Day 1 Marathon Training 2019

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Day 1 of Marathon Training!

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This is actually a lake! The fog was so thick you couldn’t see anything.

Today was super foggy. The fog this morning represents to me the goal that I can’t quite see yet. As I struggled this morning to complete 5 miles, it’s hard for me to imagine running 26.2 miles in less than 4 months and trying to make it my fastest marathon time yet. But as the fog lifts, I know that I will be able to push through and achieve my goal. It will be HARD but in the end I know achieving my goal and supporting St. Jude will all be worth it.

To Donate: http://heroes.stjude.org/Sarah_Burns

-Sarah

 

St. Jude Marathon 2018

 

On December 1, 2018, I ran in my second marathon race. It was a doozy! Tough, Hell,  and disappointed are just a few words to describe it. Let me explain.

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I started training for the marathon in July just as I did last year. My main goal this year was to beat my 2017 marathon time which was 4:59. Quickly into my marathon training I knew I was going to beat my pervious time. In 2017, my average pace was between 11-13 minutes per mile. This year my average pace is about 9-11 minutes. I was significantly faster. With my new pace, I was predicting to finish this year’s marathon around 4:30. I continued to keep this pace and even get faster throughout my marathon training. I was confident that I would PR (set a personal record) this year.

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Race day arrived. I felt good. Even though I trained and prepared the best I could, December 1st turned out to be an unexpected and unpredictable day. First, the race was delayed 1 hour due to stormy weather. We were now starting the marathon at 9am. Also at 9am the temperature was already 64 degrees and expected to continue to get warmer. Plus due to the morning storms and warm weather, humidity was also added to the mix. I was thankful though to have Kayla and my sister at the start of the race. Even though Kayla was running the half this year, I am glad we were able to start the race off together.

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I started the race with a good pace. I was averaging around a 9:30 pace. It was exactly where I wanted to be. I kept this pace all the way up to the half, 13 miles. Then at mile 14, it started to go down hill. Around mile 14 my legs started hurting really bad. I had never felt this pain before. It was really bad. I remember thinking to myself that my legs can’t hurt this bad already, I still have around a half to go. Shortly after this realization, is when I had my first panic attack attempt. I felt myself getting really overwhelmed. I started breathing really heavy and then it became difficult to breath. I had to start walking, calm down, and slow my breathing. Because of the pain, my pace was drastically getting slower. The 4:00 pacer had already passed me awhile back but I was still ahead of the 4:30 pacer. I knew I was slowing down but I was still on track to achieve my goal time. Around mile 15 the 4:30 pacer passed me. I kept up wit the pacer for about a mile then had to slow down due to the excruciating pain in my legs. This is when my second panic attack attempt hit. I got so overwhelmed because I knew I was not going to be able to make my 4:30 goal time. I was eventually able to calm down and keep running.

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Miles 18 – 24 were a blur of pain and exhaustion. I remember being in a lot of pain and anticipating every single water stop because I was so thirsty and hot. I wanted to keep pushing myself. I knew the 5:00 pacer had not passed me yet. So if I just kept pushing, I would beat last years time even if that meant by 1 minute. Then I saw a lot of runners getting hurt. I saw runners passed out on the ground and taken away in ambulances. This told me that I had to ease up. I was worried that if I kept pushing myself so hard when I was already in a lot of pain, that I would eventually hurt myself. From then on I did a lot more walking. I had to stop several times as well to stretch. The pain was really intense. Kayla started texting me around mile 21. She gave me some much needed motivation. She let me know I was doing great and I was a badass. Around mile 22 or 23 is when the 4:50 pacer passed me. I was disappointed but I at this point I just wanted to be done.

