The other day, I went to the gym and had an extremely satisfying workout. The kind where you grab a gossip magazine, crank up your iPod and cruise on the treadmill. I knocked out a quick 2.5 miles without looking at the timer once and felt like I was able to relieve some of the week’s stress in a quick half hour.
During my runs, I think about a lot of things, but when I’m having a really great workout, I often think of some of my best accomplishments. Bringing myself back to that place of such fulfillment always gets me feeling motivated and helps me to push harder—whether it’s to run faster, do a couple more pushups or not lower my leg in my Pure Barre workout (yes, I’m going regularly now!).
I have a lot of great memories from running races throughout the past few years, but my absolute favorite is crossing the finish line of my first (and only) full marathon in May 2011 with one of my best friends. You can read the full story of my 26-mile journey here.
Anyone who has ran a race knows that the journey to get there goes way beyond the mileage you complete that day. Although I officially started training that January, the process really took more than a year when I started running seriously and training for my first half marathon. At the time, I was really looking for something to throw myself into to lose a few pounds, tone up and do something constructive with my time. But what I found was so much more.
What I discovered was that the more miles I logged, the more secure I became. The more satisfied I was. The better sleep I got. The more secure I became. And most importantly, the happier I found myself. No matter what life was throwing at me, running was my constant and consistently left me feeling better than I did before I ran.
And when I told people I was going to do something kind of crazy and train for a full marathon, I know they had their doubts. I did too. I was secretly terrified of not being able to make it through my training program and having to say “I quit.” I had never done anything that physical in my life—I was never an athletic girl, let alone a marathon runner.
So when I crossed that finish line after five hours of running (we never stopped except to walk through the water stops), it had all come to that moment. Crossing the finish line hand-in-hand with my friend, we both looked at each other and broke down in tears. I had done something I never thought I could do. I pushed my body to its limits and accomplished something about 1 percent of the world has.
This is one of my favorite moments to close my eyes and go back to. When I’m trying to motivate myself to go to the gym on a cold winter night or trying to push through that last ½ mile, I go to that moment, and I immediately get a second wind.
I’m planning to run the Reindeer Run in December, and it’s moments like these I’ll think of when I see the finish line. Because when you see the end, you don’t slow down—you break into a sprint.
What’s your favorite proud exercise moment?