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Distance Running: Love Where You Are TODAY

Distance Running: Loving Where You Are Today

Something has been on my mind a lot lately and I want to talk about it today.


This has come up in my online half marathon training group as some of my first-time half marathoners have experienced some difficulty in acclimating to the increase in mileage, whether that’s through doubting their strength or experiencing injuries. I decided I wanted to write a post about the topic after I received the following comment from a reader this week in regards to her first half marathon. I had asked her to report back to me on how it went and here’s what she shared…

“Hi! I was the one that said I was running my first half over the weekend. I survived! I ran the Detroit International half on Sunday. It was such an amazing accomplishment. The views were amazing. We got to run over the Ambassador bridge into Canada and along the river to view Detroit to the left. I got to experience what felt like never ending inclines to the bridge, and coming out of the tunnel (there is a tunnel that runs under the river from Windsor to Detroit) and those were really hard.

Things I were worried about (breathing, side pain) never happened but I did not realize how bad my toes would hurt or my hips. I also really struggled between miles 9-11 where I just kept thinking that I wasn’t going to make it.

Although I’m not turned off by this and I plan on running it next year (it will be the 40th year!) I am discouraged at my time and training. Both are my fault. I see runners who just look so graceful and gazelle like and I’m over here fighting to just finish. It’s discouraging but I’m also extremely hard on myself. I also trained alone. I think I will have to seek out a run group and friend who will help push me to be better.”

Her race recap started out on a positive note but ended a little down on herself. It made me sad. Running your first half marathon (or any race distance!) is a HUGE accomplishment in itself. I have been thinking back on the race and run recaps that I’ve shared this fall and how for the most part, running has felt good and easy. And I feel like in this online world where we’re so apt to fall into the comparison trap, that my race and run experience may not be relatable to some.

So I want to share…

Distance Running: Loving Where You Are Today


Flashback to fall of 2005. I had just graduated from the University of Georgia and was living in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. I started running in college but never more than 3-4 miles. I can’t remember what my motivation was but I signed up for a half marathon training group hosted by Try Sports, a local running store in Mount Pleasant. I spent the next four months getting my world ROCKED by training.

I’ll never forget my first few long runs. 7 or 8 mile runs would put me curled up on the couch under a blanket for hours after my run. I usually experienced nausea and my whole body would hurt for the rest of the day. But the next weekend, I would try it again. (This probably perpetuates the idea that runners are crazy to non-runners!) I’d show up for group track workouts and give it my all, although I had NO CLUE what I was doing. Training for my first half marathon was BY FAR the hardest physical challenge that I had ever taken on at that time.

After four long months of training, it was time for the 2006 Myrtle Beach Half Marathon.

I traveled to Myrtle Beach by myself where I would meet up with my running group. My ex really didn’t understand my desire to run this half so he stayed behind at home. I think he had family in town that weekend. Regardless, when I look back on that time I am so freaking proud of myself for what I did. I went to my first expo to pick up my race packet, met my running group for dinner at Carabas and then checked into a hotel where it was just me and my pre-race jitters. The next morning I woke up and navigated my way to the start of the race where I met up with some of my running group friends.

The gun went off and I embarked on my journey to completing my first half. Overall, I had a good race experience but the last 3 miles of the race were so mentally tough for me. My body hurt and I doubted myself but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I crossed the finish line in 2 hours and 15-ish minutes with an average pace of 10:15. I chatted with my running group for a bit before heading back to the hotel to shower, check-out and hit the road back to Mount Pleasant.

It was an incredible experience in setting a goal, being so challenged by it, sticking with it and doing it. I really started to realize that I was a lot stronger than I ever believed. And I did it on my own.

But it was a little anti-climactic. I’m not trying to be negative here but my ex and my parents didn’t really “get it.” They mainly thought I was crazy for wanting to run 13 miles for fun. While I was expecting a big celebration, it was more like, “good job!” I’m sharing this because I think some of you might also feel a little alone in your running desires and goals and it’s tough when others aren’t excited about it for you or just don’t understand.

