Greetings friends. Dispatches from the basement where I just made up for a day that went totally more hectic than expected by doing Yoga With Adriene for 20 minutes and adding a few tree poses for balance exercise and good measure.

I signed up for a Half Marathon Training group to keep me accountable in getting back in shape for the Parks Half Marathon in September. It’s a race I helped my old roommate get through the last 5 miles of in 2014, and have subsequently wanted to run it ever since. I wasn’t even sure I was going to register for the race when I signed up for the program.

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Image credit IdRatherBeSweating.com

Working for my local Fleet Feet, I’ve fallen in love with what small and local running stores do for their communities. I picked up the gig at Fleet Feet to supplement my income during a temp job assignment and even though a new permanent job has come up starting in a couple of weeks, I want to stay on just because of how much stock I put into what Fleet Feet does. When I first started working for the store, I felt like kind of a fraud. I was running once a week if I was lucky. I just had such little motivation.

But the more I worked with people who were coming in to upgrade the shoes they’d been wearing for years and were so uncomfortable in, and left feeling like new humans, ready to start walking for their fitness, working toward running their first 5K’s, or just running a couple of times a week to “not die of a heart attack,” as several of my customers have told me, the more motivated I became. I didn’t have to be running 40 miles a week or training for a marathon to be worthy of calling myself a runner. Every workout counts. Every time I decide to go outside and walk or run, I’m bettering my health.

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I’ve run 16 half marathons now and probably 8 of them have been brutal due to inadequate training or trying to come back too soon from injury. DC Rock ‘n’ Roll this past March was great, but I felt like a lot of that was because of the energy of the course and my excitement at being back home in DC.

So my only goal is to run a strong race that I feel happy about. That I don’t consider quitting during. That I’m proud of. That I don’t feel like I half-assed my training.

I’d gotten to the point where ANYTHING was better than nothing.

So I got through my first week with the program. We met up on Wednesday evening at Fleet Feet and did an easy 3-mile “getting to know you” run. With the heat and the hills I’d been half-assing, I fell behind my assumed 11:00 pace group, but I was 3 miles healthier. Then we met up at 7am the following Saturday to run 5 miles, with even steeper hills. I fell behind my assumed 11:30 pace group, but again, I finished it out. 5 miles healthier.

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I went back to yoga, as I have Fridays off at the moment and extendYoga, the yoga studio I missed so much while living in Texas, has $5 Fridays. I went to the noon class, which isn’t heated, and it was exactly the reintroduction I needed. Every time Daisy, the instructor, reminded us to “fold over your beautiful legs,” I remembered why I need yoga in my life. Self-acceptance. Self-love. Honoring my body. I left class never wanting to put another chemical or artificial ingredient in my beautiful body ever again.

This week I’ve run three miles twice, but a nasty stomach ache had me missing our first hill repeat workout on Wednesday. I was upset at myself for missing it, but vowed to shake it off and recommit to never missing another practice if I can avoid it.

Tomorrow we run 6 miles in Black Hills Regional Park. One of the toughest things about the program is I can’t plug in my headphones and listen to Beyonce on repeat to get me through the run. One of the things I really like is that we run in new places, new routes, which can keep me distracted in other ways.

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I also finally signed up for Gold’s Gym again, because Anytime Fitness just does not give me what I need, group fitness class-wise. I’ve been planning when I can make it to Body Pump, or Pilates Mat, and they even have introduced Barre classes to the Gold’s Gym catalog. I know strength training was the #1 thing that made my 2015 half marathons brutal. I’m committed to building muscle again.

And so, with 20 minutes of light yoga to close out the week, I’m getting ready for bed early, readying my water bottle and Nuun tablets, my visor for the morning sun and heat, my mental space for trucking the hills without music. Hopefully by 8:12 tomorrow morning I’ll have 6 more miles in the bank.

Happy running, friends!

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