Joelle, our newest runner, shares more on her background, how she\u2019s preparing for race day, and challenges she\u2019s facing.\nHi! I\u2019m Joelle Dann.\u00a0 I\u2019m a 43 year old single mother of three.\u00a0 My oldest daughter, Dakota, is running the full marathon this year and also participating in this UPMC feature.\u00a0 I started running after I graduated with my MBA last May.\u00a0 I watched my daughter and sister finish the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh half marathon last year, and I wanted to experience what it would be like to cross the finish line as well.\nEight years ago, I weighed over 300 pounds.\u00a0 Gastric bypass helped me lose the weight, but it didn\u2019t motivate me to become active as I thought it would.\u00a0 I said if I lost the weight, I wanted to run a marathon.\u00a0 I guess I figured to do this; I just needed to be skinny. Obviously, I had no idea what a commitment and lifestyle change running was.\u00a0 I lost over half my body size, but I couldn\u2019t run a half mile, even if LL Cool J was in front of me daring me to catch him (Yes, I am a huge fan).\u00a0\u00a0 Last February, I signed up for the Cupid\u2019s Undie Run in Pittsburgh.\u00a0 I thought, running in my underwear in winter while raising money for the Children\u2019s Tumor Foundation would inspire me to run.\u00a0 My sister, who was training for the half, sent me a training to schedule to be able to run a mile in eight weeks.\u00a0 Yes, a mile in eight weeks.\u00a0\u00a0 Guess what, I couldn\u2019t even do that.\u00a0 I walked the darn mile with a friend.\u00a0 After watching my daughter and sister finish the half marathon, I promised myself no more quitting.\u00a0 It was time to get serious about the marathons on my bucket list.\nI started my training last May with the Active App, Couch to 5k with a childhood friend who was also running for the first time. We used to panic when we had to run 8 minutes straight, but we both did it.\u00a0 Nine weeks later, we ran our first 5k in Greensburg on July 4th.\u00a0 I was so excited I ran, slowly, but I didn\u2019t walk, I ran the entire 5k.\u00a0 My finish time was 55 minutes.\u00a0 I am by no means fast, but I ran and I didn\u2019t quit.\u00a0 I ran several other 5ks before beginning training for a 10k in September.\u00a0 I became addicted to running. I hated my rest days.\u00a0 I mean I hated running, but I loved the way I felt after I completed my run. I finished the Greensburg 10k, dead last, 1 \u00bd hours later, but I finished.\u00a0 I was so slow, they gave me a half marathon medal, as they thought I ran the half which was running simultaneously as the 10k.\u00a0 I returned the medal and said I will accept it when I earn it.\nSince that run, I have only attempted one other 5k, to which a hip injury forced me to walk the last mile.\u00a0 I still had this dream of running a half and someday a full.\u00a0 I signed up for the Pittsburgh half during a long road trip with my boyfriend.\u00a0 He was driving and I was playing on my phone, bored.\u00a0\u00a0 After I registered, I started bawling like a baby.\u00a0 Thank God my boyfriend is supportive! What did I just do?\u00a0 I hated running. I love getting ready for a run and I loved the feeling I got after completing a run, but still hated the actual running. I just registered to run 13.1 miles and I couldn\u2019t even finish my last 5k.\u00a0 Clearly I have lost my mind.\nI started training a few weeks ago for the half.\u00a0 My dear friend Ryann, who has ran several halves before, also has registered to run and agreed to be my training partner.\u00a0 We found a 16-week plan online.\u00a0 It looked simple.\u00a0 It started with two, 2-mile runs and then a longer 3-mile run on Saturday.\u00a0 Somehow, I figured I could just run two miles easily, since I did a 10k four months prior.\u00a0 Wrong!\u00a0 I\u2019m struggling.\u00a0 I can\u2019t get motivated.\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 I am psyching myself out each time I try to run.\u00a0 Sometimes I can do a mile and sometimes I can\u2019t even do that.\u00a0 I mean, I know my body can do more, but my head is saying, OMG, you hate this, just stop and walk; so I do.\u00a0 I hate that my head keeps winning.\u00a0 Quitting and failure is not an option for me.\u00a0 I am getting a lot of advice from fellow runners.\u00a0 The problem is; I need advice on how to get my running mojo back.\nMy biggest hurdle is; how do I motivate myself. This half marathon is going to come whether I train or not.\u00a0 I know that.\u00a0 How do I get the energy to run and the motivation to train again?\u00a0 I hate treadmills and I hate the cold.\u00a0 Both of these are easy excuses I use during run days.\u00a0 Should I force myself to run first thing, or do I run in the evening when I seem to have more free time?\u00a0 I desperately am looking for any advice that helps me rekindle my run mojo! I would also like some tips on how to pick up speed.\u00a0 I would like to finish the half when it\u2019s still daylight out!\nWant to see how other runners approach marathon training? View this introduction blog post to meet our virtual running group.\nAre you preparing for this year\u2019s Dick\u2019s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon or one of the other weekend events? What does your marathon training plan look like? Let us know in the comments below!