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Mile 24 came and I knew I was almost done. I knew if I could just keep slowly going that I would finish soon, plus I still had not seen the 5:00 pacer. It was a bit windy during the race but right around mile 24 is when the wind decided to get intense. I remember being so exhausted and giving it everything I could just to run up the hills near the end. I remember a strong head wind blowing against me right as I was trying to run up a hill. I said “f*ck it,” gave up and walked up the hill instead. It was insane. Near the end of the race wind gusts were up to 25 mph. Plus the temperature was around 75 degrees.

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Mile 25, “one more mile” was my mantra. I knew I was almost there. I had only one more mile left, I could do this! I round the corner and see the finish line. I see and hear Kayla cheering me on. I make the last turn then cross the finish line. That was it, I did it! I was beyond exhausted and in so much pain. My sister met me right as I crossed the finish line. As soon as I saw her I collapsed in her arms and started crying. I remember telling her, “that was really hard.” lol Of course the photographer comes around right in the middle of me bawling my eyes out. I am really glad though that he was able to capture that special moment between my sister and I.

I was still unsure of the exact time I finished. I didn’t think I beat my time but I never saw the 5:00 pacer pass me. I changed into new clothes, grab some pizza, then went to the booth to print my official finish time.  I got the print out and saw that I finished at 5:03. I met up with Kayla, and as soon as I saw her I started bawling crying in her arms too. I was a mess. I was so disappointed that I didn’t beat my time and that I was only off by 4 minutes!

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I knew how hard I worked and trained for the marathon. There should have been no reason why I didn’t beat my time. I feel the main reason was because it was so hot. Now usually if I don’t reach my goal, I just try again. Its not that easy when the goal is PRing a marathon. I couldn’t just run a marathon the next day. So I will have to wait.

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I will definitely be running the St. Jude Marathon again in 2019 where I hope to beat my original time of 4:59. Until then I will continue to keep running, making new goals, and achieving those goals. Looking back, I may be still disappointed but I know I did the best I could. I still ran 26.2 miles! Not a lot of people can say that. Plus I survived through miles of excruciating pain but yet no injuries. I may be hard on myself but I still know that I am a badass unicorn and I will continue to fight and achieve my goals!

-Sarah

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Did you know a marathon is hard?!

But super fun, too?!

The above image is me after running for 5 hours 52 minutes!! Of course it was hard, but I trained hard for it too and this will always be something I will be proud of.

To start off, I have to give a huge shout out to my support system! These ladies came out and stayed in the worse hotel in Memphis (Motel 6 don’t go!). They were ran out by bed bugs at 3 in the morning and were standing at AutoZone Park ready to cheer us on bright and early at 6am!

Being surrounded by 26,000 runners to kick off the race was so crazy. It was just so amazing to be in that group of people who were running for so many different reasons.

I was really grateful to start the race off with Sarah since we would not finish together. Let’s talk about badass though! She finished this shit in 4:59!!! Like what? I’m just back here taking my sweet time!

One of my favorite things about the race was the city of Memphis! There were so many fans out there cheering complete strangers on. It was so fun. One street’s neighborhood showed up! They had donut holes, shots, beer, Bloody Mary’s, mimosas, chips, music! I was like Damn! Could you guys move to the end please?!

I also loved being able to run through the St. Jude campus and see some of the patients that I raised money for. Props to those people who helped me reach that goal!

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I didn’t have a goal for finishing by a certain time. I kept my pace around what I trained at, 11:30. Everything was good too. My hip didn’t hurt, my nutrition was working, I was having fun. And then came Mile 20. Which was the furthest distance I had done during my training.

For me to get to Mile 21, it took me 15 minutes! Like what happened? I have no idea. I guess my body just needed to get used to that distance. And it did. After that I picked my pace back up to my normal. Once I got to Mile 23, I was like “You are about to finish a marathon!”

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Photo By MarathonFoto

I told a guy next to me, “Mile 23 to 26 is where winners are made!” He was like “Or failures.” Ummmm, Boy, Bye!!

Once I got to that point, I knew I just had to keep moving. I was dodging so many walkers and one couple was like “You go girl! Keep it up.” I was like “I am just ready to be done with this!!”

