Living My Life as an Adventure

By , SparkPeople Blogger
On March 18th I had the honor and privilege to run the New York Road Runners New York City Half-Marathon along with 15,000 other runners from across the globe.  The elite field consisted of United States Olympic hopefuls, Meb Keflezighi, Desiree Davila, Kara Goucher and Dathan Ritzenhein, in addition to some of the world's best runners including New Zealand's Kim Smith, Kenya's Caroline Rotich winner of last year's NYRR NYC Half, as well as Kenya’s Peter Kirui and 2011 ING NYC Marathon winner Ethiopia’s Firehiwot Dado.

It was truly one of those life defining moments to run through Central Park, down 7th Avenue, to 42nd Street and down the West Side Highway, along the Hudson River before crossing the finish line at the South Street Seaport with thousands of spectators lining the course and cheering the runners on stride for stride.  

The whole New York experience was a dream fulfilled which started on Thursday afternoon at the Metropolitan Pavilion, the site for the expo. It was there that I finally connected with my virtual running coach, John Honerkamp of the New York Road Runners. When I was accepted into the race on New Year's Eve, I decided this was the event  I was going to attempt to break my personal record for the Half-Marathon. In doing so, I wanted to get another coach's perspective on my training. He was such a huge inspiration to me, helping through some of the most grueling training sessions I have ever done. I must confess going from a 3-4 day week runner to a five day a week runner was one of the biggest hurdles for me to overcome.

Me with Desiree Davila 

The first six weeks I felt like I did when I first started running. I was tired and a tad sore, but as with any other exercise, the more consistent you are with your workouts, the better adapted your body becomes to the activity. I just had to remind myself that this was all part of the process to becoming a better runner.

Ten weeks and well over 300 miles run in course of training later, I arrived in New York City ready to tackle my next accomplishment. Having the opportunity to meet Meb, Desi, Kim, Dathan and Kara at The Night of Champions party was a dream come true. There is such a sense of humility for runners. For those of us who have the opportunity to spend time with these great athletes, it was truly a night to remember.

Me with Meb Keflezighi 

Each athlete took some time to tell those of us gathered for the evening a bit of how they got into running. I was so touched to hear Kara Goucher tell her story that running was something she could do. She tried swimming and playing team sports, such as softball, but she lacked the skills to play those sports, however, the one activity she could do was run. She started running at the age of 12 and as they say, the rest is history.

Kara's story struck such a chord with me as I, too, lacked the skills to participate in organized sports when I was younger. It just took me 30 plus years to discover the joy of running.  Just a few short days ago I celebrated my sixth anniversary in running--a sport that has truly taken me to some amazing places and has allowed me to meet some of the most amazing people in the world. You don't have to be a runner to live your and fulfill your dreams. This journey is about going out there and as Chris 'SparkGuy' Downie has preached to us all, 'To live your life as an adventure!'

What do you do to live your life as an adventure? 

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


Great story Nancy! You just gave me the nudge I needed to get back on the racing track. Report
Congrats and keep going! Report
Congrats nancy! Report
Hey Nancy!
Going ziplining for my (ahem) decade celebration B'Day next month! Does that count? Running the Mt Washington in June - again! Just want to do a bit better than last time 2 years ago. Will be in Washington DC running the Cherryblossom 10 miler on Sunday - life an adventure - you bet - The captain has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign! Report
Awesome, congratulates! What an experience! Report
Congratulations on your adventure and you look so happy. I agree with Jibbie49 that we only have one life to live and we had better make the best of it. I did my first mountain hike last week and it was fantastic! I am going again on Friday and can't wait. I don't know how long I can do this as I have had knee surgery on one knee and the other is I am going to enjoy the experience as long as I can. It is so wonderful to be up top and breathing hard and knowing you can do it!

Nancy, I LOVE your smile in the pictures with Meb and Desi; I can actually feel your excitement in meeting them! This year is a year of small adventures for me, nothing great like what you're doing but focusing on finding the adventure in every day. Report
So inspirational. I love where this sport has taken you, and what it holds in store for you in the future. Report
Great adventure. I have only recently begun to love running. I am training for my 1st marathon in May. I am so excited and nervous at the same time. I can't wait!

I feel that everyone should make adventure a apart of their lives. Do something that they normally wouldn't do, even if it is something small. Every day is a new day, you cant get back the one that passes by so why not make it memorable.