Fast forward 10 and a half years, many half marathons, two marathons and a lot of yoga and strength training later….and I just ran a completely different half marathon. My finish time was 24 minutes faster, my “easy/sustainable” pace was about a minute and 45 seconds faster and the way my body felt was night and day different. I’ve also become a lot more self-confident about my own goals and what makes ME feel good. My mom still doesn’t understand why I want to run 10+ miles at a time but that’s okay. (We agree to disagree on what’s best for me in this regard 🙂 ) It makes me feel good and that’s what matters. I’m not trying to prove anything to her or anyone else.

After Saturday’s race, I was reflecting back on my first half with Tanner and told him that after Myrtle Beach I remember that EVERYTHING was sore, even my arms from holding them up for 2+ hours while I ran. I could barely straighten my elbows!

On Saturday I probably looked like that runner looking all “graceful and gazelle like” during the race. Tanner and I were watching my finish line video yesterday and I was smiling, singing and dancing across the finish line. I’m like, “WHO IS THAT GIRL!?” I used to grimace and cry my way across the finish line while feeling like my legs could crumple underneath me at anytime.

Distance Running: Loving Where You Are Today


It has taken many years, many injuries, many PT sessions, many frustrated tears (so, so many), many yoga classes, many strength workouts and many, many, many miles for me to get to where I am today. I honestly believe that distance running comes easy for some people but I was not one of those people. I have worked extremely hard to become more conditioned, stronger and faster. I’ve gone through periods where I’ve pushed hard and also where I’ve given up and walked away from running for a while. Getting to where I am today has been a road with many twists and turns.

I love the runner I was in 2006 because that girl was brave and set big, scary goals and started to believe in her strength.

I love the runner I am in 2016 because this girl can stand strong on her own two feet and listen to her heart and her body and do what’s right for her.

Distance Running: Loving Where You Are Today

So whether you’re at the beginning of your journey with distance running or you’re 10 years in, love where you are today. Don’t compare yourself to other runners. Run your own race and be proud of yourself. Run to feel good. Run to feel strong.

I’d love to hear about your experience with distance running. When did you start? Was it hard? How has it changed for you over time?


{ 66 comments… add one }
  • Michelle October 19, 2016, 11:54 am

    This is a great reminder for me to accept my body where it’s at. I ran my first half in 2012, at a time when I was relatively trim and strong (as someone who isn’t as muscular and well-rounded as you, to be totally honest). I limped for about five days afterward. For my second half last year, I had to tape up both my knees like crazy and still experienced a lot of pain afterward. I’m training for my third in March by slowly increasing my distance and doing lots of stretching after *every* run, and 20 minutes of yoga 2-3 times per week. I probably weigh about 10 pounds more than I did in 2012, but I’m trying to train smart and be kind to myself so I can reach my goal of a pain-free half. Thanks for the words of encouragement.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 4:02 pm

      Hey Michelle – thank you so much for your comment. I can’t even stress enough how much strength and yoga has helped me with my running. If you continue to experience pain with halfs, I would highly encourage you to add in a little extra straight training and yoga for a bit before upping mileage again. I know you CAN run a pain-free half!

  • Katherine October 19, 2016, 12:06 pm

    Love this post Jen– so true! I was never a runner until freshman year of college. I signed up for a half to motivate myself not to gain weight in the dorms 😉 The training was hard but the part I remember most was my arms being SO sore (along with every part of my body) after the race.

    I’ve done 20+ half marathons now and 5 15.5 mile races. I’ve gotten much faster and now love running so much. I know I can do a marathon but I haven’t committed to one yet. Even though I know I could physically do it– that little voice of doubt in my head seems to creep in every time I go to register!

