I started out on a marathon training run a year ago listening to an audiobook I’d checked out from the library and downloaded on my iPod about Augusten Burroughs’ struggle with sobriety, and here I am a year later and more than 365 workouts later. Is it OK to workout everyday? Yes, it is. And you should! If I can do it, you can do it. This blog is proof of that.

Today’s workout of running was actually a little anti-climactic, I have to confess. It’s not that this wasn’t a great workout or a great goal to have achieved, but it’s again another day and another workout, and I really pushed it at the end. My boyfriend and I ran three miles around Town Lake, and it wasn’t until we got back to the car that what I’d just completed sank in.

Yet, while running, I was aware of what I was doing. And every once in a while during the run, I could feel my cheeks tighten with a grin. The first song on my iPod was Bush’s “Comedown” (aka “This Cloud”) and while it’s a song about the ups and downs of a relationship, it’s hard to understand Gavin Rossdale’s British accent sometimes. However, at the beginning of the run, I really did feel like his understandable chorus of “I don’t want to come back down from this cloud/It’s taken me all this time to find out what I need, yeah.” And that’s true. It’s taken me a year to get to this point, and I don’t want to look back.

After our run, I enjoyed a beer and a steak and spinach salad then rewarded myself with a pedicure. My nail girl, Helen, asked me if I workout everyday. It was then that realized that I must come in to get my nails done wearing workout clothes all the time. I answered her question with yes and told her what today was, but it was lost on her and the translation. She told me that she wished she could work out more but when she gets home she’s so tired. I said I’ve had days like that, but I work out anyway.

Tonight, I opened a bottle of Spanish wine that my personal trainer gave me for Christmas. I felt it was the right time to open that bottle given the fact that she can definitely share in this goal (albeit, through the gift of wine), and low and behold, I found a block of untouched Spanish Manchego cheese in my fridge. That paired perfectly with my wine. This is a good victory dinner, I decided. And I’m a grown-up so I can have wine and cheese for dinner if I wanna. I enjoyed this “me” time with my wine and cheese, followed by a long hot Aveeno bath and a documentary.

After sharing my accomplishment on Facebook and Twitter, my friends were like, “What are you going to do now?” Keep going, that’s what. I don’t want to come off this cloud. It’s taken me a year — no, all my life — to get to this point and to find out what I need, and I don’t want to look back. I do feel like this is something I need every day. Just get up and move your ass each day. One day at a time.

(NOTE: This blog post originally appeared on www.aworkoutaday.com, an archived blog I maintained for more than two years to chronicle consecutive daily workouts during that time.)

Today was the day I’ve spent six months training for. Despite vacations, traveling, the holidays, two bouts of strep throat and fever (missed two of my longest training runs because of this), plus a sinus infection and bronchitis the week before the race, I ran and finished my second marathon. All 26.2 miles of it. I now have a very beautiful medal covered with red hearts from the 19th Annual Austin Marathon on Valentine’s Day.

As I started out heading down South Congress wearing the cobalt blue running pants I bought for today’s race, I put on “Badd” by Ying Yang Twins to get me through the first few minutes. This song has pumped me up for some unknown reason on my early morning drives to my running group for the last umpteen Saturdays. It’s a song about strippers, but it’s catchy and I like it. The next song was the live steel drums version of “Jane Says” by Jane’s Addiction, so hopefully that will redeem my musical tastes, like I need your redeeming.

I felt good going out at a 10:25 pace up hill for the first three miles. Miles 4-6 were down hill on South First Street, where I threw off my gloves and took my first of five gels. As I ran west along Cesar Chavez and Town Lake, the route felt unfamiliar and I saw a stray hair weave on the ground. Who lost their weave, I wondered. What was their night like?

I pushed it a little too hard running up Veterans Drive, and running down Lake Austin, which I’ve done countless times, felt longer. When I got to my boyfriend’s house on Exposition, I rushed inside to use the bathroom and almost cried. He stood outside the door, attempting to console me. “I just saw you run 22 miles 3 weeks ago. You can do this!”

I carried on up the hill on Exposition, then bended east along 35th Street and up Bull Creek, where I high-fived someone in a gorilla costume. On Hancock, I was thrilled to see my friends and their newborn daughter cheering me on in their robes. I tried to call out to them, but my voice was hoarse. (Thank you and love you!)

On Shoal Creek, I stopped around the corner and stretched my feet and calves. I took my first two Tylenol Extra Strength and another gel. All the way down Great Northern along Mopac, the crowd behind me kept thinning out. This was harder than I remembered. I was already thinking of how this was my last marathon. Two may be all I have in me.

I spotted my boyfriend in the distance laying back on some grass around Mile 22, chillin’ out in the sunshine. He met up with me to run me in, but just like it was during my first marathon, I didn’t feel like talking. By this point, it was more of a walk/run or a fast walk. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see him simply walking a fast walk to match my slow pace. But he kept patting me on the back and winking.

“OK, we’ll walk until Red River then punch it,” he said. But Red River seemed so far away, and even then I was still at least three miles away.