At that point though, your body is numb. You’re hungry! And if you walk, you just think, RUN! So this will be over faster. Thanks to the tracking app, my friends and family were sending encouraging texts toward the end of the race which really helped me through.

As I crossed the finish line, I had tears in my eyes and thought, “I cannot believe I just did that. Wait, yes I can. Of course I did that!” It was so amazing. To be able to accomplish something that I had put so much work into was unbelievably gratifying.

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Ignore that time! Me crossing the finish line! Photo by MarathonFoto

After the race, I told people that there was no way in hell I would run another marathon. But now….I don’t know. I might do some more. I will definitely be running half marathons, especially the St. Jude. I highly recommend this race to anyone! The expo was top notch. The after race goodies were great! So many options! Oranges, water, bananas, foil human burrito maker, pizza, donuts, BEER!

And thanks to Sarah for waiting a whole hour after she was done for me to finish! It was great to see her smiling face when I came across. Then we had to walk up stairs to get to the food and beer! Like hello?! Whoever designed that has never done a marathon!

Life has been slowly returning to normal. It only took us the whole month to recap our races. The New Year is right around the corner and we hope you stick with us to see what we have in store for 2018! The Badass Unicorns are here to stay and run around!

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Photo By MarathonFoto

Peace out!

Kayla

Sarah’s 1st Marathon

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My first marathon was an amazing experience and as I passed the 26 mile marker with tears in my eyes, I tell myself that I would definitely do this again!

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We trained our butts off. We did everything we could to prepare ourselves for this moment. We were as ready as we would ever be.

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Standing in the corral with thousands of people, over 26,000 to be exact was mind blowing. I was over whelmed, nervous, scared, and excited all at the same time.  Kayla and I await our turn to the start line, slowly moving forward, we give our final waves to our families then locked arms as we cross the start line. I am so blessed and thankful to have an amazing running partner.  Kayla and I ran together for the first mile and a half, and then I decided to run at my own pace. We did not see each other again till Kayla crossed the finish line. This was our first race that we both ran in that we did not run with each other the whole time. This was big for us. We could not use each other for support during the race which was what we have always done before. Thankfully we had the motivation and support from our amazing city!  

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The first 5 miles of the marathon were pretty crowded. It was hard to run faster because there was just so many people. Mile 5 was when we went through the St. Jude Hospital campus. It was amazing to see patients outside cheering us on and thanking us for running.  After mile 5 I was really able to run at a faster pace. I was able to stay with a 4:55 pacer (meaning it should take 4 hours and 55 min. to finish the marathon) all the way to about the 22 mile mark, then I fell behind a little. I was very proud of myself for staying at a good constant pace for most of the race. Mile 24, 25, and 26 all brought tears to my eyes. I was so proud of myself!  Right after mile 26, my mom and sister were waiting for me on the corner. I was happy to see them and so thankful that they were there supporting me and cheering me on. Of course my mom bursts into tears which then makes me cry as well. Then I turn the corner and shot through to the finish line. As they place the heavy metal around my neck, I stand there in awe. I am now a marathoner I told myself. I did it!

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I am so glad that the St. Jude Marathon was our first marathon. It was amazing!! We were able to fundraise and participate in a race that raised over $10 million dollars for the St. Jude Hospital. We were also able to witness a whole city coming together to support this amazing cause. The city of Memphis usually gets a bad rap and is known to be violent city, but not on this day. The whole city came out to support the St. Jude runners. At every single mile there we people cheering us on. One of my favorite parts of the marathon was all the amazing signs everyone made! I’m pretty sure that the only way I got through the 26.2 miles alive was because I hit every power up and energy boost poster I saw.

