while goals take time and effort, they are worth it
My name is Lisa, and I am a runner. Running has been my favorite sport since junior high when I joined the track team. Back then, and through high school, I was a sprinter and the thought of doing anything more than a 400m race was unfathomable. However, as time went on and track season was over, I decided to run 5Ks. I continued these into my early college years but life, and eventually work, got in the way. After I turned 30, I learned that my co-worker, Gloria, completed a marathon with Team in Training and became a coach for the organization. The idea of a marathon intrigued me and the fact that she walked the entire 26.2 miles made it less intimidating. At this point in my life, running was not at the forefront of my life and I didn’t think I could ever run that distance since a 5k was the most I had ever done. As I explored marathon training groups, I learned about the Galloway training method of run/walk. This system was a perfect fit for me so I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon
During the first summer of training some members of my running group mentioned that Appleton, WI had a marathon 3 weeks prior to Chicago’s. Since we had to do our long run that weekend anyway, and I had a friend who lived in that area, I decided to enter the Fox Cities marathon. Once I completed that race and then the 2000 Chicago marathon 3 weeks later, I thought I was done. I accomplished my goal! Then Gloria mentioned Grandma’s marathon in Duluth, MN which had a lottery system to get in. We both applied and were accepted, extending my journey into that next June. On the drive up, Gloria mentioned the 50 States Marathon Club where each member’s goal is to run a marathon in every state. My first response was, “That is CRAZY!” Well, after having a fun time at Grandma’s and hearing about some of the other marathons that existed on the drive home, I reflected that I just finished my 3rd marathon in my 3rd state. The wheels began to turn and I made the decision that summer to make this GOAL my own. I decided then that my 50th state would be Indiana since it is the next state closest to Illinois so friends and family could see me finish.
During the next 3 years I ran 37 marathons in as many states and also met the man of my dreams back home. After we got married, I took the next 10.5 years off from running to be MOM to our 4 children. During those years, I would long to get back into running, but could never make the time to make it work. Once my youngest turned 2, I finally felt like the time had come to get back on the saddle and work towards my goal. So in early 2015, I started training again and mapping out a plan for my finish.
Boy, how things changed in ten years! Although I weighed less than I did when I left off, I wasn’t any faster. Being able to just go out and run was not something I could do anymore. There were schedules to check and kid coverage to plan. My husband has been a wonderful supporter and gracious partner as he cheerily takes on the “Mr. Mom” role during my long weekend runs. Having my family at the race is a very different experience than when I ran alone. If they are traveling with me, the travel plans increase ten-fold from when I was single. If I am traveling alone, the logistical planning for everything back home is a comic rendition of “who’s on first.” However, throughout this craziness, I do hope the two things my kids walk away with from this experience are fond memories of the places we have traveled and the understanding, that while goals take time and effort, they are worth it!
So my goal, 16 years in the making, became a reality at the 2016 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. It was an absolutely perfect day! So many little details all came together to make it an unforgettable day. It was a special treasure to share this day with Mike Fitzgerald (December 2015 #BeMonumental story), who also completed his goal of running the 50 states that day. I had so much fun taking the race at a slower pace and just taking in the scenery, talking with my friends and family along the course, talking with fellow runners about their journeys, taking a bunch of pictures along the way, and just truly enjoying all 26.2 miles and the memories it made for me. Thank you Beyond Monumental for putting on a great race which helped create the perfect ending to this journey.