Chicago Marathon 2011. The race has been run. The memories are forever.
Now what? Currently I'm sick. A bad enough cold [or some other cold-ish illness] to feel like crap and tired but not bad enough to stay home from work. A few days rest is all I need.
Race recap and photos coming soon and a new giveaway sponsored by The Run Home, beautiful hand crafted fitness inspired jewelry.
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Please welcome my friend as the next guest author for Fitness, Health and Happiness Guest Series. I could easily write a whole post on Jennifer. If you look up determination in the dictionary you should see a picture of Jennifer. She truly never gives up and her accomplishments are a testament to that. She is also a great source of motivation. We've been through injuries, frustrations, and successes together. Jennifer is such a wonderful person. One of the kindest people I've ever met. And, she totally gets the idea of running a marathon to train for a marathon! ______________________________________________________________________
First, let me tell you a little about myself. About six years ago, I came to the realization that I didn’t like myself. I was extremely overweight, under a lot of stress at my job in public accounting, and I didn’t exercise at all. I decided to do something about it. It didn’t come fast or easy, but I found a way. At first I just wanted to like myself. I started to swim each day, do the elliptical, and even do some weights. It was not easy, but I knew I was onto something. I began to see results. I knew I was doing something for me and me alone. Because, if I couldn’t be my own champion, who would? I began eating better, writing down everything I ate, weighing myself each day, and recording my workouts. The stars aligned for me because I lost 70 pounds along the way and found myself.
“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow.” Orison Marden
Shortly after that my work sponsored a local running race and offered to pay the entrance fees for anyone who wanted to run it. It was that 5k race that got me started running again after 20 years. See, in my senior year in high school a friend convinced me to run high school cross country: Not because I was athletic – I was not, but just for fun. Remembering cross country from high school, I began training for my first 5k as an adult. After that race, I quickly wanted to see if I could run a 10k. In 2007 I ran my first 10k – the most I had ever run in my life. Me! This was the same kid who used to wear a t-shirt growing up that had a running logo on it with a circle around it and a slash through it. I was amazed with myself. Soon I was running 5k’s and 10k’s almost every weekend. It would not be long before I moved on to half marathons in 2008.
“Hard things take time to do. Impossible things take a little longer” Percy Cerutty
In 2009 I accomplished what I would have said four years earlier was impossible: I completed the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. Yes, me. It still amazes me.
Why do I run? What motivates me? Some days I don’t know the exact answers to those questions. Other days I would say because I want to see if I can. I will never be an elite distance runner. I was not blessed with a runner’s physique or athletic genes. But I was blessed with determination, perseverance, and the willingness to work hard. I run to clear my head. I run to relieve stress from work. I run to feel better about myself. I run to feel that fullness of heart or pride that I feel when I’ve done something I previously thought was not possible. I got that feeling when I lost the weight, when I ran that 5k, when I ran my first 10k and first half marathon, and when I crossed the finish line of my first marathon.
“Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do to now – and do it.” William Durant
Jennifer's single step was "I decided to do something about it." See. She is amazing. And it's not only the weight loss that makes her so. It's her commitment to making the not so easy changes of being active and eating healthy. It's her whole attitude once she decided to START TODAY!
Jennifer is a new blogger. Visit her blog, Start Today, and say hi.
I heard this on a Nike YouTube video, I Believe In the Run. This is my new favorite words that inspire.
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Today, please welcome my friend, Rhonda, author of Motivation Mama Drama. Do you have an online friend that you've only known for a short period of time but it feels like you've known her forever? Or a friend that you've never actually met in real life but it feels as if you have? That is Rhonda. Oh, and by the way, Rhonda is my running hero! I'm looking forward to meeting Rhonda in person for the first time, for our girls only weekend to run the Chicago Marathon 2011!
In May 2010, I was an average 35-year runner. I finished most races in the middle of the pack. I always had strong determination, but lacked the athleticism to accomplish the number one goal I had as a marathon runner – to qualify for The Boston Marathon. Everything changed when my friend introduced me to the concept of writing down my goals and I was able to achieve what I once thought impossible.
My husband and my sweet boys are my love and my passion is fitness and staying healthy. I keep my family at the forefront of my priorities and I believe in always living life to the very fullest of one’s potential. I am focused, diligent and driven and am incredibly empowered by achieving goals. Running is what gives me peace, clarity, and focus. Running is a part of who I am.
“If you knew you couldn’t fail, how big would you dream?”