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 4:01 pm

      Wow for 20+ halfs. That is awesome! Do the marathon when and if it calls to you, but don’t do it out of obligation.
      Liquido Active

  • Amanda October 19, 2016, 12:07 pm

    Hi Jen! Thanks for sharing this post. I very recently started running… I’m currently in the middle of the couch to 5k program. This has been so hard for me. I was in relatively good shape but NOT running shape. The hardest part has been calf and foot pain (plantar fasciitis) and the mental part. Today I have to run for 10 consecutive minutes and I’m really scared because the longest I’ve had to do is 5.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 4:00 pm

      Running shape is totally different than general working out at the gym shape. There is just nothing like it. I am always amazed by the difference in how running feels when I’m training/running regularly versus doing it here and there. Good for you that you’re using Couch to 5K, it’s a great program. Stick with it and give yourself a lot of grace and space.

  • Linda Viner October 19, 2016, 12:19 pm

    Love this post! I ran an “impromptu” 5k our first morning in Napa this past Saturday. With maybe half a dozen runs where I’ve pushed myself in the past 2 years, due to glute/hip flexor issues, with taking a break from running and focusing on stairs, strength and PT, I ran pain free!!!! I couldn’t be more excited. A on timed event supporting breast cancer, I ran a respectable 25 minutes but what meant everything was I’m pain free!! Excited to pick my running back up. I have the Willis Tower climb on 11/6 but think I may join you the following week. Debating running the 5k or a very slow half, given I haven’t done any long runs at all. Can’t chance anything before Sears. Thanks for setting such a great example for being where you are in both fitness and life. 🙏

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:58 pm

      Hey Linda,

      CONGRATS on your pain free run. I know what an amazing feeling that is. Definitely don’t chance anything before your big race. I can’t wait to hear how that goes for you!

      • Linda Viner October 30, 2016, 10:18 am

        Jen…can I sign up under you and run the 5 or 10k?

        • Jen DeCurtins October 30, 2016, 2:30 pm


  • Erin October 19, 2016, 12:29 pm

    You’re message today is just what I needed. I have run on and off for years, with right now being an on again time in my life:) In my late 20’s I ran a lot and was much faster than I am today. It is easy to look back and wish I was running as well as I did back then, but that was 10+ years, 2 kids, quite a few pounds and a lot more hours of free time ago. Do I hope to get faster, run longer and do more, sure, but i have also been working on reminding myself that comparing myself to others or “the old me” is foolish. Instead I work on celebrating today’s accomplishments and victories that may seem small to other but are huge for me: they include; running for 40min without stopping, completing my neighborhood loop faster than I did before, being consistent with my running, and feeling good with where I am at.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:57 pm

      Erin – you are spot on. We have to be so mindful not only about the comparison trap with others but also ourselves! It important to stay grounded in what is working and feeling good and strong NOW!

  • Lauren Cosentino October 19, 2016, 1:02 pm

    What a GREAT post! While I’ve run a number of half marathons and a full marathon, I’m embarking on my second relay race this weekend…I’ve been focusing more on strength training and less on endurance so I’m a little nervous for my long legs of the race this weekend, but reading your post allows me to remember that regardless of how fast I finish my assigned miles, I’m out there putting one foot in front of the other and although I may not be in my best ‘endurance shape’, I am certainly stronger and may surprise myself with what I’m capable of doing! THANK YOU!

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:56 pm

      Thank you Lauren! I’m glad you liked the post. How did your relay go over the weekend? I’ve never run one!

      • Lauren Cosentino October 28, 2016, 9:57 am

        My team of 11 girls actually won the all female division! You totally need to do one, you’d love it! The Tuna Run race directors also put on the Palmetto 200 and Colonial 200, you should check them out!

  • Fiona October 19, 2016, 1:26 pm

    I LOVEEEE this post!! Thank you so much for sharing and reminding everyone that we are all runners and hard works pays off, even if that means running isn’t fun sometimes. When I first started running longer races I would do run/walk intervals. I completed a half marathon following the same strategy and decided I would join the XC team. Deciding to do this as a junior in college was terrifying but I trained for that and cut 20 min off of my half marathon time in a year! Since then I have completed half marathons, full marathons and half ironmans all while learning I am capable of anything I put my mind to and becoming a strong runner. It is so important to remember how far we come and that hard work does pay off. I love your view on all of this and your positive attitude. I look forward to reading your posts every week and as always this one did not disappoint! Thank you for sharing!

