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AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

Training Log: My first run

January 10, 2018

Here goes nothing.

If you happened to read Jo’s end of year post a few weeks ago, you might have noticed her casual mention of an upcoming activity that could very well do me in—I’ll be running my first marathon. A full marathon—all 26.2 miles of it.

Monday was my first official day of training, and all I can really say is—that hurt. We set a modest goal of 1.7 miles for my first run. You’re probably wondering why we chose such an odd distance. Well, as I work toward this goal of 26.2 miles, the only thing I’m absolutely sure of is that I can run .2 miles. So for every run on my training schedule, I’ll be tacking on that extra .2—kind of as a catalyst to remind me that it all starts with the small stuff. I have to remember that no matter what, I can always run .2 further than I think I can. And when race day comes, all I’ll be focused on is the first .2, then the next, and so on.

I was thinking I could handle this 1.7 mile run no problem. It’s a far cry from a full marathon, but you gotta start somewhere, right? I’d been looking forward to my first run for weeks, and every time I imagined it in my mind, I looked strong, my breathing was steady, and I remained fully upright the entire time. Honestly, I thought it would be a piece of cake.

But it wasn’t. Turns out I would have been better off running to the mailbox and back because by the time I rounded the first mile mark, I was gasping for air and it took everything I had not to keel over right there.

I started to wonder if this was a bad idea after all.

Some of you might be feeling a little blindsided, because you (wrongly) assumed that behind the Chip Gaines you know, there’s this super-fit guy who goes on long-distance runs in his spare time. But don’t be fooled—I haven’t “gone on a run” since college. In fact, I’ve always thought that folks who ran marathons were a little crazy. Certainly talented, but also batty. I mean, who runs that kind of distance at one time, willingly? But there was a part of me that always thought: Bet I could do that.

Then, a few months ago I was in New York City with Jo, and I happened to meet Gabriele Grunewald (Gabe) as she was running through Central Park. She clearly knew what she was doing, so I got to talking with her and it turns out, she is actually a professional runner. I asked her how long it would take for an average guy like me to train for a marathon, and she convinced me that with some old-fashioned hard work I could be ready by the beginning of summer.

Come to find out, back in 2009 Gabe was diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC), a rare form of cancer—so rare that it only occurs in 3.5 out of every one million cancer patients. But from what I can tell, this young lady hasn’t let her diagnosis or treatment slow her down for a minute.

After hearing Gabe’s story, I realized two things: I didn’t want to spend another second standing on the sidelines, and secondly, given what she’s gone through, I didn’t have any excuse not to give this a shot. So I committed. Good news for me is that Gabe has agreed to train me all the way from her home state of Minnesota. (Check her out on Twitter: @gg_runs. She is absolutely amazing, and her story might just change your life as it has mine).

I guess after all the big talking I did in my book last year, it’s about time I take my own advice:

“Getting started is equally as triumphant as crossing the finish line. Your goal is too far off to have a straight line of sight to it, but I’m going to need you to keep it firmly fixed in your mind’s eye. The only way this is going to work, the only way that you’re gonna get there, is one foot in front of the other. You have to keep moving forward. And when you think you are about to die — trust me, it’s just a tiny bit further.”

Unfortunately in this particular scenario, it’s a whole lot further. But even so, this couldn’t ring truer for me after Monday’s run. There’s no doubt that I’m looking forward to crossing that finish line, but every day of training up until then is something to be proud of—because I’m making it happen! And 26.2 doesn’t sound so long when you think of it like 2.62 x 10. That somehow sounds doable.

If you’re reading this, I want you to know that as I’m chasing after this goal of mine, I’m also cheering you on toward whatever dream you’ve been secretly scheming. For those of you who, like me, have always dreamed of running a race, but have never taken that first step or even said it out loud—let’s tackle this thing together! Listen to me—you can’t lose unless you don’t try. We’ll be hosting a marathon right here in Waco, Texas on May 6th of this year. We’ll also have a 5K and a half marathon, so there will be something for everyone. Choose a race that challenges you.

So start training. Why not start tomorrow?

Registration for the Silos District Marathon is now open, so sign up for a race here.

Join me on this crazy journey by following me on Twitter. I’ll be chronicling my training there regularly. (@chipgaines). And Magnolia will be releasing more info about the marathon really soon. See you down the road!


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  • Mark W.
    1:40 pm, April 11, 2018
    Chip, great message here! I found a couple of similarities between your story and mine...
    - I told myself I wanted to run a marathon by the age of 30. My birthday is on May 29th and I’ll be turning 31, so this May 6th event lined up perfectly for me to achieve my goal.
    - I got blessed with a training schedule from a professional that has my runs mapped out for me every week but I ALWAYS push .25 miles MORE then what it says I should run since I know that .25 miles more I go will get me THAT much closer to the finish line faster and with more confidence!

    Looking forward to seeing you on race day! Let’s kick some marathon butt :)
  • Jon Dickman
    6:30 pm, April 9, 2018
    Chip, welcome to the running community. There are a lot of great people you will meet on your journey to the finish line. I have ran a couple half’s and meet some of the nicest most encourging people out running. I will be in Michigan cheering for you. Good luck and have fun.
  • richard caspers
    8:41 am, April 8, 2018
    Chip, dig we m and run your marathon. Your fans and other runners will show you the way. When my wife and I moved from Mn to Texas we joined a running club. I mostly ran 1/2 marathons long story short.... I was training for a half marathon when I just decicded to run a full marathon 2 weeks later I ran the marathon and placed 3 in my age group. You will have fun run, oh ya do a lot of chatting to others :)
  • Stephanie
    11:09 am, April 7, 2018
    Chip, you got this!!!! Can not wait to see how well you do!!!
  • Jan
    11:52 am, April 6, 2018
    I am so excited for you, Chip! The marathon does change your life, doesn't it....the things you learn during training and then the event itself...priceless!
    You can do this, Chip! I am 72 years old and I just ran my *first* marathon on March 3rd....if this great-grama can do it, there is no doubt you will as well! Just keep taking that next step...
    May 6 is too soon for me to run another marathon, or even a 1/2, but I will be doing the 5k!!!
    Advice? Run your own race....smile....and have fun!!!! The event is a celebration of all your hard work and dedication.....! Savor it!!!
    See you out there!!!!!
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