Good for you! Report
I went to West Africa for two years in the Peace Corps? I picked up and moved from north of Seattle to St. Thomas, USVI, sight unseen? (I did have a job lined up. And I've been here 25 years now.) Or the fact that my husband and I are selling everything and going off travelling around the world until we're sick of it? Report
I realize that life is what I make it and everyday that God gives me to be on this Earth, means there is something I need to do for Him and His people. I live every day as if it was my last and create challenges for myself as we do not know the day, nor the hour. If we keep in doing what we've always done, we will always get the same results. Report
Nice story! Congratulations! It is great to see people working hard towards and achieving goals and dreams. Report
nice article. I do believe that life is an adventure. I too am a runner. But to be honest I love hiking. love going on those nice long long walks. filling my backpack with clean foods something to drink and my bible of course. I also love the adventure of riding the motorcycle with Dennis. Report
We like to go hiking & biking & camping & combine the above. We like to get away from the phone & noise & get into the wilderness. Report
Coach, I love your blog and how deserving you got to be part of this.

Apart from scuba diving when I lived in he middle east I had never been the athletic type. My DW and I decided around 2000 that we want to start riding our bicycles on the weekends, and did so - we then did a 100k (62 miles), and failed miserably. We were then invited skiing in Whistler BC (had never been skiing before - and at age 49). Then the athletics started ... first 100 mile bike ride in 2003, first half marathon 2005, first full marathon in 2007, full triathlon in 2007 ... and it seems I am getting fitter and fitter ... having celebrated another year.

@CSKIMM - I think Coach Nancy's advise using the elliptical is great - you may also start strengthen your ankles by standing on one leg for a few seconds (hold on to something if you need) and then gradually improve your ankle strength by adding a couple of seconds at the time, but go slowly. Report
I SCUBA dive...that's my adventure...and I try to make one really big trip a year to some exotic locale...last year was the Philippines...this year, Fiji and Indonesia (two trips because next year I'm staying home :-()! I don't run (unless being chased, and then it depends on who's chasing!), and walking in Texas is too I go for the water! Report
CSKIMM, I'm not sure of your fitness level so I'll just let you know what I did. I started walking (which made the dog super happy). Once I was comfortable walking for a specified period of time for several days a week, I added in running. You don't have to run for 30 minutes at a time. Start small. During a 30 minute walk I would start to add some running in the middle. I would walk for 15 minutes, run for 3 minutes, then walk the rest of the time. Slowly increase your run times.
I'm not doctor or a trainer but I recommend small steps. This will give you time to increase your cardiovascular strength and test your ankles and hopefully strengthen them. It is easy to get discouraged but take small steps. Remember running can be hard on the joints, so when you do start to run, take it slow. A few years ago, I made the mistake of increasing my mileage too quickly and ended up hurting my knee bad enough that I quit running. I just started again about mid January and I am up to 7 miles a week. I plan to run a half marathon in September. I know I can do it as long as I increase my mileage slowly and don't hurt my knee again. You can do whatever you set your mind to. Good luck on your adventure. I wish you all the best. Report

Are you able to walk without any issues? If so, start walking. This is a GREAT stepping stone to becoming a runner. Many people think I started running when I started my weight loss journey but that was not the case.

I actually did the elliptical and started with Leslie Sansone's Walk Away the Pounds...I did them 5 days a week for almost a year before I had the courage to join a gym, get on the treadmill and then try running.

Coach Nancy Report
I wish I could run like that. Has anyone got ideas to get started with 2 weak ankles and not very fit?? Report
What a wonderful story! I can totally relate! I was always a flop at organized sports, and didn't discover running until the age of 42. It didn't come easily, and I still have a long way to go, but I'm doing it! I ran a half marathon in Virginia Beach on March 18, and I was also aiming for a PR, which I did manage to get! Now I'm trying to increase my weekly milage and I loved your comment about how the first 6 weeks felt like it did when you first started. I'm there! Thank you for the inspiration to plow through and stick with it! Report
Congratulations! Report
I, too, was one of those "non-athletic" kids in school. That's probably an understatement: I was picked last for teams and I was terrible at everything! Two years ago, at the age of 38, I started running. I could only complete about a quarter of a mile before I had to walk, but I kept working at it. A year later I began to run in races, from 5Ks to half marathons, on road and off. I am now training to run my first marathon, in May. I love running! Me, the kid who nearly flunked out of gym class!

I've found a lot of adventure in running races as well. I find myself planning running vacations, so that I can travel to a new and exciting place to compete in a race, and then enjoy a little R&R time afterwards.

Thanks for sharing your story. It made me smile. My running idol is ultramarathoner Scott Jurek. I'd love to meet him some day! Report
This sounds so great! I am inspired, and encouraged, and even a little empowered to look for an opportunity to participate in an outstanding adventure of my own! Report
Oh! This was wonderful to read. It made me smile and want to jump up and cheer! Hooray for your adventure! Hooray for all of us as we run, walk, cycle on! Report
Thanks for sharing and may there be many more amazing adventures in store for you! Report
I enjoy my races & getting to meet people from all over. At my gym I enjoy working out with my friends they keep me motivated. Thank you for sharing your life with us Nancy your the best. We got one life & we need to live it to the fullest. Report
This is the only life we ever get, so we need to make the most of it because it goes by much to fast. Report