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:55 pm

      Thank you so much Fiona! I love your story and appreciate your kind words about my blog and you for reading! 🙂

  • Dana October 19, 2016, 1:28 pm

    Perfect timing- I just ran 3 miles at lunch. I took the stress off of myself and said “just do it until you want to stop”…
    I have realized more recently, that my journey takes on so many shapes..and to love my strength and courage to try –
    For years I was all yoga…and then I was all spin class..and then it transformed to all yoga again. And this year, my favorite: yoga/ running (1-2 days a week) and swimming. And I feel all of these things strengthening another part of the puzzle in a different way. I used to think I had to be all one thing- and then I realized it was my journey- and I could be-do anything. But of all the things- just do it from a place of love.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:54 pm

      Yes, you can do anything but it’s important to stay grounded in the feel good. Run because you like to run, yoga because yoga makes you feel clear and present, swim because the water is meditative…and stop whenever the activities stop being fun or feeling good. I’m a huge proponent of giving yourself the flexibility and freedom to go with the flow of what is working at the current moment and not to set expectations or to fight against ourselves. Glad you’re in a good groove!

  • Kat October 19, 2016, 1:39 pm

    I can relate. As a basketball player throughout my secondary school years, I absolutely loathed long distance runs. Fast forward a couple of years into university and I started clocking in 6-7 kms about 4-5 times a week. The endorphins and the “feel good” factor were amazing, and it just helped me relieve the stress from being in class all day. I was at my lithest form back then. Fast forward a few years later, as I am approaching the big 3-0, I put on 5kgs from being stuck in a desk-bound job. My dad (60 y.o this year!) is an avid half-marathoner and trailer. I ran/walked my first 11km trail over an absolutely gorgeous mountain range last year in 3h30ish and was hooked since then. My finishing time (for the moment) is not an issue, the important thing is to finish the race and walk as little as possible. This year, my time improved a little and I finished a 15km in 2h15. I have accepted my body and the superfluous kgs. If I lose weight by running fine, but that is not my goal. I feel good when I run, whether it’s a long run or a short run. It keeps my mind off things and it’s my me-time. I still have flab but I don’t care…because I run!! Hugs from sunny Mauritius =D

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:52 pm

      Hey Kat – really, really cool that your dad is an avid runner as well and that you two can share that. Your trail race sounds AMAZING. I think staying focused on how running makes you feel versus external results is so important. Thank you for reading from Mauritius. So cool! 🙂

  • Lauren October 19, 2016, 1:45 pm

    what an awesome, thoughtful post. I feel like your sentiment in regards to running can be applied to many other facets of life.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:49 pm

      Thank you Lauren. And yes, I do think running has taught me these lessons apply off the road as well.

  • Rebecca October 19, 2016, 2:46 pm

    Yes, I love this! It’s so hard not to compare yourself to other runners (or even the runner you were, if you’re coming back from an injury) but it’s important to respect where you are.

    I wasn’t very athletic in high school or college, but would just run/walk between gym visits for some extra cardio. In 2009, a couple of friends trained for a 5k and talked me into joining them. I had no idea what I was doing (pretty sure I wore the cotton race shirt to the race…) but I was hooked!

    I kept signing up for 5ks and then the next year signed up for a half marathon. I did a few more of those and then in 2012 some friends talked me into signing up for a marathon. (Are we noticing a theme with friends talking me into stuff?) My first marathon experience was quite humbling, but what really hooked me was the camaraderie of the training group I had joined. Previously, I trained on my own and just slowly built up my mileage prior to the race. Joining my running club changed not only the way I run, but I met the most amazing people! Not only do these people “get” my crazy but they actively encourage it. 🙂

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:49 pm

      I can’t agree more in how helpful it can be to have a “tribe” with a running group. I love your story!

