Today I ran my 2nd half marathon, the Madison Her Half Marathon.  The event that I’ve been training for since January 1st.  It’s been a long/quick six months, and not always easy nor as complete a training as I planned on, but it was rewarded.  I can say with full confidence that I will repeat this program I developed, and complete more of my scheduled workouts. (More on that later)

I participated in the Weekend Experience for the Her Madison Half, knowing a little bit about it, but really knowing nothing.  One of my friends–and former client–ran it last year and convinced me to run it with her this year.  I was super excited to see her again, and to run another half marathon.  The weekend experience was great–Friday night cocktail/dance party, Saturday morning shake out run and yoga, as well as fitness/health expo, and today’s run and after party.

Friday night was nice–but I felt a little out of place only really knowing Jennifer.  It would have been much more fun with a crew.  Yes, I could and should have used the moment to make some friends, but the introvert in me took hold, plus I was actually really tired, so I didn’t stay the entire time.

Saturday morning was amazing.  The shake out run was a nice, 1.75ish mile jog through Downtown Madison, and along Lake Mendota.  I love running around the lakes!  It’s definitely one of the coolest things about Madison.  It was so good seeing my friend Jennifer, who was an ambassador this year after running the Madison Her Half last year.  We had a great chat, continuing from Friday night, and I definitely had a moment.

I didn’t do the yoga, because training for this marathon has been a feat.  Physically, mentally for me, and really for my family too.  Doing my weekend long runs was tough, because it cut into family time on one of my only 2 days off with my family.  Though I tried to get the run done in the early morning before the kids woke up, that wasn’t always the case.  As Jennifer and I were getting caught up, talking about why we run, how our feelings of running have changed over our running careers (neither of us considered ourselves runners before).  We were in the Fellow Flowers gear part of the expo, as I was exploring t-shirts I wanted to purchase.  We also happened to be by the flowers.

I’ll pause here for a minute, and explain a bit.  The bright colored flowers you may see women running with are part of the Fellow Flowers movement.  I knew a little bit about it (really, basically nothing) until Friday night when I decided to look into it a little bit.  Basically, each of the 13 colors that FF has is a reason to run.  As I was reading over the cards that come with the flowers, explaining what they are, soooo many resonated with me.  Definitely brought some tears and a ton of feelings to the surface.

Running has become my way to get some me time.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and spending time with them.  It’s killing me, and us, when I leave for a j-o-b every evening.  I miss running with my husband, but running by myself has reminded me that I am strong, and strong enough to run on my own.  I can push myself.  I can do it on my own.

Mel and Tori–Fellow Flowers founders–were there setting up and Jenn introduced me.  I didn’t realize these wonderful ladies were local!  We talked a bit about the flowers and their meanings, and ones that were resonating with me.  Tori told me that she wanted to gift me a flower.  OMG–HOW COOL!  Definitely a huge moment.  She told me to take my time and choose the flower that fit.  I debated over my favorite color, purple, because it fit part of my story.  I debated over silver, because it fits part of my story.  I debated over dark pink, because it’s what I want to be for my daughter and instill in her (But pink is my least favorite color).  I debated black because I need to embrace that more, too.  I finally chose RED–Strength.  “A passion unrelenting. Ready for the challenge, unshakeable in my commitment. Grit; earned through effort… because I said I would. Take me to my limit and watch me work. Bringing it – every damn day.”

I found a t-shirt for my amazing daughter, too.  I am so excited to run with her more as she gets bigger, and I think this FF community is really something she and I can both get really into.  My girly girl loves flowers, and dark pink is her favorite color.  I definitely need to get it for her.

So Saturday after I grabbed our shirts and flower, I spent the rest of the day with  my family.  Friday night kickoff party, and Saturday morning run/expo (I missed the yoga as I was chatting and picking my flower, but chatting was better for my soul than the yoga) was a great way for this introvert to recharge–doing something for me.  It’s not that I don’t like other people, or being around other people, but to recharge I need some me time. Thank you to my AMAZING husband for understanding and honoring this <3 <3

Ok, this post is getting long.  I will post my Sunday experience as its own post.  Stay tuned!!

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