It was about three years ago, when my friend, Laura, text me one afternoon that she had signed up for her first half marathon.  It was the Hollywood Half Marathon and she and her girlfriend, Melanie, were taking the plunge to train together and encourage one another down the path to success.

A half marathon is something I had always said I “wanted to do one day”.  I would frequent the gym and run outside on a weekly basis and had done the annual turkey trot in my hometown each year, but never had I run more than about seven miles.  Seeing Laura set her mind to something and knowing she was nervous but she didn’t give up or question herself, truly set my mind up for it as well.  I, too, decided to take the plunge and paid my submission fee online.  No turning back now…

I was living in Hollywood at the time and my two running partners lived in a cute little beach town a bit south.  They sent me their training schedule for encouragement and I would hear how motivated they were so naturally, this motivated me too.  I started slowly and began to work my way up to longer runs when one day, I got a call from work. "You’re going to be traveling for a show to various cities across the country.  They are all night shifts, 7PM – 7AM, four days in a row for the next two months.”  While I was super excited to be booked with a television production company that travels the country, I was hoping I’d still be able to keep up with my new, unfamiliar training regimen. 

I set out on the first city and as expected, 7PM-7AM turned into 5PM-8AM.  Four days in a row. Jet lagged.  To say the least, I was exhausted.  My body was struggling and to prevent myself from getting physically ill, I basically had to set aside my jogging tasks.  I’d come home for a few days and tell myself that I was going to run in order to keep up with Laura and Melanie in their training progression.  Gearing up with all my awesome new workout clothes (bought for motivation, of course), I’d set out on a lovely 10 mile run.  Here I go!

Jog to the corner… stoplight. Run a few blocks… wait for the cars to pass. Cross the street… construction blocking the sidewalk.  Any “long” strip of running I was able to do, I would still be consumed with the smog and exhaust of cars zooming through the streets of Los Angeles.  Clearly Hollywood was not an ideal environment for training.  This is not good.  I kept my mind set and finished a few long runs per the training program, but I was not nearly close to regularly running the distance that I had wanted. 

After working in the last city on my tour de America, I returned home determined to spend my last two weeks really sticking with the training schedule.  Unfortunately, the last two weeks before a half marathon, you’re advised to slow down and rest your body to prepare.  Great. I’ve barely reached eight miles and next I’m going to run THIRTEEN.

Race day approached and I was scared out of my mind.  The night before the race, I ate a big bowl of pasta (any excuse to eat pasta!).  Morning came soon enough and I prepared a small bowl of oatmeal as one last carb-load before I set off.  As I walked through the kitchen, I dropped the bowl on the floor and it completely broke in half.  Nerves, a sign, or both?

I met Laura and Melanie at Universal Studios and could not have been happier to see their smiling faces, positive attitudes and determination to get these thirteen miles over with.  We set off on foot with thousands of others.  First mile down and we were way above pace than expected. Sweet!  About halfway through and we each began to put into perspective how much further we had to go.  “We can do this! We’re in this together.”  We came upon our last three miles when water for the race had RAN OUT.  It was now or never and we had to get to that finish line immediately.  We worked hard, kept each other motivated and never split apart.  One more mile.  HILL.  Are you kidding me?  The entire last mile was completely uphill.  Needless to say, Laura and Melanie could not have been more inspiring as we pushed each other to finish this one last mile.  We crossed the finish line together and I can’t describe how accomplished I felt.  After all I had been through and that was it, I crossed the finish line.  I know for a fact that I could not have completed it without such incredible women by my side, every step of the way,

Since then, I’ve checked three half marathons off my bucket list and plan on running another one in a few weeks.  My girlfriends and I ended up creating our own “Homemade Half Marathon” and we run up the California coastline to cross “our” finish line in Venice.  Naturally, a champagne brunch celebration follows.  Going through this experience has taught me that if you set your mind to something, you really can accomplish anything.  But, most importantly, it has shown me how fortunate I am to be encouraged by such wonderful women in my life like Laura and Melanie.  Thank you ladies.  Without the two of you, I may have never checked “half marathon” off my bucket list!  Thank you for showing me that if set your mind to something, you really can accomplish anything.

INTENTION: Surround yourself with encouraging, uplifting and inspirational women. Realize that you can conquer anything.

xo, Stacey

Starting line of our First Annual Homemade Half Marathon

Starting line of our First Annual Homemade Half Marathon

On a typical weekend, you'll find Stacey playing on the beach, laughing with friends or jogging the strand of her Southern California neighborhood.  As a co-founder of Your Beautiful story, Stacey loves to appreciate all the beautiful things in life, mimosas included.  Follow her adventures with @staceylthomas or her passion to inspire the world with @beYOUtiful_story on Instagram.