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My Wellness Journey: Running a Marathon

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My friends–I have really stuck to DIY and home decor this year and while I love it, I’m feeling more and more impressed to share with you another daily endeavor I’ve been passionate about for awhile…health and wellness.

It first started nagging at me when I started thinking about how I wanted to be as I grow older in years.  All I knew is that I wanted to be active and healthy, with lots of energy to continue doing the things I love.  So in the last couple of years, I’ve tried to make more of a conscious effort to live in a way that will help me be healthy well into my life.

{Sidebar:  This does NOT mean that I am perfect at being healthy!  Wellness is a life long journey, which means that it’s something I continually strive at.  And many days, I fail.  Many days I eat waaaayyyy too much sugar and other days when I don’t exercise at all.  But usually I can get back on the wellness wagon and start over.  Every day is a new day to try!}

My biggest love in wellness right now are two things–exercising and essential oils (yes, I’m one of THOSE people…does that surprise you?) I recently fell in love with oils and I’ll be sharing more about those in upcoming posts.  But I also want to share with you more stuff about exercising.  I’m no fitness expert, but I do enjoy exercising nearly every day.

My favorite things to do are run and lift weights.  I also love yoga but I don’t do it as often as I like.  It’s hard for me to feel like I got as good of a workout doing yoga as I do when I run.  But yoga is SO good for stretching tight muscles!  When I say ‘lift weights’ I usually mean a combination of exercise videos using free weights and body weight and we own a Bowflex that I use from time to time.  I don’t have a gym pass because I need the least amount of steps between me and working out (and driving to the gym was a step!)

My Running Journey:  From 5k to Marathon

I’ve written about running in some past posts (read about my first 5k here and my first half here) when I first got into it about four years ago.  After that first year, I was on and off with running, but not really accomplishing anything.  This year, I had about 30 pounds to lose from having my baby, and while I tried getting cardio with workout videos, once the spring came and I started running again, that’s when I really started to see results…with both running and weight loss.

Me after my first 5k (2014)

My favorite way to start running again is to follow the Couch to 5k app program.  It’s SO good for beginners!  It starts out slowly, with more walking than running.  It’s just a person telling you to walk for a certain number of minutes and then run for a certain number of minutes.  You work your way up to running a full 5k (3.1 miles) without stopping.  And while it might seem unattainable at times, you’ll be amazed at what your body can do!  My body is always surprising me.

After you achieve a comfortable 5k running, you will want to run a least 3 miles, 3 times a week.  While this might seem like enough for you, if you want to work up to a 10k or a half marathon, you need to do at least one long run on Saturdays (or whichever day is easiest for you.)  I would run 3-4 miles on Tuesday and Thursday and then do a longer run on Saturdays, starting at 5 miles and adding a mile each week.  You back off mileage every third week or so and that way your idea of ‘long’ starts to seem shorter and shorter, if that makes sense.  Check out these half marathon training schedules!

So last spring, I took a weekend trip down south and went on a 6 mile run.  It was so nice and so freeing that I thought “yes, maybe I could run the St. George Marathon!”  I’d only run one half marathon before and it was pretty hard for me, so the thought of trying for a full marathon (26.2 miles!) was kinda crazy.  But my sister had started running so we decided to run it together.  We also signed up for a half marathon in June so that helped us stay on training schedule.  So yes…we were running a marathon!  Check out these marathon training schedules.  

The half marathon went really well.  I ran the AF Canyon Half (in Utah) and it’s an awesome race.  Mostly downhill with beautiful scenery.  We started out slow and kept a steady pace the whole time.  We didn’t have the fastest time (2:30) and I know I am really not a fast runner but it’s something I’m working on.  When you’re new to running races, don’t worry too much about your time.  The best part about the half was…everything.  I didn’t have any bathroom stops, no major cramping, and we had a great time.  We walked for 1 minute at every mile marker and that helped us a lot.  We just talked the whole time and it was really fun!

After the half marathon was over, it was time to start training for the full marathon.  And wow, what a huge difference to train for a full marathon!  SO much more time commitment.  I would go out every Saturday and run these extremely long runs (16-20 miles) and it would take HOURS.  I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I would come back from one and think “I was crazy for signing up for this!” and “I’m never doing another one!” It felt like a waste of time.  So just so you know, training for a marathon (especially if you are not fast like me) will take up a large chunk of time.  And it was even harder to accomplish once soccer season started and I had to fit the runs in between three soccer games.

The marathon was in October.  It was a true butt-kicker, my friends!  At times I literally wanted to lay down and die.  My knees were in SO much pain and I didn’t fuel myself properly (rookie mistake) so I was running on fumes for the last 12 miles.  My time was not great, somewhere around 5:45.  I had drunk way too much before starting and ended up having to pee like every mile for the first 5 miles.  Let’s just say…I got friendly with the surrounding bushes!  My sister was a trooper with me the whole time, even though it was a hard race for her as well.  After the race was over, I was so sore for DAYS.  But believe it or not, when the whole thing was over and done, I still want to do another one someday.  It was not the race I wanted and I don’t want that to be IT for me.  Running a marathon WILL happen again.

But this time post-race is different.  I discovered what running does for me physically and mentally.  I have to run at least 3 times a week, if not every day.  I mostly run on the treadmill now that daylight is so short, but I don’t mind.  I use the treadmill to help me get faster, and I think it’s helping a little.  But I love the feeling of getting my heart rate up high and making my body stronger. I’m so happy that I’m addicted to something that will help my heart and body stay healthy throughout the rest of my life.  And believe it or not, even though I have had some knee issues, I’ve taken the proper steps to rest and heal them and strengthen them and I feel like they are stronger than ever now.  Not only that, but running helps me emotionally as well.  It relieves stress and gives me mental clarity.

I succeeded in losing all my baby weight and even a few more pounds which was awesome, but most of all, I feel like I’m in really good physical shape.  This summer we built these stone planters and I was able to stay out in the backyard and work for HOURS, lifting these heavy stones and carrying them all over the place.  Manual labor is much easier now.  I love the feeling that my body is a help rather than a hindrance.  And as I get older and develop aches and pains, health and wellness need to be at the forefront of my brain now.  So it’s a journey and I have to work on it every day.




  1. Alice Binford says:

    Congratulations! I’m a runner too, and just did my lst 1/2 marathon in Sept. but I’m 66 and didn’t even start runnning in races until about 8 years ago. So proud of you!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Awesome!! That is seriously amazing.

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