At Mile 25, I saw our friend Kevin Smith playing guitar in front of DKR Memorial Stadium. I heard his familiar deep voice coming out of a portable PA system, and I yelled and waved at him.

“There goes my girl Heather!” he announced. My boyfriend snapped a photo of me running by. I was getting excited about the finish line.

When I got to the capitol building, “Party in the USA” came on and it reminded me of a time I watched a redhead dancing to it on stage at a strip club. I switched songs on my iPod just before nearing the chute and KT Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See” came on. I was listening to that song about two and a half years ago when I ran my first 15 miles, and I cried then because it was the longest I’d ever run and I couldn’t believe I was actually DOING THIS…AGAIN. I crossed the finish line two minutes and 10 seconds longer than I finished in Dallas. But I was all smiles just to be finished, and I wasn’t last. It was a sunny day when I was handed my pretty medal.

I didn’t cry as much as I did after Dallas. I was less mentally exhausted after the Austin race but more disappointed in my time. My boyfriend met me at the massage tent, and while I had a massage, he went to retrieve my 4Runner that was parked blocks away. When I got in the car, there was a bouquet of tulips. I thought that was so incredibly sweet and thoughtful. Neither of us really care about Valentine’s Day, but I think the tulips were for the marathon, too. We began part one of my marathon celebration at Casino el Camino with a fat-ass cheeseburger and Stella Artois and a screening of Wild in the Streets from 1968. At home, I took a shower and put on my fleece pajamas and got in bed. I told him I was not even about to attempt walking up and down stairs so if he wanted to see me, he knew where to find me. So we ordered a pizza and watched “Mad Men” in my bedroom before I fell asleep.

Best Valentine’s Day in a long time. And I’d do it again. I think I have a third marathon in me. But not for a while and only on a downhill course.

(NOTE: This blog post originally appeared on www.aworkoutaday.com, an archived blog I maintained for more than two years to chronicle consecutive daily workouts during that time.)

Did. Done. Complete. Today was the 90th day of my 90 consecutive days of workouts. I left the house on my run tonight listening to “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey (only the most unifying bar song ever) and walked up to my porch with so much pride after a 45-minute run and “Lebanese Blonde” by Thievery Corporation was on my iPod. I gave the gold frog on my porch the thumbs up.

So now what?

Well, I plan to keep on going as long as I can. See how long I can take this. Ninety days is just the beginning. But first thing’s first: pop the champagne. I wish someone could have filmed me opening this bottle because you’d think I was playing Russian Roulette. With every twist of the cork, my anxiety grew as I wondered if that the twist that would lead to the cork popping off into the up and beyond? Popping bottles and cans of refrigerated biscuits are two skills I’ve never mastered with confidence. I swear it took me five minutes. I finally opened it and turned around and saw my neighbors across the street watching me. Who knows what it looked like from behind. I waved and poured a glass and went inside to drink in a judgment-free zone.

I actually wondered if I’d make it to Day 90. Not that I thought I’d give up, but God forbid, what if I’d fallen down my stairs this morning or twisted my ankle or had a car wreck or passed out or was kidnapped. I found it interesting that for the last 89 days, it has been nothing to rally my motivation to work out, but on the 90th day, I felt so much pressure to perform. I even procrastinated! It is evidence that if I want to do something, I’ll make it happen. Otherwise, you need to dangle money in my face.

A couple of days ago, I began to think of how I would commemorate this achievement. Should I ask someone to join me on my run? Should I plan a dinner after my run with friends? Then I thought, why should I? I did this on my own. I found my own motivation. It was my idea, and it’s a personal accomplishment that only I can really truly appreciate. My friends and family have been uber supportive, especially when they realized how far along I was getting. I thank you all for that. Thank you for your well wishes, Twitter and Facebook comments and emails. I thank you all for understanding when I couldn’t come out for a happy hour or when I had to get in my workout before meeting up for dinner or a movie. And I thank all who worked out with me! I’m so glad I didn’t give up.

In the past, there have been a lot of times when I’ve wanted to give up on something, and I have. This time, it was different because I wanted this, and I grew to need it. As I was running tonight, I returned to a memory that often reminds me of what it means to keep trying. In 2005, I was volunteering for the ice skating competition for the Special Olympics in Houston. During the technical program, one 40-something woman was working diligently on her figure 8s. The point is to complete a figure 8 without getting out of the lines carved into the ice. I stood at the wall watching her skate a little along the line, stop, rest, then start again to complete another small section of the figure 8. It took her probably 20 minutes, and this is something that takes an 8-year old novice skater less than a minute to achieve.

After the competition, she came to the lunch room where my job was to pass out hamburgers and fries to the athletes. She saw me and said excitedly, “Did you see me? Did you see me? I didn’t give up!” I said through the tears forming in my eyes, “You didn’t. You looked great!” She was so happy. Nothing could have brought her down. That 20-minute long figure 8 was probably one of the highlights in her life. And here I am 35 years old and completely capable of at minimum getting out and going for a walk every day. If she didn’t give up, then what right do I have to give up?

