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     I hate cardio.  Treadmills, EFX machines, and Steppers are torture machines to me.  Give me a dumbbell and let me lift it up and put it down.  But, a well rounded, fit individual must incorporate cardio, resistance training, flexibility and balance into their workout.  So how did I, a cardiovascular exercise hater, find a way to actually like running?  It didn’t happen overnight.  And it certainly isn’t the case every time I run.  But I did find a way that I could run and enjoy it.
     It all began with a group of women I spent a fun weekend with at Disney.  We participated in the Everest Challenge.  Now that was a fun race!  You run a 5k (3.12 miles), meet up with your race partner and run through an obstacle course.  After that, you and your race partner take a booklet full of clues into Animal Kingdom and try to solve the riddles.  After the race, in the car, this girl (who was on a post race high, completely excited and pumped and forgetting about how much she hates running) says, “Let’s do the Princess Half Marathon!  It’ll be fun!  We can train together and spend the weekend together again!  Yes!  It’ll be GREAT!!!”  You should have seen their faces.  Maybe I should have paid better attention to them.  Alas, we decided to do it.
     And so began six months of training.  How do you train for a half marathon?  You run.  First, I made a goal.  My goal was to complete the Half Marathon and to run the entire course.  Next, I researched some training methods and designed my schedule.  I choose to use my two Spin classes during the week and one long run on the weekends as my training.  I started out running three miles.  From there, I added 10% of distance once I was able completely run a distance.
     Since running was not my first choice for working out, I had to find things to make running bearable.  I ran with my friends who had committed to doing the race and I found that I did better when I ran with someone.  They gave me the motivation to keep pushing when I wanted to stop.  I also quickly figured out why iPods were so popular.  I need music.  Motivating music that gives me something to focus on besides the pounding of my feet and my heavy breathing.
     Every weekend I ran.  Most weekends I ran farther than the time before.  And every time I increased that 10%, I felt successful.  Then, one day, I reached 8 miles.  I thought I would never be able to run that far.  It was a turning point.  I suddenly looked forward to running and getting better.  By being disciplined and committed to my goal, I had created a positive for myself….pride.  I was proud that I was able to accomplish something that I had always thought was impossible.  I was able to do something that I once hated, and I got better at it!
     I trained well for the 2010 Princess Half Marathon.  I ran the entire race and I finished with a time of 2 hours and 15 minutes.  I learned that through realistic goal setting, a solid training program, and the motivation of competition, I could do anything….even if it was something I once hated.      

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