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Friday, January 22, 2016

Milestones and Goals

It is mid-January, 2016. I am still running which represents a minor miracle in and of itself! Yesterday I ran for 60 minutes straight, almost 5 miles! I never thought I'd ever be able to accomplish this so I'm pretty thrilled. My pace is quite slow, about 12.5 minute miles but I am finding the stamina to complete the runs and have actually gotten to a place where I don't want to miss it. 
The view from where I head to catch my bus to the start point every Tuesday and Thursday mornings. 
I still don't really love doing it, but I do enjoy getting it done! And I am very happy for the exercise and I continue to enjoy seeing London whilst running around. Clearly, there is joy in the pack! The only way that any of this is possible is because of the group of women who I have met and who journey with me, an amazing group called Women Running the World! Running alone is still AWFUL. Even a short 35 minute run alone is torture compared to the longer runs with companions. (There's a sermon in there somewhere!). The coaches are these amazing experienced runners who cheer us on, give us advice, and encourage us to keep on keeping on. It's really been quite the highlight of our time here in London and I'm thankful for the 2 women from church who encouraged (pushed, cajoled, etc.) me to start doing it.
(Thanks Tracey and Stefhanie!) 

So, with our timeline for remaining in London finally set, I have been able to set my sights on a bigger goal. (Our last Sunday will be June 5 and we fly to CA on June 7, fyi). 
When I first announced back in September that I was joining a running group, several of you cheered me on. One friend in particular wrote this, "Let us know how this goes. Especially interested to hear if your competitive nature comes out and we begin to read of you running a 5K? 10K? 1/2 marathon? Full marathon?" 
Well, he was right about my competitive nature. I've always done better when there is a prize to keep an eye on and now I've set a significant goal for myself. All credit goes to my running group as the leaders arrange and plan everything necessary for us to be able to complete....drum roll....a half marathon! 
Yup, all 13.1 miles will be run by yours truly on April 24. The best part of the whole goal is that the half will take place in...another drum roll please....NICE, FRANCE! Nothing like going straight for the sweet spot in this girl's heart by asking her to run along the seaside!
So, I'm equal parts excited and terrified. I still have not run more than 60 minutes straight and I know the half will take close to 2.5-3 hours to complete so there is still a lot of training to take place. The schedule is pretty rigorous from here on out but I am committed to getting it done and excited to see how a race of this length will feel. 
I am also excited because the training runs continue to take us all over London. In the coming weeks we'll be running to Borough Market, Canary Wharf, Battersea, Wembley, and Kew Gardens. These places sound so far from our start point and the longest training run is 135 minutes so it's really hard to imagine what that will look like, but the leaders have promised that if I stay with the program, then I will be able to complete the half!
So far the weather has been quite cooperative. It's gotten cold this past week but I have learned to dress well. Mostly I'm relieved that we are not contending with icy streets. Even the rain hasn't been a huge factor most days. And we're catching the sun coming up over the horizon and enjoying the beauty of Regents Park and Primrose Hill as well as the diverse architecture that dots the neighborhoods we run through.
Rugby fields, frosty morning, Regents Park
It has been awesome for me to stay with this! It has been great for me to be able to set this goal and strive toward fulfilling it. I still can't really call myself a runner but I can say that I run and I never really thought I'd even get that far. I'll keep ya posted as the journey continues.