Here are the specifics!
All you have to do is blog about a time you didn't surrender. Trained for a marathon? Queried agents? Had to study for an entrance exam? I'm looking for inspirational stories that you have experienced. Hard things you've accomplished because you didn't give up. I want to be inspired by you!
Anyone who blogs this week for the theme can enter to win one of three $15 B&N gift cards. Everyone who blogs this week will receive a SURRENDER swag package.
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And here is my story.
It is true that you must walk before you can run. In October 2006 I completed the Nike Women's Marathon. But I didn't wake up the morning of and decide to go run a big race. I put a plan in place, gathered a support group, and trained hard for many, many months.
1. Making the commitment. I ran my marathon with an awesome organization called Team in Training, which is part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I went to a meeting and decided to sign up for the half-marathon . . . the full 26.2 miles seemed way too hard at the time. But I am a very competitive person and I couldn't bear the thought of other people running an entire marathon while I "gave up" at the half-way point (I totally don't consider running a half-marathon giving up as 13.1 miles is quite an accomplishment as well. This is just how I felt at the time.) So I committed to run all 26.2 of those miles. I also committed to raising money to help support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, a requirement when participating in an event through Team in Training.
2. Putting a plan in place. This was fairly easy because I was training with an organization. They gave us a sample schedule and organized group runs every Saturday morning. I stuck to the schedule like glue, running or cross-training 6-7 days-a-week for five months.
3. Gathering a support system. I had the support of Team in Training and the Saturday morning runs to keep me accountable. But without the support of my husband and his parents I could never have done this. I woke up at 5am and completed the short 5-mile, mid-week runs on my own. But most Saturdays my husband joined me for the long runs. That meant the kids were dropped off at my in-laws on Friday night so we could get up early and go. Even though my husband complained about the slow-pace, I loved having him there with me! We didn't talk much on the runs but it was great together time.
Team in Training gives you the tools to set up a fund raising web site and through that I was able to raise most of the money I needed to contribute to the event, a portion of which went towards airfare and hotel accommodations. It was exciting to tell people about my plan to run the marathon and heart-warming to see the donations start coming in. It was very motivating to know my friends and family were behind me as well, supporting me with their cheerleading and donations.
4. Train hard and don't give up! That first group run was tough! Five miles of huffing and puffing, but I made it. Getting up at 5am was tough! But it felt good to get my workout done before breakfast. The ice baths (yes this means dumping a bunch of ice in an already cold tub of water and then getting in for 10 minutes) after the long runs were REALLY tough! But I was rarely sore (just very tired) and I can officially add the title of Crazy Woman to my name. Cross-training was tough! I chose to do spinning classes, which are great for endurance and leg strength, but a type of exercise I have always found hard. But I pushed through these classes because I knew I would come out a better runner for it. Making a 5-month commitment was tough! I think I missed only one workout over the entire 5-month period due to a head cold. But I stuck with it because I am the type of person who, if I start missing a workout here or there, will make *very good* excuses why it is OK to miss more.
I didn't give up! And I can say without a doubt, after my wedding and giving birth to three kids, running this marathon has been the most exciting and memorable experience in my life so far. Not only that, I am proud of myself for sticking with it and accomplishing my goal.
During one of the keynotes' speech at a recent writing conference it dawned on me that there are lots of similarities between my marathon experience and the writing process. I don't think it takes a genius to see the parallels. Hopefully I can be inspired by my own story and buckle down and finish my 1st draft. My main problem with writing is sticking to the "training schedule." I sit down to write and there are so many distractions on my computer (like fun blogfests - ha!) I need to make a time for writing and do nothing else. Period.