When I was a kid, I always thought we were either capable to play a sport, or not. If you weren't very good at the sport, felt uncomfortable, chaffed, got a stomach ache, experienced soreness, anything that was feeling great, it meant you shouldn't be doing that activity. Even if I really enjoyed it, if it didn't feel euphoric in every moment, then it wasn't for me. So I started, and quit, a lot of sports. Tennis, volleyball, track, basketball. I loved playing those so much, but I wasn't good at any of them, I experienced side cramps quickly, dealt with chaffing and soreness, and I didn't see anyone else experience the same. In my eyes, everyone else playing could wear, eat, do anything and still feel 100%. I just wasn't meant to do those things. So I became a very experienced quitter.
I wish I could go back and shake young Jessica. Let her know that everyone feels those things at some point, and almost every one of those things can be helped. With the right tools, supplements and recovery methods, you can feel great and have fun. And if your legs are sore after a long run? They're supposed to be! You're doing something new!
I can't go back in time and help my younger self, but I work hard to teach my kids these lessons. And now, after completing my first marathon, which I always was certain to be impossible, I can move forward with a different outlook. So here are all the things I found to be most helpful for my marathon, as well as some things that went awry. I've also found new items in my current training that I'll share. I hope this helps any of you who are starting your journey. Or, if you're feeling defeated in any way, maybe try some of these things to get you feeling like your happy, running (or walking) self again.