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Some signs were hilarious! They took my mind off the pain and brought a smile to my face. Some of my favorite sign and others were…… “Find a cute butt and chase it” “Smile if you peed a little” “I just farted, run faster” “This is Memphis, run like you stole something” “Your feet hurt from kicking so much ass” “You do marathons. I do a marathon runner” “Your running better that our government” and “Don’t poop!”

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The whole city also came out and supported by giving out candy, snacks, beer, shots, mimosa, Gatorade, and water. Around mile 22, I was so hungry that I started eating every snack I could get hands on. I had potato chips, a fun sized snickers bar, pretzels, and a piece of baked potato.  I skipped the beer and fireball shots. though There would be no way I would be able to run after that

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Overall, my first marathon was an amazing unforgettable experience. I am so proud of how hard I worked and that I accomplished my goal. I plan on running in the St. Jude marathon again and many more marathons as well. I am so thankful to everyone that has supported me through my running journey.  And even though we have completed our first marathon, we are not done running. Running is in our hearts and if it’s up to us we will never stop running. Forever Runners! Forever Badass Unicorns!

Badass Unicorn Marathoner,

Sarah

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Sacrifice.

Six days till we get in our little corral and nervously wait to cross the start line of our first marathon!!

It’s been six months of training which means six months of sacrifices! We thought we would share some of the things we gave up so we could make this goal a reality.

Kayla’s Sacrifices.

1. Alcohol

2. Sleep

3. Comfort

I didn’t give up alcohol for the entire six months. I would sacrifice drinking on Friday nights because I would have a long run, bright and early! I did give up alcohol in the last month though. I made a couple exceptions, like Thanksgiving! I thought it would be nice to cleanse out those toxins in the last month so I would feel extra healthy for the race. I made sure to keep drinks on hand besides water. I learned that there is a habit in drinking, just having that glass of wine in hand after work. If I dressed up a virgin drink after work, it was almost like I was satisfying that craving with just a fancy drink. I will definitely be thinking of the nice, cold brew I’ll treat myself to while running.

Training for a marathon while working a full time job is no joke! There were mornings I had to get up at 4 a.m. Sometimes I would be trying to beat the heat for a long run, others I would be trying to fit in a run before my work day started at 7 a.m. Usually with these early wake up calls would mean that I would be in bed by 8 p.m. asleep by 9. Now it’s almost like I can’t sleep past 7 a.m. and I really feel like it is a direct result of this crazy running lifestyle I developed.

Sacrificing comfort for me means that, at times, I was physically uncomfortable. Either having to wake up at 4:30 in the morning and make myself put my shoes on and get out the door. Or the aches and pains that your body goes through while training. Talk about getting up from sitting at work and every muscle in your body feels like it is protesting your movement! And of course, making yourself push yourself out of comfort zone while running. While I wasn’t able to get faster through training (damn hip!) I was able to push myself way beyond my limits. I remember when I could barely run three miles and in six days I will be running 26.2. So it may hurt and you may feel defeated at times, but push yourself, it’s worth it!

Sarah’s Sacrifices.

1. Excuses

2. Comfort

3. Giving up

I use to be good at making excuses. Then I became a runner! There are no excuses in running. December 2nd (date of the marathon) will come no matter how much training I have done. To make sure I was fully prepared for the marathon, I had to train, I had to run. No matter what life threw at me, I had to run. And if I absolutely had to skip a run, then I had to make it up later that week. Running has taught me that what I once thought were obstacles that were keeping me from doing things, were just my own excuses holding me back. Running teaches me how strong I really am and that there is nothing that can stop me from doing what I want to do, and nothing keeping me from becoming the strong, badass unicorn I am meant to be!

Running is uncomfortable. It is uncomfortable physically, emotionally, and mentally. I don’t like being uncomfortable(who does?). But I now believe that you will never know how much you are capable of, and how strong you are until you are forced to be uncomfortable. “Great things never came from comfort zones” Discomfort causes you to change, to grow, and to adapt. Yes, its uncomfortable, but did I die? NO! I got through it and I can do it again!

