Monday, June 11, 2012

Never Surrender Blogfest

This blogfest is being hosted by Elana Johnson in celebration of the release of her YA novel Surrender. I look forward to hopping around and reading as many as time permits!

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.

Don’t blog? Put the cover of Surrender up on your FB wall, or pin it on Pinterest, or change your twitter avatar to the cover. Use the words “Never Surrender” somewhere to go with the picture, and link back to this post.

Sign up in this form to make sure you get the swag package. Elana will visit each blog to read your inspirational "never surrender" moments. Sign your blog up to participate in the Never Surrender blogfest linklist below.

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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.

























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30 comments:

  1. I compare writing to running all the time, and I only run the occasional 5K. But there are a lot of parallels.
    I have seen you everywhere on all the blogs I follow lately! Doing interviews and stuff--good for you-it's a great way to join in. blog tests are fun but do take up time. I signed up for the teenage diary one just now--I figure it'll be a nice summery treat to myself. And I have some funny stuff to share.
    See you around!

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    1. Thanks for your comment Kristen. Looking forward to your "teenage self" post!

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  2. That is an amazing achievement! Good for you for pushing yourself to make it the whole way, and for an excellent cause!

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    1. Thanks Kyra.. I don't think I could have made it w/o Team in Training!

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  3. These are inspiring posts! And so true that writing is like rumming a marathon. Although I haven't actually done the running part, and you have. :-) You have the REAL comparison in your archives.

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    1. Yes, and now if I could just carry that inspiration through to my writing I might actually make some progress! :-)

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  4. Marathons… My brother has ran some of them. I, too, want to do one someday, but know that I’ll have a ton of training to do first…
    ~Aidyl

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    1. Thanks for your commnent. There is a lot of training but that is what makes it doable... each week you go a little farther until you reach your goal!

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  5. WOW, that's great! And for a great cause also.

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  6. This was a very inspiring story.. makes me want to try running a marathon!

    BTW, I have an given you the Liebster Award on my blog. Feel free to stop by sometime to pick it up. :)

    Andrea

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    1. You should totally run a marathon - such a great experience!

      And thanks for the award!

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  7. What an inspiring story. I hope to one day run a 5k (baby steps).
    Good luck on your first draft.

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  8. Wow, congrats on the marathon. I'm very impressed by people who can run marathons. I think they're crazy. But it's impressive too. :)

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    1. Thanks... it has been almost six years now and I huff and puff if I try to run around the block. Maybe I need to do another! :-)

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  9. I am impressed! I can't even imagine running a marathon. Even in my fittest days I hated running. Now I love it but I'm too out of shape to commit to any distance. I do think running and writing are very easy to compare too!

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    1. Alas, I am now out-of-shape as well. But that is the thing about training for a distance event... you start small and build up week-after-week. It is demanding but very possible!

      Thanks for your comment!

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  10. I love your Never Surrender story! The year I trained for a marathon, I couldn't run a mile in January when I started. By October, I ran the marathon. When I finished my first marathon, my next goal was to write the book I'd always talked about writing. I loved your comparisons between running and writing - so true. Great story Julia! Thank you for sharing it!

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    1. Thanks for your comment and good luck with the book!

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  11. Wow! congrats on the marathon. that's an amazing accomplishment. A great story for a great blog fest!

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    1. Thanks Angela. It was a big accomplishment for me, and I am still proud of it six years later! :-)

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  12. Nice! It would take me 13 days to run a full marathon. I know you trained hard. One does not simply say they'll run a full marathon when they're not in proper shape.

    So what's next...running up the steps of the Empire State Building?

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    1. Next would be finishing this book I have been working on! Then finding an agent, getting it published. You know, easy peasy stuff like that! :-)

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  13. Excellent story! Sometimes I wish someone would make an outline of how to write, and when, and for how long, like you had a training schedule for your marathon.

    But yes, the parallels between writing and running are amazingly clear. Thanks for participating in the blog hop!

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    1. Thanks Elana for hosting this fun event. I am someone who needs a schedule or whatever "it" is won't get done! :-)

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  14. Color me impressed. My son has aspirations of an upcoming bicycle marathon. I will be sending him the link to this post pronto.

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    1. Thanks Leslie, and good luck to your son!

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  15. Impressive! I had never heard of Team in Training before, but that really sounds like the way to go if running a marathon was a goal of yours. Support systems are crucial! :)

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    1. Thanks DL... on my way over to read your story!

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