The time I wanted to run a marathon

marathon chicIn the beginning of 2013 I jumped on the running band wagon and decided I was going to run a 5K by April. I froze my butt off getting up super early before work, in the dark, to run on icy snow covered side walks. I bought a pair of $120 custom fit running shoes and started the couch to 5k program. I didn’t think I was out of shape by any means. I go to the gym on a regular basis and lifted weights. I’m not the fittest person, but I am in okay shape. When it came to running though I discovered I was a beginner. Nothing AND I MEAN NOTHING for me was harder then running. The Couch to 5k program was amazing as it slowly pushed me to run more and more not too quickly. Investing in a foam roller was the best thing I could have done as I was sore ALL of the time. After a few weeks I built up my stamina and started pushing myself. I averaged a little over 11 miles a limit, but for me that was good enough. My goal was to run a 5k and try to keep it under 30 minutes. My husband and I signed up for the Zombie Run in Philadelphia in April of 2013. Basically, you run through a course trying to avoid zombie that are trying to steal and pop balloons tied to your waist.

So for 4 months I busted my butt and was finally able to run a full 30 minutes, slowly but, I could do it. I won’t like, I HATED running. Yet, once I started I felt unstoppable. It hurt (in a good way) but it felt so good to push myself. If I had a crappy day at work I’d put on my running shoes and run it out. Afterwards I felt absolutely exhausted physically, but so much better emotionally.

We ran the 5k and I came in a little over 30 minutes. I had a hard time pacing myself since it was a bit hard to dodge zombies and run in a group of a few hundred people. I tended to try to keep up with others who ran faster then myself. Regardless, I ran the full race and was incredibly happy with myself.

Next, I wanted to tackle a 10k and then my goal was to run a marathon by the time I was 35. I thought 5 years was a reasonable amount of time to train.

Then this happened…

leg

Minor foot fracture as well as some torn muscle in my ankle. I was in a bit of pain before I gave up and went to the doctor. I decided to “run” through it. Bad idea. I blamed it on my shoes or the fact that I was running too much on pavement and tried to cut back as much as I could. Eventually the pain was so unbearable. After three MRI’s 2 doctors, I was put into a boot air cast and prescribed physical therapy. To this day my ankle does not feel right. I stretch, ice, and massage it but the lump above my ankle does not seem to go away. I think it may be scar tissue. It bothers me from time to time when I go for a brisk walk or use the elliptical for a long period of time, but I just deal. I’ve come to the conclusion it will never be 100% and most likely my “running days” are over. It saddens me as I never felt so physically challenged before. I imagined time and time again crossing the marathon finish line, exhausted, in pain, all while shedding tears of happiness.

In order to keep myself motivated I save several quotes that got me through those tough times, so I thought I’d share them. They can be applied to anything, running, life, or just achieving any goal.

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The art of giving ourselves credit for the smallest victories

As an “artist” I find that I constantly compare my work with other peoples. I put artist in quotation marks because I do not feel confident enough to call myself one. When I look at the amazing artwork of Mark Ryden or Tara Mcpherson I am mesmerized by the perfection of their pieces. Then I look at my work in comparison and see the sad realization that I will never be as good as them.

As the saying goes we are our own worst critics. By comparing ourselves to others we are actually judging ourselves. This leaves us full of self-doubt. We adopt the notion that we will never be good enough. Our motivation actually decreases when we are hard on ourselves.

So the question is how do we stop comparing ourselves? Rather then looking at the work of others, start looking at YOUR work. Pull out an old sketch book and compare it with some of your recent work. Look at your own progression as an artist. We are constantly becoming better at things as time goes on. We learn new techniques and with practice our potential is limitless.

When you start to really think about it comparing ourselves with others is actually illogical.
After all no two people are the same. Each of us posses unique experiences that influence our own person style. Take into account all the things we could learn or improve on if we see the work of other artists as inspiration rather then competition.

As an example I used to hate drawing hands and would try to avoid putting them in my work. Years later I learned a new technique and now I do not mind it as much. Actually I kind of like drawing them now. Look at my progression:

old hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of drawing out fingers I decided to try to make them wrap around the subjects shoulder. You can barely tell they are fingers.

 

2014 hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a quick sketch I did last night of a hand. It isn’t amazing but in comparison I have come very far from where I was years ago. The more often I practice the better I will become.

I remember seeing the phrase, “the art of giving ourselves credit for the smallest victories” somewhere online as I began to write this post. The statement really stood out to me. I believe it is important that we gives ourselves credit for our accomplishments no matter how big or how small.

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