  • Somer October 19, 2016, 3:12 pm

    This right here will keep me going.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:47 pm


  • Liz October 19, 2016, 3:13 pm

    I love this post. My start into long distance running was completely the opposite. I had never been an athlete at all and started running in college to keep in shape. Then, in law school I thought hey, maybe I’ll run a 10K. That went so well, and I was living in Chicago for the summer (where I didn’t know anybody) so I decided on a total whim to train for a marathon and did the Richmond marathon in November. I qualified for Boston on my first marathon. The whole thing was a really positive experience and something I never, ever expected to be able to do in my life. And I did it without thinking too much about it.

    The rest of my running journey has amounted to making peace with the fact that I will never, ever be that fast again. Not even remotely close to that fast. IT band injuries mean that I can’t run marathons anymore, and I’ve discovered that focusing on getting faster takes away the enjoyment for me. But, at the same time, I’m almost 40, have had a few friends/colleagues close to my age die from cancer, and feel so grateful that my body can finish 10 mile and half marathon distance races. It’s a different way to approach running but thinking about “enjoying the journey” has definitely made a huge difference to me.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:48 pm

      This is so interesting Liz and I think it’s wonderful proof that we’re all different in what comes easily and naturally to us and that it can change quite a bit over time. I love that you are staying grounded in your health and what you CAN do these days instead of limitations. ❤️

  • Maddy October 19, 2016, 4:00 pm

    Thank you for writing this post – I really needed to hear his today. I have just recently started running to find something new to do after being a competitive swimmer for 20+ years. I find it incredibly challenging but I am really proud of where I am. I ran my first 10k two weeks ago and did it under one hour, which was really exciting. My goal is to run a half-marathon and eventually a marathon sometime in the future but for now I am just trying to get 3 runs in a week!

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:46 pm

      You are so welcome Maddy. I’m glad you found it helpful. Running a 10K in under an hour is a really great accomplishment! Take it one step at a time and keep listening to your body. <3

  • Christy Rogers October 19, 2016, 5:46 pm

    Oh how true this is! My 1st 1/2 marathon was in 1998…I seriously thought I would never see that finish line! I crossed in 2:52 & was so proud! I also had to have my mom take me to get fluids because I was dehydrated & someone had to spend the night with me because I wasn’t able to lift my son who was 8 months old! I can’t believe I even signed up for another race but after 60 1/2 marathons & 10 full marathons I guess I am officially hooked! I spent the 1st few years slowly getting used to it & used running to get me through a failed marriage & many woes…I had a few faster years where I hit PRs & kept working super hard…now I am at a place where I am just happily running & loving it! The journey is never ending & I love every minute of it!

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:45 pm

      Wow Christy. If this isn’t a testament to the strength we can find through running, I don’t know what is. Thank you so much for sharing your incredible story.

  • Justine October 19, 2016, 8:27 pm

    Hi! This is my first comment. Yay! This post struck me and I decided to share my fears, worries, and positives about running. I’m you in 2005.. right now. I loveee the freedom and challenge of running. It’s a beautiful thing to know that I am the one who continues to bring myself to the present moment to run. I am the only one when I’m on my running path. And it is peaceful and it is good. However, my husband and I signed up for our first 10k a month or so ago and we ended up having to cancel for family-related reasons. I didn’t realize How. Much. Stress. this run was causing me. I could have jumped through the roof when this function came up that forced us to cancel. I began to reflect and ask myself, why? Why was I scared or stressed or nervous? And most of what I figured out was I don’t want to be compared to or judged by others. So, so silly. But regardless, it’s true. It won’t be just peaceful me and my happy, uninterrupted trail. It will be a barrage of people, numbers, and hoopla. Did you have to learn to want this in a different way? Or learn to love to run with others? Or with some goal in mind?

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:44 pm

      Hey Justine – thank you so much for taking the time to comment!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share. I can totally relate to stepping outside of something that has seemed so consuming and being like, “Why on earth was that such a big deal!?” Regarding running and racing…I love running just to run and for it to be me and the run. Sometimes it’s fun to have a goal race to train for but I could never be in training mode all the time, I’d get burnt out. I find the actual race day to be really fun. I’m not a huge fan of crowds but I love the energy from the other runners and spectators as well as the feeling of sharing a goal and something so positive with so many others. I think it’s important to stay grounded in why YOU are running the race and not to look at it as a competition!