I had to give up on giving up. You can see the finish line, but you can’t feel your legs. You can’t just stop. You have to keep going. I remember when running a mile was hard, and now in 6 more days I’ll be running 26.2 miles. Will it be hard? Hell yes! But I know I will be able to do it because I haven’t given up yet, and I’m not going to start now! There would be no way I’d be where I am today if I had given up. There is no way I’d be the woman I am today if I had given up. Giving up is not an option. There is nothing like the feeling of when all you want to do is to stop and give up. You are tired, hungry, irritated, can’t breath, and everything hurts, but yet you still push through and keep going. You may think that you could never run a marathon (yea, I thought that too). But if you work hard, train, embrace being uncomfortable, stop making excuses, and never give up, then you could run a marathon too and anything else you set your mind to!!

Love,

Kayla and Sarah

Twenty. Venti. Zwanzig.

Yesterday marked 20 days till our marathon! Ahhh! Speaking of 20, this past weekend Kayla and I ran our longest mileage run ever! We both ran 20 miles! Did you know Zwanzig is German for twenty?!

The 20 mile mark in our marathon training was a major milestone. This was our final test before the race. This is where we see if we could actually make it, if our bodies can actually run 20 miles or more.

I thought of the 20 mile long run as the closet comparison to the actual race day. I was nervous. Not only was I nervous to run 20 miles but I decided to run my long run differently this time. Breakaway Running is an amazing supporter of the St. Jude Marathon. They have a training plan you can follow as well as weekly group runs. So I decided last minute that I was going to run with the Breakaway running group. I had no idea what to expect. I knew they would have water stations set up along the route and I looked at the course but I didn’t really study it because I thought that there would be enough people that I could just follow. Also the course was set up for 11 miles. People training for the half marathon would run the course once and people training for the full marathon would run the course twice. So I would actually have to run 22 miles! 22 miles!! Ahhh! Crazy right!?! The run was also at 6 am and the temperature was going to be 34 degrees. Two more running conditions that I was not use to.

So on the day of the long run I arrived at the Breakaway store only about 10 minutes before the run. I stretched a little but not that much. I was so overwhelmed with all the people and trying to figure out what was going on that I didn’t pay attention much to what the speaker was saying about the course. There had to be over 100 people there. It felt like race day. It was super cold and my fingers were freezing but I knew I would warm up once I started running.

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 Once we started, I was in the middle of the group. I was trying to pace myself based on how they were running. Everything was going great. As I came up on the 11 mile mark, everyone that was around me stopped and turned into Breakaway. I was totally confused. I knew that I had to run the course twice so I kept going forward.  There were literally only a few people in front of me that kept going but they were pretty far ahead. I was scared that I was going to lose them and get lost on the course.  The course was actual streets going through downtown Memphis, so we were running on busy roads and under overpasses. I was nervous to be running alone. I kept running ahead and after a while I noticed that there several people in front and behind me which made me feel better. At around the 12 mile mark, my tummy was really upset and I had to stop at a gas station and use the restroom. When I got out, I continued to run and noticed that there were only a few people behind me now. At mile 13, my legs were starting to hurt. By mile 16 my feet and legs were becoming so painful. I was almost in tears because I was in so much pain. I had to keep running though. I didn’t quite know where I was and I didn’t want to lose the few people that were in front of me. There were a few times that I was the very last person with no one behind me. That was scary. I didn’t think I was going to make it. I was running so slow that I was almost walking. Everything hurt. Then I hit 20 miles! I knew I couldn’t stop now. Only 2 more miles left to go. I kept pushing, kept going till I finally made it! 22 miles!! I had tears in my eyes because I was so proud, also because I was in so much pain. I did it. Only 4 more miles after that and that would be a marathon. At that moment, I finally knew that I would be able to run a full marathon. I was scared and nervous before, but now there was no doubt in my mind that I would be able to complete 26 miles!  I was ready!

