Written by : Deborah K. Heisz 

Half-Marathon a Milestone for Lasting Change

Welcome to 2016! I’m going to Disney World!

Over the holidays I, like many of you, spent some time examining what I would like to accomplish in the coming year. I set personal, business and family goals. Some will require stopping bad habits (procrastination!) and others will require building new habits (regular sleep). In other words, I will need to change. And change is hard because, as Tal Ben-Shahar shares on the Live Happy Now podcast and in this month’s issue of the magazine, we don’t have much willpower. If you find yourself abandoning your resolutions after a couple of weeks or simply needing some strategies to accomplish change, Live Happy has a ton of information available this month to help you. Five of our staff members are undergoing their own transformations in our 90 Days to a Happier You! challenge.

Time for change

The great news is that we are all capable of change, and even small changes bring us closer to living the life that we want. I am feeling a sense of accomplishment because of a change I made last year. In late 2014, I took a hard look at my health. With three children and a job that requires travel, I was simply no longer making it to the gym. I was putting on weight and not feeling very energetic. I knew I needed a change. I wanted to add exercise into my life in a way that it became easy. I didn’t want complicated plans; I didn’t want to hire a trainer; and I needed to be able to exercise anywhere in almost every kind of weather with limited to no equipment. So, I took up running.

Not born to run, but willing to try

I know from reading Live Happy that running has tremendous benefits beyond physical health. Although I have played various sports, I have never enjoyed running. The runner’s high is something I have never experienced, and I am not sure I believe it exists. My spouse, on the other hand, has run four marathons, a half Ironman and too many half marathons for me to remember. She was quietly thrilled that I had decided to run, but aside from making some shoe and apparel suggestions, largely left me alone to do it my way (which is really the only way I ever do anything). 

Into the groove

I set a goal of being able to run a 5K by Memorial Day and even took the initiative to register for a local race. Then I downloaded a Couch to 5K program and started to run. The idea was to run three times a week. Sometimes I did. Sometimes I didn’t. But, by Memorial Day I had stuck with it enough to lose a few pounds and be ready for the 5K. However, I was sick and couldn’t run. I surprised myself by being disappointed.  

Then one conversation jump-started my momentum. My run-crazy spouse said she has always wanted to run the Disney marathon. I said I wasn’t going to go to Disney to watch her run and be too weary to move for the rest of the weekend. She said, “If you run the half marathon, we can do it together.” I said OK.

The goal

Over the next week we researched, spent the money for plane tickets, arranged for her parents to watch the kids, and suddenly I was signed up for a half marathon—13.1 miles—when I hadn’t run more than 3.1 miles in 10 years or more than 10 miles at once since I was 18. 

Commitment—around the world, and back home

So to start off this year, I am going to Disney World! I have prepared. Running has become a regular part of my life. I have run in Central Park and along the streets of NYC; in Cincinnati; Long Beach, California; on a cruise ship treadmill in San Jose; on a treadmill in Mexico City; on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama; and all over my neighborhood at home in Texas where my neighbors honk and wave. I am ready and excited! I have made real change, and this run will be a celebration of that accomplishment for me. I am not sure how I will do in the race. I still don’t love to run. And I am very slow. But it doesn’t matter. I achieved the goal of having a workout plan to fit my lifestyle. 

See how it goes!

If you’d like to follow along and cheer or jeer me on the morning of the January 9 run, I will be on social media live from the event. You can follow on Twitter @dheisz on Instagram @debheisz or on Facebook/livehappy.

Please share your goals and successes with our team in the Comments below or @livehappy on Twitter or on our Facebook page. Here’s to lasting change for us all in 2016!   

Deborah K. Heisz is the co-founder and editorial director of Live Happy.


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