Without dreams, we cannot aspire to be more than we are. Setting goals allows our dreams to be a reality. When is the last you put pen to paper and actually thought about what it is you truly want to accomplish, what you want out of your life, who you really are?
A year ago, a dear friend taught me the power of setting goals. I was in a place in my life when I couldn’t wrap my head around the thought of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. It didn’t seem possible for me. It seemed like a dream. Even though I wanted it so badly, I didn’t allow myself to believe it.
Setting goals is not about accomplishing something you know is going to happen or achieving something that is anything short of difficult. Your goals should match your dreams and if they don’t scare you a little bit, you’re not setting them high enough.
I learned that until we write down the things we want, they will forever be a dream. I believe in taking five very important steps to make your goals a reality.
When I wrote down that I wanted to qualify for Boston, I didn’t realize that that simple step could be so powerful. For the first time, I really started to believe I could do it. I didn’t allow myself the negative self-talk that had kept me from accomplishing things in my past. I NEVER, not once doubted myself. Thoughts of achievement manifested into my conscious.
I didn’t just train hard, I trained smart. I took care of my body. I ate right. I rested when I needed rest. I cross-trained. I worked HARD on hard days and gave myself relief on easy days.
I shared my goals. I blogged. I tweeted. I shouted. Having others keeping me accountable to my goal, kept me much focused than if I would have kept it to myself.
When race day arrived the only question that remained was what the exact finish time would be for me. I had already achieved the goal in my mind. No wall, no excruciatingly tight quads, no excuses.
I finished three minutes ahead of my goal. I put my dreams to paper and believed I would achieve.
Since December, I am still dreaming big, but now I know what I need to do to make my dreams a reality. I started living with passion and conviction for the things that are important to me. Setting goals, short term and long term is not only a necessity to my life, but a very essential component to how I live my days.
What do you realistically want to accomplish that would simply blow your mind if you made it happen?
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Welcome to my special guest series, Fitness Health and Happiness! Today, please welcome my friend, Tina, author of Just A Minute of My Time. Have you ever met a person that once they make up their mind to do something they commit and give it their 100%? That is Tina! She amazes me with her accomplishments and all that she does. I'm looking forward to our next race together, and her first marathon, in October, the Chicago Marathon 2011!
Hi everyone! My name is Tina Zarlenga and I am married 27 years to my husband Joel, mother of 3 (Ryan we lost when he was 5 years old, Chelsea who is 21 and Zachary just turned 17). I love reading, photography, scrapbooking and running! Connecting with Jill through our photography and scrapbooking I began to notice and be inspired by her running and our friendship was made even stronger.
Once I was categorized a smoker; today I would describe myself as a runner.
As I begin training for my first marathon in Chicago I am reminded of how far I’ve come on this journey of fitness and weight loss.
In 2003, I was a heavy smoker and over weight. Just running up a flight of steps made it tough to breath. Finally, I quit smoking. The habit of reaching for a cigarette just didn’t go away as easily as I had hoped it would. But I continued on my non-smoking journey, even as food began taking the place of cigarettes. This meant added weight, which came on quickly.
After several attempts at losing the weight, finally in 2009 I was ready to make a serious change in my life. It was time to get in shape and lose the weight. I started going to the gym with my daughter. At this point I had never even walked on a treadmill and my daughter was insisting it was time to try something new.
Cautiously I began walking the treadmill, gradually increasing my speed until I was at a slow jog. The first time I reached one mile jogging you would have thought I’d just completed a marathon. It felt that good! Each week I would set a new goal, motivation enough for me to get to the next level. Whether it was to increase my speed or distance I always strived for more.
After four months of running, my daughter and I signed up for our first 5k, the Frosty 5K which we ran in the snowy, cold month of February. My daughter ended up winning 1st place in her age group; I was delighted that I finished!
After that we signed up for several other 5k’s and became addicted to the challenge of a race. I started reading more on running and asked lots of questions. Jill was my inspiration that assisted me along my journey and to help me stay injury free! My daughter and I decided to run our first half marathon with Jill, the Rite Aid Cleveland marathon.
Since then I have ran 4 half marathons which include running The Rite Aide Cleveland two times, Akron Road Runner and the Disney Princess, as well as the CBus 10 miler (Columbus) and many 5Ks leading up to my full marathon this October in Chicago.
Remember to come back tomorrow to link up for Fitness Friday, a weekly blog hop for blogs that focus on overall fitness and health. Check out the blog hop even if you don't blog about health and fitness. It's a great resource for information, tips, humor and motivation. Details can be found here - Fitness Friday Blog Hop.