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-Unstoppable, Sarah

Now for the country girl’s tale of running in the middle of nowhere! Much like Sarah, I was pretty nervous to tackle 20 miles. The Friday before the run, I had visited a doctor so that I could get a physical therapy order. They ended up doing a bunch of X-rays on my hip because it has been hurting for a month or so now. The doctor thinks I have abductor tendonitis, which pretty much means overuse of the muscles there. Of course! Then the doctor asks me, “How important is it for you to do this marathon?”

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Like 100 percent important doctor!! Anyways, he totally understood and gave me some anti-inflammatory and ordered for me to start physical therapy. So with this knowledge, I knew that going into this marathon, my only goal was to finish without completely injuring myself.

Which is the same goal for the remainder of my training. Thankfully, my hip doesn’t completely stop me from running. I made sure to keep my 20 mile run at a steady pace averaging at 12:52 a mile. Which is really slow and I really wish I could run faster but I have to accept that I physically cannot. So that will most likely be my pace for the marathon.

My run was pretty uneventful. I did see some puppies and piggies! I didn’t experience too much pain throughout the run. Toward the end I think my mind wanted to give up but not my body. I just kept telling myself just keep running till the next mile. If you keep running, you’ll be done soon. And sure enough, I was done soon! Jk this shit took 4 plus hours!

 

Being able to finish a 20 mile run though is something I never thought I would do. Once you are done, you know that you can finish a marathon. We have been training since July and now here we are less than a month away from the start line!

During this time, I have learned that I am capable of achieving hard goals. I have a lot going on in my life but somehow I still managed to stick to my training and not give up when the miles seemed too much. I don’t even know what I am going to do with myself after the race. Like I get my Saturdays back!!

As the race approaches, we are going to be doing some fun countdown stuff over on our Facebook page. So make sure you go like us and follow us to Memphis where we will run for the children of St. Jude! (And for the food and beer!)

 

With determination,

Kayla

Seasons Change

Seasons change, the weather changes, the leaves change colors and fall. What does not change is the date of our marathon, December 2nd!

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No matter what changes are going on in the weather, in the seasons, or even our personal lives, the fact that we still have to run stays the same. The race is not going anywhere therefore we still have to train no matter what changes are going on.

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Change! That’s a loaded word. With change can come frustration, anxiety, and chaos, but it can also bring joy, excitement, and new beginnings. For myself, I am slightly OCD. Slightly meaning I like things to be a certain way. I like things to have their own place and for it stay there. I like to do things a certain way and to not deviate from that way. Thus I do not like change that much. Change stresses me out and gives me anxiety. I really think it is a control thing. I’d rather be in control of the outcomes of my life. Funny right? Because we all know that will never be the case. Change is constant. It will forever interrupt our lives. So we can either get used to it or forever fight it.

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Running continues to teach me every day about life and about myself.  And as the seasons change, running teaches me that change is okay. You have to adapt. As the weather gets colder, I have to now learn how to run with more layers of clothing. I have to figure out the right amount of layers and what is most comfortable as well. I have to get use to running in the cold. I hate the cold! I also have to adjust my running schedule due to the sun rising later and setting earlier. Because of this I have had to do a few afternoon runs in between my am and pm jobs. I am thankful for the time change though. I can hopefully be able to get in more early morning runs now. 

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Running teaches me that no matter how life changes we still have to keep running. I have worked hard training for this marathon and I’m not going to let any changes stop my progress. Through running I have learned that I can adapt. I am strong and change does not have to be difficult or scary.

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Without change you are comfortable and complacent. Without change you don’t progress, you don’t grow. Change forces you to fight, to push. Change forces you to change something about yourself which then forces you to grow and become a stronger and better person. So when changes happen, embrace them. Yes it will probably be difficult and uncomfortable but it will also push you to grow into the strong person you are meant to be and the badass unicorn you truly are!! 

-Forever Adapting, Sarah