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It’s (Mostly) in Your Head

An H3 guest recently reminded me how important a positive attitude is for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  The week before the Disney Half Marathon on January 8th, I received an email from a woman (I’ll call her “Xena”) who was very worried about being able to finish the half-marathon in the allotted time, or just finish it at all.  Although she had been training for months and had completed a previous half-marathon when she was much heavier, Xena was very concerned about failing.  She wrote:  “I am hearing a lot of negative thoughts (in my head) and yet I know that most of the race is actually mental.” Because she was so stressed, she turned to food for comfort.  Xena was frustrated because she’d been doing so well with her eating until that week, and she had even lost weight over Christmas. 

I responded with (I hope) something encouraging and supportive.  The following week I was delighted to receive Xena’s good news:  “By Wednesday (before the race) I had come back to reality.  I realized that the only reason I signed up to do the marathon was to give myself motivation to keep training.  I had already done that so essentially I had already accomplished my goal!  If I didn’t even run the race I had already won because I was taking care of myself.  I guess the real reason I didn’t want to do poorly was because I was afraid I would look like a failure to my family.  Once I talked to them about it they all (figuratively) smacked me upside the head.  They were already proud of everything I accomplished and didn’t really care what the race results were going to be.  They were just cheering me on in whatever I decided. 

My sister-in-law (who runs all the time) and my sister stayed with me the whole way (during the race).  My goal was to finish, to not be last, and if possible to finish in under 3 hour 25 minutes (the max time allowed was 3h 30m).  Well, I even surprised myself. I maintained my pace the entire race and finished at 3h 22m!  There were eight thousand people still behind me and I felt great!  We even went and did Disney for the next 2 days after that. 

I am so proud of myself.  I didn’t let my mind defeat me and I pushed through all my self doubts and even communicated when I was feeling stressed.  I finished 13.1 miles!  No one can take these accomplishments away from me.  I am back on track with my eating and things are definitely on an upswing.” 

Way to go, Xena!!!

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