(NOTE: This blog post originally appeared on www.aworkoutaday.com, an archived blog I maintained for more than two years to chronicle consecutive daily workouts during that time.)

Morning walks are so wonderful. Just when I think I’ve given so much love to running, a morning walk comes out of nowhere and blows me away. The solitude. The dew. The looks on drivers’ faces who have to go to work a lot earlier than me. I took great pleasure in my 30-minute walk this morning because I know I won’t be working out tonight, as I’m flying to Little Rock to visit family for Easter weekend. And just when I think the morning can’t get better, my co-worker brought Polkadots cupcakes to work. Yum. I sampled them all: red velvet, carrot, chocolate and vanilla. It really is the little things in life (like cupcakes) that put a big ol’ fat smile on my face.

In other news, today would have been my father’s 62nd birthday. Hope you’re eating cupcakes in heaven, Daddy!

(NOTE: This blog post originally appeared on www.aworkoutaday.com, an archived blog I maintained for more than two years to chronicle consecutive daily workouts during that time.)

Some people have laughed at my idea, which is passing out food from my car to the homeless people on street corners. I call it being efficiently charitable. We all have items in our pantries that we bought and decided at some point we’ll never eat. For me, it’s those Campbell’s Soup at Hand soups.

I have four in my pantry, and I look at them taking up space as a reminder of money I’ve blown on impulse buys. I don’t like canned soup. I’d rather make homemade soup and freeze it in individual servings. And the nifty thing about Soup at Hand is you can drink it from the lid. Just remove the lid, peel off the top and replace the lid. Then microwave the soup. Now you have a nice, warm and tasty 150 calorie meal/snack.

So after I ran five miles around Town Lake, I drove by a guy standing at an exit off I-35 and gave him a can of chicken noodle soup. He said, “Thanks?” I hope he understands the heating process and takes it to the Exxon where there’s a microwave.

(NOTE: This blog post originally appeared on www.aworkoutaday.com, an archived blog I maintained for more than two years to chronicle consecutive daily workouts during that time.)

Two years ago, I ran 10 miles around downtown on a Saturday morning during Austin’s South by Southwest Film and Music Festival. It was the first day I was planning on meeting the Twenty-Six Two Marathon Club for training, but I showed up at the wrong place and approached the congregating group. I knew it was the wrong group when the coach said, “Today, we’ll start off walking the three mile loop, and we might run for about three minutes.” I raised my hand and said, “Uh, I’m supposed to run 10 miles today. Is this the marathon group?” No, he said. I’d missed them.

So I set out by myself to carry on with training for my first marathon, the Pacific Crest Marathon, that would have been in Sunriver, Ore. But about four weeks before the race, I slipped and fell off my friend’s boat and sprained my right knee’s MCL. I was out of the race according to three doctors in two states, which was devastating. The only way I could describe this to my mother, who has never trained for a foot race in her life, was imagine you’re pregnant and you have spent all this time preparing for the baby and being safe and eating and drinking the right things and staying healthy and then you miscarry. I said, “OK, that scenario is MUCH worse, but it’s still devastating.”

Running downtown on 6th Street in the morning during SXSW is a completely different experience than bar-hopping at night in four-inch heels. The early morning hours yield different smells and different people roaming around. The roadies are just beginning to set up. The waste management people are still cleaning up trash. Homeless souls begin their daily wander. I dodged and weaved through the downtown streets and got in my 10 miles without a group.

This year, I decided to run downtown again. While it had a similar effect, I started my run later in the morning around brunch time and bands were already playing their first songs. Emos who’d traveled from all corners of the globe were walking around with their tight hipster jeans and black spiked hair looking for the next venue on their personalized schedules. Welcome to Austin!

(NOTE: This blog post originally appeared on www.aworkoutaday.com, an archived blog I maintained for more than two years to chronicle consecutive daily workouts during that time.)

When I began training for the Seattle Rock n Roll marathon in 2009, I decided to listen to audiobooks and podcasts instead of listening to music on my iPod (the same stuff I’ve heard over and over for years).

One of the first audiobooks I listened to was “Dry” by Augusten Burroughs, and he talked about going to rehab and getting sober and how the rehab people were like, “Don’t forget to go to the AA meetings when you get out of rehab. That’s so important. Go 90 days-90 meetings. If you found time to drink before, you can find time for a meeting now.” So it got me thinking, “If I can find time to sit on the couch, then I can find time to workout.” So I created my 90 days/90 workouts strategy. My goal was to simply perform at least some kind of workout each day for the next 90 days.

I figured if an alcoholic can find time for a meeting every day (God bless ’em), then I could find time for a workout.

On March 7, 2009, I began this personal journey, which I documented day after day in my blog, A Workout A Day. I began the blog as a form of entertainment for family and friends. Each entry points out the workout for the day, plus a little something extra. My workout journey lasted for more than two years and ended sometime in June 2011.

(NOTE: This blog post originally appeared on www.aworkoutaday.com, an archived blog I maintained for more than two years to chronicle consecutive daily workouts during that time.)