I love the idea of exercising.  Of being someone who exercises.  I do not, however, particularly like exercising.  And I HATE running- and its close byproduct- sweating!  Why would someone who hates running- and sweating- sign up for a 1/2 marathon?  Well- because something had to give.

I have been trying to create an exercise routine for over a year (ok- maybe coming up on 2 years).  I visited a gym with my husband about 5 months ago (that I also belong to).  I say “visited” because I did not actually do any exercising.  I was going to use the treadmill but couldn’t figure out how to turn it on.  Frustrated- and embarrassed- I went to the lobby and sat in the comfy chairs waiting for my husband to finish his workout so we could leave.  The wait felt eternal and I was very uncomfortable the entire time (as I was the only person in the building, besides the person who checks you in, that wasn’t doing something physical). Surprisingly- or perhaps not- I have not gone back to the gym since.

Last October I read an article about the Chicago Marathon that included a picture of the course.  It included some of the best views of the city and the lake.  Having moved to Chicago only a couple of months before, I found it interesting and clipped the article and put it on my treadmill.  Again, not having an exercise routine, I didn’t see it again for months.  But somehow- for some unknown reason- it stuck in my mind.  Then in February I read an article about someone who ran lots of marathons and she said that there wasn’t a marathon better than the Walt Disney World marathon.  She said it was the most celebratory and fun marathon anywhere- and the perfect marathon for anyone who had never run a marathon.  Again, not sure why I even cared, I found myself on the runDisney website reading about the different events they hold.

Here is where it gets interesting… the run is in January (about the only time I will even consider a trip to Florida, because I hate the heat).  The 1/2 marathon caught my eye after I stumbled upon pictures of the medals given to participants of the various runs.  I absolutely LOVED the 13.1 marathon medal given to all participants who complete the 1/2 marathon.  It was sparkly.  It held my attention- imbeded itself in my brain.  I found myself pulling up the picture on my phone and looking at it… many times… over the next few days!  I decided to just think about it.  No pressure- just think and explore how it felt to think about it.  And, I didn’t tell anyone I was thinking about it!

A few days later it hit me.  If I signed up to run the 1/2 marathon and was willing to be brave enough to share my plan- not just with my family and close friends, but with anyone who might see my social media posts (which to this point was pretty much nobody), I could create accountability and motivation for myself and maybe even support someone else who was struggling to get started doing something… to perhaps do something (because something is always more than nothing!).  A large percentage of my clients include “exercising more” as one of their coaching goals.  But creating structure and building a routine to do it is often incredibly challenging.

So, this is how my “Couch to 1/2 Marathon” idea took root.

Timeline:

April 16, 2019:  I registered for the WDW 1/2 Marathon.  And I… Did…. Nothing.  I didn’t tell anyone- I didn’t exercise.  Just paid $188 and then did nothing else.

April 17, 2019: I printed the RunDisney training schedule.  The 1/2 marathon “Beginners Training Program” is 19 weeks (from the very first run to the day of the 1/2 marathon).  I mapped it out on a calendar- I officially need to begin training on September 3 to be ready by January for the WDW 1/2 marathon.

May 1, 2019: I told my husband I registered for the 1/2 marathon, but that I didn’t really know if I would actually do it.  I said I “just wanted to give myself the option”.  He is very supportive and tells me I can do it!

May 12, 2019: I told my youngest daughter (#4) about my possible plan- swore her to secrecy- and asked her if she would help me by taking pictures of me training that I could post on Instagram, etc.  She said YES and was very excited (definitely more than I was!).

May 15, 2019: I told #1 and #2 (my 2 oldest kids) my plan and asked if they would help me by creating posts updating my progress on my social media platforms.  I also told #3 (younger son) and asked if he would be my trainer.  He works out almost every day and has a very positive and supportive mindset.  All 3 immediately said yes!

June 2, 2019: I reach out to a friend who is a WDW travel agent to help me make some plans.  When she said the week I am looking to go might be the weekend of the Disney marathon- I simply say, “Oh, is it?” I did not tell her I am registered for it!

June 18, 2019: I made reservations for a WDW hotel.

July 18, 2019:  I ordered running shoes.  Can’t run without running shoes (I tell myself that is why I haven’t started… yet!)

July 20, 2019: Running shoes arrive.  I try them on and immediately call them “My Magic Shoes”!  LOVE Forrest Gump!  Still, I don’t exercise- in any way!

August 1, 2019: About a month before the official first training day as outlined by RunDisney.  I know if I wait until the first day it will be hard for me to keep going (somehow I sense the pressure more by waiting, so I decide to begin very slowly before the official schedule).  I run .2 miles.  That’s right, .2 (not 2…. 2/10 of a mile!).  I am tired and breathing heavily- but proud!  I started!!  I share my post on FaceBook and Instagram.  I have virtually no followers- so it shouldn’t be scary- but it is!  I feel like the whole world now knows my plan and the pressure is overwhelming.

August 10, 2019: I run 1/2 mile.  Yup- 1/2 mile!!  So stinking excited!  I know it is only 1/2 a mile, but somehow I am beginning to think I might be able to do this!

September 3, 2019:  1st official training day- I run/walk for 30 minutes (mostly walk- but with some running too!)

September 6, 2019:  I run 1 mile.  I am exhausted and sore and wondering how I will manage to ever run 13.1 miles.  My youngest daughter (and photographer) is excited.  She says, “You are 1/13 of the way there!”  I realize she is right!  The power of a Positive Focus is incredible!!

September 10, 2019: I am following the running plan outlined by WDW- and I run 2 miles without stopping.  I didn’t set out to do that- and the training schedule didn’t require it- I just kept telling myself I could run to the next mailbox and then stop.  When I reached the mailbox, I told myself I could make it to the next one.  And so on, and so on- until I ran 2 miles!  I couldn’t believe it!  I literally didn’t know I could do it until I did.

September 14, 2019: Went to Asheville for my sister’s wedding.  Was supposed to run 3 miles- but had a bad allergy attack overnight and go for a walk with my sister.  We walked 2.5 miles through the hilly mountains- so out of breath at times it felt like I was running!  So- didn’t run, and the first time I didn’t meet the training schedule.  But decide to focus on the fact that I did something (and something is better than nothing!).

September 17,2019: Today- Training days are typically Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  I did NOT want to run this morning.  Almost talked myself out of it by thinking of everything I would rather do and how many things I would have to do before I could run (brush teeth, pull up hair, running clothes, shoes, walk dogs, etc.).  I told myself to stop thinking of everything and to just get up and brush my teeth without committing to anything else.  So, I did.  And when I was brushing my teeth I saw my running clothes on the counter next to the sink.  I had put them out last night to make it easier for myself in the morning to remember my plan to run. Having them on the counter was like an invitation.  Just put them on… no pressure beyond that.  So, I did.  And, once dressed, I pulled my hair up.  Now I just had to walk the dogs.  While they were running around the yard, I put my shoes on and stretched.  Now I knew I was going to run.  And, run I did.  I ran 2.2 miles without stopping (except to take a picture of the lake as I was going by).

I don’t know for sure if I will reach my goal- but each day I decide to do something, I find myself a bit closer to making it possible.  And I find my “fear of failure”- at not being able to accomplish such a huge goal I publicly set for myself- is starting to shift FROM fear TO excitement.  I am finding myself thinking, “But, what if I do?!”