      Hope that helps and that you do run that 10K sometime soon! 🙂


  • Danielle October 19, 2016, 11:15 pm

    Ah I love this! Distance running is hard. I felt that same disappointment finishing my first marathon this past May – which is ridiculous looking back. It is easy to get swept up in finishing fast and forgetting the fact you just ran really far! That feeling was however good motivation during my marathon 2 weeks ago – just wanting to feel like I tried my best and I left it all out there. My time was better but to be honest I didn’t even care that much. I was just so happy I had tried my hardest and pushed myself.

    I love the reminder to look back and see how far we’ve come! Running is such a test of patience for me.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:39 pm

      Totally an exercise in patience. Keep doing the work and it will get better and better!

  • Emma October 20, 2016, 12:16 am

    Talk about crazy good timing for this post…! I really identify with your 2005 self. I graduated from university in June and I’m running my first half this Saturday. I’m not that new to running, but I am very new to distance running. I’m experiencing so many doubts and fears about my half this Saturday. I know I won’t be fast. I know it’s gonna be tough. BUT I also know that I can do it! I’m going to keep your words in mind this Saturday and just try to have fun and be proud of myself for even doing this in the first place. Thanks for this post, Jen 🙂

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:36 pm

      Hey Emma –

      I’m wondering how your race went on Saturday. I’d love to hear a report!

  • Brittany October 20, 2016, 7:47 am

    Great post! I’ve always found running so painful and difficult. It has just never been my thing. I’ve done 5ks here and there, but just for fun and never for time or anything like that. I just recently decided to dabble in running a little more seriously after being inspired by runner friends and students at the Studio. It is reassuring to hear that it didn’t come easily to you at first either. Kudos to you for sticking with it. I know all too well that feeling of accomplishing a big goal and family/friends not really getting it.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:35 pm

      This comment brings up for me that not everyone has to love running, and that’s okay too. While it didn’t come easy for me, I did really, really love it and how it made me feel. Try to get into it again but don’t beat yourself up if it’s not your thing.

  • Katie October 20, 2016, 8:24 am

    Thank you for this post!!

    I started distance running after college as well. Before that I hated it with a passion. A friend made workouts fun and never focused on pace which allowed me to run longer. I signed up for a half and finished but felt extremely nauseated afterwards. My training improved and halfs became more enjoyable. I told myself I would never do a marathon. Then I ran long one day with a friend at an easy pace (10 miles). That afternoon I felt I needed to run more so ran another 4 or 5. And then I decided it was time to train for a marathon…I’ve also dealt with hip/knee issues but have finished 2 marathons. I was in great running shape and then got pregnant. Pregnancy taught me a great deal about being ok with where I was at in terms of fitness. I ran up to 38 weeks (much less distance and a lot slower). My daughter is 10 months old now and I just raced my first half last weekend. Not a PR but still a great race. I’m thankful for the journey. My husband has been very encouraging but it definitely is easy to be hard on yourself and compare. I’m trying to focus on this phase of life, consistency isn’t as easy but being a mom is amazing. I want to show my daughter it’s about being active and moving your body. That’s what we are made to do.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:34 pm

      You are so welcome!

      I love how you just let the marathon be a natural progression for you.

      Congrats on your first post-partum half. That’s an amazing accomplishment. While I don’t have experience with juggling children and workouts, I have watched so many friends, clients and students go through it and you are so right on the consistency being so hard to find. Remember this isn’t forever and stay connected to why you run…because it makes you feel so good, helps you be a better/more present mom and sets an amazing example for your daughter.


  • Kim K. October 20, 2016, 8:56 am

    ah, this is a great post. i realized today i am a month out from my third marathon and started getting anxious. I like to think i was always a runner, with the exception of being in college and gaining 40 pounds. I started triathlons in 2001(ish) after being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and while dating an exboyfriend who got me into Team in Training. Since then I’ve completed 2 Ironmen, 2 Boston Marathons, countless 70.3s, half-marathons and various other distance races (looking at Athlinks, I’ve roughly completed 85 races with 1,768 miles since 2004). This isn’t my first rodeo, but it’s the first time I am taking a marathon super seriously; rest days are rest days for a reason. Going into each workout with a specific thought is my focus. What is starting to stress me out is reading other marathon blogs; I can’t compare their training/pacing to mine. I need to learn to trust my coach, trust my training and trust myself that I will have a great race day!

