Cardiff Half Marathon Banner

Before Taylor and I left the States we signed up to run a half marathon in Cardiff, Wales. As a couple we thought it would be something fun to do together while we were abroad, and a good excuse to focus on staying healthy and in shape. Before signing up the most I ever ran was three or four miles at a time, so I was a little apprehensive about not just the race itself, but the training that lie ahead.

Taylor on the other hand, already had some good training under his belt after running the Twin Cities Marathon last fall, and the Superior Trail Race this past spring. I must admit though, before these races Taylor, like me, only ran an occasional couple of miles. After supporting our friend, Ash, in the TC Marathon the year before, Taylor was inspired to sign up for one himself after witnessing firsthand the encouraging atmosphere it provides its’ participants along the way.

While working at Apple a few months later, Taylor was helping a man with his computer during one of their regular training sessions when their conversation lead Taylor to share his recent inspiration to run a marathon. Before he even had time to explain his fears and doubts the man spit out, “Oh, well I ran one of those a couple of years ago, you should just do it.”

The man was seventy-six years old. “If he can do it, I can do it,” Taylor thought. Immediately following their training session Taylor paid the $100 online and signed up for the marathon that coming fall.

When you push your limits you create space and inspiration for others to do the same.

After following not just Taylor, but my brother, Matt, and one of our closest friends, Ash, through the process and journey of training your body to run 26.2 miles, the prospect of running half that became that much more feasible. Thus training began!

Traveling abroad with the need to run regularly has forced us into opportunities and experiences we would not have otherwise had. It’s helped us explore towns and cities in a unique, fun way together, seeing things in a different light than if we were in a car or bus. The need to run became the perfect problem for two 26-year-old’s with able bodies and no financial income. It was something fun to do that didn’t cost any money!

The first month of our trip flew by and before we knew it we were on our way to Wales to visit our brother-in-law’s family, the Johnstons, and to run our race. We had a lovely weekend with the family, eating home-cooked meals, exploring small towns, and sharing in each other’s company. On Sunday morning we made our way to Cardiff and ran the race alongside Sam’s father (John), brother (Joe), and 22,000 other runners. My toes were frozen and numb for the first mile, but the energy and excitement of the event succeeded in distracting me from most of the pain and discomfort on the run. Taylor and I finished under our goal times and were happy with how we did!

As with many things in life, the gems of an experience are sprinkled along the journey, not solely at the final destination. The greatest learning and growth from running this half marathon came through the entire experience; from the moment I signed up to the moment I crossed the finish line.

What I’ve learned and come to love so much about the seemingly simple act of signing up for a race, is that you are instantly committed to take action and move forward towards your goal. Of course you could still back out, but thanks to this small act you are that much more likely to follow through since you have invested both mentally and financially.

I’ve found it helpful and exciting to tell people your plans once you’ve made them. In doing so you create social accountability and support for yourself as an added force to push you further than you would have gone on your own drive and desire. Another example: before leaving Minnesota I told everyone that I would keep a blog while we were away. It wasn’t long before friends and family began asking me where it was. Making a commitment to others, as well as myself, is ultimately what pushed me to start this blog and follow through.

What could I do to ensure that I follow through?

How could I make it impossible for myself to fail?

How could I make this easy and fun?

Your dream may not be pushing your limits by running a race or starting, but consider it for a moment as a metaphor. If there’s something you’ve wanted to do, or know you should do, but have not done yet ask yourself, “What could I do to ensure that I follow through?” or “How could I make it impossible for myself to fail?” or better yet, “How could I make this easy and fun?” Whether it’s setting up an appointment, signing up for a program, or putting a down payment on a house, just do it! Then tell people about it and get excited. After doing so, if you feel a bit uncomfortable and unequipped, you’re probably headed in the right direction! It means you’re about to leave your comfort zone, push your limits, and grow. Life’s too short to only dream and hope something happens. We need to make it happen!

The primary reason I signed up for the Cardiff Half Marathon was to build my endurance. Physically, of course, but more importantly, mentally and spiritually. I have learned through experience and come to believe that humans are extremely holistic beings. What we do and how we live within any realm of ourselves affects the others. The most difficult season of my life was also a time I fell out of shape and failed to move my body on a consistent basis. The health, movement, and endurance of your body is directly correlated with that of your mind. Take a moment to consider this fact and observe how it has most likely taken place in your life as well. What truly carried me through my training each day and the race itself was remembering the purpose of what I was doing. On days I didn’t want to run because I was tired, lazy, or would rather do something else I told myself that by training my body for endurance, I would simultaneously train my mind and spirit as well. To be successful in life is to be successful in mind, body, and soul.

  • While reading this what stood out to you and how can you apply it to your life?

  • Is there something you have wanted to do and haven’t? How could you commit before you’re ready and let the momentum carry you forward?

Thank you for reading! Have a great week!

Sarah + Taylor