always on my feet, but that’s standing! Not running! (Ok sometimes running, but not for two plus hours STRAIGHT!!!!)

Mugshots

We did it. My sister and I ran it, we ran it side-by-side and we held hands crossing the finish line. That was the day I decided to put all the sadness and disappointments behind me and start living again. To be brave, try new things, and definitely keep running.

My Instagram friend and acquaintance, Mike, ran with a club called BlacklistLA. At a beer festival the summer before, he tells me I told him I was “totally going to go running with him sometime” via Blacklist. I probably did say that. I was running a few times a week back then! I’d signed up for a half marathon! I wanted to be a runner! I wanted more vegan friends in LA, a city that can be tough for newbies (Then again, aren’t they all? It did take me two years to make solid friends in Chicago.)

After the half, my sister told me she had a friend who ran with “a group called BlacklistLA”, and maybe I should give it a try? “Yea sis! I know of that group!” So I hit up Mike via IG for the first time in awhile to see when he showed up, but our schedules didn’t lend themselves to the same nights. So I showed up alone on a Wednesday night in May, for seven miles. And I kept coming back. I adjusted my work schedule for the freedom to go Mondays and Wednesdays. I made new friends. I got faster, and stronger and…happy. Mike and I got closer. AND THEN WE GOT MARGARITAS AFTER I RAN A 10k, AND I TOLD HIM I LIKED HIM AND NOW WE’RE TOGETHER AND WE STARTED A BLOG ABOUT RUNNING AND BEING VEGAN AND LIKE MY SISTER SAID “Running REALLY did change your life, didn’t it?” She was overjoyed I picked the vegan runner with the smile, because she and her husband had been secretly rooting for us from afar.

So now I’m on my way to a marathon orientation. Four days ago I ran my second half marathon. I got this. I totally got this. (OMG WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?)

Marathon Orientation! Photo via BlacklistLA.

 

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