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:31 pm

      Thank you Kim! I am SO freaking amazed by all of your races. That is incredible. It’s interesting that this third marathon is stressing you out but you’re so right to point out the dangers of comparison and self-doubt. I always think back to that tired and true saying of, “trust your training.” Distance running also requires a certain amount of surrender because sometimes it’s just not a good race day. Sending you tons of good vibes that the stars align in all the right ways and that you run a race you feel proud of and happy with…and that feels good in your body!

  • Joy October 20, 2016, 9:17 am

    This is such a fabulous post! I have such a similar story. I remember when I ran my first 5k without stopping–I was SO proud of myself because I never thought I’d get to that point. At 5K races I would see 10K finishers and wonder how they did that…it’s TWICE the distance. But then my sister encouraged me to run longer one day. She told me to just try six miles and see how it felt. You know what? I did it! And I couldn’t believe it. From then on, I trained for a few 10Ks then got the courage up to register for my first half marathon. It was a lot of work and the race was SO HARD for me (I was so exhausted by the end of the race that I almost missed the finish line. Thankfully my husband was at the sidelines and was directing me on the right path because I was totally veering off the wrong way). I now run 10+ miles for fun and feel so much better in my body with these long runs. It took me over a decade to get to this place, but I’m there and couldn’t be happier because the longer runs are so good for me mentally.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:29 pm

      Very cool story about the power of perseverance, believing in yourself and consistency. One of the things I love most of running is how much it shows us what we’re capable of when we can’t even believe/imagine it possible.

  • Mo October 20, 2016, 11:51 am

    Your words are spot on. I have been running for 33 years (since I was 15) and hope to be on the roads at least another 33. I guesstimate I ran around the Earth twice. I met my very closest of friends (including my husband) thanks to running. I’ve run races from 1500m to marathons, some very very fast, some very very slow. My running evolved through injuries (too many to count), pregnancies and babies (3X), slumps, and now an aging body. I’ve learned so much from running, and when in doubt, I tell myself “Never evaluate on an uphill. Get to the top. Enjoy the view. Keep going.”

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:27 pm

      I love this comment so much Mo. It made me smile so big. Very, very cool that you met your husband running. And I love that you’ve run through so many life experiences, phases and stages. Thank you for sharing the “never evaluate on an uphill” that is a great quote/advice.

  • Jennifer October 20, 2016, 1:42 pm

    Great post. Super encouraging and insightful. <3

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:26 pm

      Thank you Jennifer!

  • Kimi October 20, 2016, 1:50 pm

    Thanks for this post!
    I ran on the Humboldt Redwoods Marathon on Sunday just shy of my 45th birthday. It was my first marathon. I was feeling down on myself for my time and thought I could have gotten a better time. I ran my race and need to be proud of my accomplishment rather than comparing myself to other runners in my running club.
    Thanks for your constant encouraging posts.

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:25 pm

      Oh my gosh Kimi! CONGRATS on your first marathon. What an awesome accomplishment! NO COMPARISON! Done is done and you DID it!

  • Sandra October 20, 2016, 2:26 pm

    So very true! You have to love the goal that you or working towards or why are you doing it? Great thought provoking post!

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:25 pm

      Yes, you have to love the journey and not just the end goal!

  • Savannah October 20, 2016, 3:31 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing. I’m currently in college and training for my first half. Your story of your first half sounds EXACTLY like me so it was really nice to hear. All of my running buddies have been running for at least 7 years at this point, but I didn’t start until this year. I think I constantly forget that everyone I compare myself to has been running for MUCH longer than I have. A year ago, I couldn’t run more than 2 miles without being tired, but now I can do runs that are 7-9 miles and I’ll feel good afterwards, so I’m proud of that. I can’t wait to see how much I’ll improve in 5 years!

