On Dreaming Big

On Dreaming Big

*deep breath*

There are some things in this life that are easy to declare. I love ice cream! My kids are cute! I love bedtime!

But then there are things that are not. Like: I’m going to train for a marathon.


I spent last week doing a lot of thinking about life. The things that we want and can’t have or can’t control the outcome over. The things that many of us take for granted without even realizing what blessings they are. That there are so many things that we *can* control but often fear is what holds us back, not anything permanent. I get like this – thinking too much. While often, my over-thinking annoys the heck out of me (and my husband!), sometimes it results in good. I think a lot about who I am and who I want to be.

Last week, I said outloud to my husband this big scary sentence of “I love telling people what I do for my job when they ask, but I want to add to that that I am also a photographer.” Do you know what happened? The very next day, 4 people emailed me about photo shoots through word of mouth recommendations. It’s not a big thing. I don’t need photography to be the way I make a living, but I love it and want to do it and saying it outloud was scary, but then it was like I got this message “You are one” and I felt at peace.

So, a few days ago, I was looking into fall half-marathons. It’s been a long time since I’ve run one – February of 2011 – and I wanted to do another. As I searched, I suddenly thought to myself “You’ve always wanted to do a full marathon. Why not?” and it was like this flash of inspiration. I got butterflies in my stomach and a nervous excitement that I haven’t felt in so long. I thought about how it is the scary, big, brave, unknown things in life that make those butterflies, but butterflies are the best feeling. It means that you are challenging yourself. It means that you aren’t playing it safe. I know I can train for and run 13.1 miles. I’ve done it. But 26.2? The unknown, the big, crazy, scary unknown has me excited for a new challenge.

So? I’m doing it!

I’m training for my first full marathon. All 26.2 miles of it. I’ve never run more than 13.1 and I’ve been sure to tell anyone who asks that the 13.1 was worse than childbirth (in my wimpy defense, childbirth was really amazing for me :) ), but I loved it. I should say, I didn’t train long enough for it – only 6 weeks. But I did it and it was such a great accomplishment that left me feeling so great. I can’t wait to face this new challenge. I can’t wait for the training runs, the work that goes into it and the guts it will take to get through the last 6 miles.

I can’t fully start training until November, but I have it on my radar and will be doing all I can before then to be ready for full on training for February 2013. Almost exactly 2 years to the day from when I ran my half. It won’t be like last time. I barely blogged at all about my training and fears and hopes and all that during the process. This time I will be. I will need the motivation, the place to share this journey, a place to keep me accountable.

I am taking on a big dream that I have had for so long. I can’t wait to share it all.

I also need lots of tips. Anyone done this? I am mostly nervous about fueling (never even ran with water while training for my half), getting up early to run (I like to sleep!), and staving off injuries. I have run regularly for 3 years with no injuries but have knees that like to bug me from time to time. I would love all of the feedback I can get.

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  1. Well, I have never run a marathon. Or a half marathon. Or..well, much at all. But I am loving you for dreaming big and doing it. So wonderful. I can’t wait to see the photo you’re going to post with your wild eyes and your messy hair and your thumbs up sign (or whatever other really cool thing runners do after running 26.whatever miles).

    Anyway, I can’t wait to see that photo.

  2. If I can go from nothing to a 10k in four weeks, you have totally got this!

  3. Congrats on taking on a big, scary goal! As a six time marathoner, there’s soooo much more advice than I can give in one comment. I’d LOVE to be a virtual cheerleader if you want to get back with me on email. For fueling, you need to do some taste testing as what I swear by (Cliff Shot Bloks) might not be best for you. There are gels, blocks, beans, electrolyte drinks and some people swear by non- traditional fuels like Jolly Ranchers or raw potatoes (?). For water I usually dropped water bottles ahead of my run every three miles since I don’t like carrying stuff. Then I’d go back later and pick them up.

  4. Hooray for you and a BIG dream!

  5. I have no advice, I couldn’t run from here to the end of the road!. But I massively admire people who do and I wish you all the luck in the world. I look forward to reading about your progress :)

  6. Hi Emily,

    First of all I’d like to say thank you for blogging again! I’ve often wondered how you are doing in your new”ish” job, etc. I thank you for sharing and encouraging me in my simple life walk. I have been a photographer for 10 years, a runner for 19, a mother for 8 1/2 and a marathoner for 9 months:) so we have a lot in common. You can do it! It will be a very busy few months training. In terms of trainjng, get enough sleep, take glucosamine and fish oil to keep the injuries at bay, make sure you’ve got good newer shoes. In terms of photography and all of it put together, keep a healthy balance. Keep living simply so financially you have the freedom to slow down if you want and be there for your kids.

  7. This is very inspiring. I totally get the thing about you wanting to be a photographer, but being afraid to call yourself one. I feel like with being a writer. It’s what I want, but I just can’t say it yet.

    If anyone can run the 26.2 miles, my money is on you. I wish you all the best and I look forward to seeing that picture of you crossing the finish line.

  8. Last night, I watched the documentary, “Happy” (new on Netflix on demand), which is very relevant to what you are going through right now. I’ve thought a lot today about what makes me happy and what type of challenges I should undertake to generate my own happiness in the second half of my life. It sounds like you are having a similar discussion with yourself. You are on the right track. Good luck!

  9. Congrats on the big decision! I’ve only run one marathon and I was sorely under-trained for it. I’m excited about going back though and hope to knock a big chunk of time off of my PR. Everyone told me that the goal of the first marathon is just to FINISH and that really helped take the pressure off me :)

  10. Lol, I can offer you absolutely zero advice on running. Much less running marathons. BUt I can say this, great job stepping up and doing what you want — dreaming is great, but doing is even better! Thumbs up from me!!

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  12. Hey there Emily, I found your blog on PersonalBlogs.org and I love this post on running because I can so relate to it. I ran my first half marathon this past June and WOW what an experience. I died but I felt like I was in a dream afterwards.

    I could go on and on about it, but the one thing I wanted to suggest to you was a book called The Marathon Method by Tom Holland. What a great read, it’s about training for full and half marathons, you will get some wonderful tips from it! I read it and absolutely threw myself into running, I’m actually running another half marathon this October. Check it out if you can!

  13. My husband just had a knee surgery and he can’t run for at least 5 months (!!!) but he’s also a great enthusiast of marathons, so we feel your pain… Hope you can get your plan working for that race!

  14. I had the same crazy idea back in February. It was always something I wanted to do, and one day I decided I was going to do it despite never even running a half. I’ll be honest – the training sucked, and I had a lot of doubt leading up to race day. But a few weeks ago I finished my first marathon… 13 weeks pregnant with baby #2. If I can do it, you can do it! Keep that nervous excitement and let it drive you to the finish line.

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