Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Guest Post: My Experience Running the World

My Experience Running the World By Jodi Schwarzer
Chug, chug, chug. Puff, puff, puff, Ding-dong. Ding-dong.

When I set my mind to something, I do it. And I wasn’t about to let myself down on this one.  This past Sunday, I came through for myself.

It was a little over a month ago that I learned I was selected to run on the Girl Scouts team for the More Magazine/Fitness Magazine Women’s Half Marathon, called “Women Run the World!”  This would be 13.1 miles, two loops and a bit more, around Central Park in Manhattan. When I heard the news, my heart raced. I thought…”Oh no! I’m not ready yet. I can’t believe I’m actually going to run this race in a little over a month!” It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t run, but I had to take into consideration the fact that I had never run more than one lap around Central Park - and that was the most I had ever run in my life.  How would I ever run 13.1 miles? Somehow…
True, running marathons had never been my “thing.” But I’ve always been into trying to keep fit and healthy—playing volleyball, snowboarding, hiking.  It has been rough living up to my goals over the past few years - after my two little girls came along, (Vivien 4 ½ and Madeleine 2) my time always seems to be sucked dry. Caring for my family and managing the work/life balance has been such a challenge. There just never seems to be enough “me time” in the weeks. But this past month, I did discover that I had it in me to train for something that could make me proud.
My training had to happen mainly on the weekends, with short runs during the evenings. It just so happened that Vivien had her spring break in the weeks leading up to race day, so I took a couple days off work to get in some longer runs. Last week I explored the waterfront trail that runs from Jersey City, NJ (where I live) to Weehawken, NJ and couldn’t believe I went a total of 10 miles.  After that, I knew I could run this race.
 I had mixed emotions the day of the marathon…up at 5 am to get to Tavern on the Green by 6:15 to meet our CEO, Anna Maria Chavez and the rest of our teammates. It was an honor to represent Girl Scouts in this all-women race. I immediately connected with one of our Girl Scout volunteers, Jessica Velez from Girl Scouts, Heart of the Hudson. She had run marathons before and instilled such confidence in me just an hour before we hit the pavement. Friends also supported me via Facebook, and the tons of online chatter that made me feel like they were right there with me. And I must acknowledge my most significant cheerleader, my Mom. She called me halfway into the race and I got to talk with her with my headphones plugged into my iPhone, just like she was running beside me. 
The tough hills on the upper west side of Central Park are killer, but I somehow managed to cross the finish in 2:09 averaging 9:52 minutes per mile.  I set my goal for under 10 minutes a mile and I DID IT!! I felt like “The Little Engine that Could” living by the “I think I can…I think I can” mantra.  Were it not for this wonderful opportunity, presented by our national CEO, Anna Maria Chavez, I never would have pushed myself to run this race. Having this race tied with my office also gave me an excuse to run and commit to it as well.  It was like that extra accountability that I needed.

Check. Another life accomplishment on the books, one  that I’ll never forget.  I am reminded again…when I set my mind to something, I CAN really do it!