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:24 pm

      You are so welcome. Be easy on yourself and look how far you’ve already come. Good luck on the half and you WILL be a totally different runner 5 years from now. Mind your strength and mobility in addition to just running the miles and it will pay off big!

  • Julie Running in a Skirt October 21, 2016, 1:02 pm

    Love this post so much! It’s easy to gush about the race or in contrast just be hard on yourself… but it’s all about your personal experience and what you get out of it. I still can’t believe I ever decided to run longer distances. I’m not athletic and it took so much out of me… but at the same time I got so much out of it. I’ve taken a break for awhile running those longer distances for various reasons (I still run… just 3-5 at a time) and I’ve learned to love running in entirely new ways out of it. It’s all a journey and this is such a good reminder of that and to be kind to ourselves!

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:23 pm

      I can totally relate Julie. Running didn’t come easy to me either and I tend to swing in and out of distance running and the 3-5 milers you talk about…and it’s great either way!

  • Janice October 21, 2016, 4:34 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. Social media only shows the glorious end run photos, the smiles and the bright perfect sides of running. I think we (I) look at it wrong as if they have it easy and their runs come easy to them. Then I wonder why it isn’t easy for me. But everyone has their day of perfect all stars align runs and some of those days where it’s as if we have never run before. So thank you for sharing your story. It helps.

  • Tara October 24, 2016, 12:56 pm

    this is my favorite post i think ! this is so helpful for me. i too hurt all over after my first half and for all my longer training runs. i am so grateful for family support and for my running partner. my mom showed up at the end of my 1st half marathon to surprise me. it was so nice to see her there it showed that she supported me even though she totally didnt get it ! she was there on the side lines as i limped into mile 11 with the worst calf cramps ever for my second 1/2. she knew better than to ask me if i wanted to stop, she knew the answer was no. she gave me gatorade and a cold towel and told me to finish even if i walked the entire way and she would be there in the end. you remind me how grateful i should be for that. and my boyfriend is a good running partner. even though we dont always see eye to eye on running strategy he is there beside me when it counts. yes he may have yelled at me during a race that i should have eaten more carbs leading up to the race, but hey no one is perfect 🙂

    i have been so jealous this summer seeing all your running posts as i am sidelined with a hamstring injury and have gained a bunch of weight and am feeling bad about myself. your post truly reminds me that you have worked damn hard to get where you are and deserve every single pain free/fun mile you are having right now ! You show the commitment needed to be a distance runner. You put the time in with mobility work, yoga, listen to your body, etc. I am realizing running is WAY more than logging some miles. The real thing that gets you across any finish line of any distance is the pre/post work. And if you are unwilling to do that you will be a very sad runner.

    To the writer of the post – dont be so hard on yourself. focus on the feeling not the time ! so many people never even start the race let alone finish. you should be in awe of yourself. get yourself a 13.1 sticker and put that sucker somewhere you see it everyday and remember what a bad ass you are !

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 2:49 pm

      I’m so happy to hear this post resonated with you. I am very sorry to hear that an injury has you sidelined. I can completely relate to the frustration of being injured. Running is so much more than miles. Becoming a better and more well-rounded runner comes in the strength work, the mobility work, the rest, the recovery, the fueling, the taking care of our bodies, the listening to our bodies. Don’t give up. <3

      • Tara October 27, 2016, 8:49 am

        thank you ! you are inspiring me to remember that sometimes the most important part of running is the before and after ! its so much more complex than lacing up your shoes and just running.

  • Tara October 24, 2016, 12:58 pm

    i also think one thing we can do as a running community is to stop asking everyone what their time was. it always makes me feel bad when someone asks that. like they have an expectation and i am letting them/me down. Instead i now ask “did you have a good race”. if you want to share your time then you can but if not you can tell me you had a good race because you ran pain free or whatever. A good race doesnt have to be time specific…((Gets off soapbox)

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 2:47 pm

      Tara – I LOVE this point. You are right on that time is generally the first thing asked and it’s totally not the most important thing!

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