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9 ways marathon training prepares you for life's most stressful situations

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

This week was super stressful. I stay busy and keep an even busier schedule, but this week was worse than most weeks. I don't want to go into it, but I'll just say that it started with my car getting booted and towed from in front of Market Square Park and it costing over $1000 to get my car back. I knew that I was going to be tested beyond belief to recover from this small catastrophe. So, I decided to go back to my marathon training days and use some of the skills I learned on race day. Since we all have stressful days, I'll share them with you.

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Assess your situation and come up with a plan.

From getting to the start line, finding your corral, and planning how to get your pace takes constant planning during the race. Remembering this, from the start of this situation, I began to lay out my circumstances and all of my resources in the best short notice plan. During the week, I checked back to cross off the things that were completed. It was encouraging to cross things of the list.

Periodized Progression

When you are at the start line, its best not to think about the race as 26.2 miles, but to take it in parts. How are you going to run the first 3 miles? You probably assessed that you will be consumed with finding your proper position and getting away from slower runners and walkers. By mile 5-10, you will be all loosened up and ready to enjoy the scenery. By mile 22-26.2, you will be super serious and on your game. The is a form of periodization. You only worry about the stage that you are in.

While I frequently imagined myself being at the solution of my problem, I knew all the steps that I laid out. During these steps, I was not concerned with much else but to complete the step and progress to the next step.

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Come with your own nutrition

During marathon training, you would have learned the nutrition that your body needs to go the distance. For me, I need 2 Gu's and a pack of chews for energy. You know when you can skip a water break and how much is too much. Your goal is not to stop for a bathroom break.

With this in mind, I would always make sure I had my meals and water with me. It is too easy to say that you will get some later and the wait until you are totally irrational to stop and get some. I was sure to have mine next to me.

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Breathe

If you are trying to run a marathon without breathing, you will pass out or die. So, you have to breathe right. A good rule of thumb is to breathe to keep calm. It takes the stress out of breathing. During this week, I would regularly check to make sure I was breathing deep breathes. These breathes not only kept me calm, but made me feel slightly high. Much needed.

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Ditch negative self talk for positive self talk.

Imagine deciding to run 26.2 miles and telling yourself that you can't do it every step of the way. You would give up. In high stress situations, ditch any negative thinking. Every time you think a negative thought, immediately replace it with a positive one. Can't think of one. Here's one. "You are doing good. You got this!"

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Stop and smell the roses.

Around mile 10 is when I start to feel good. I'm loose and looking good. I take pictures, look for snacks, photo bomb other people's pictures, and just listen to my music. It was a long ride to get here. In high stress situations, it is good to stop and smell the roses a bit, listen to music, and laugh. You can't stay in a stressful state all day.

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Ask for a helping hand.

In a marathon situation, you would have asked advice on the race course like where the water stops and port-o-potties are. You may ask to run with another runner that you don't know for company or stopped at the first aid station.

During high stress situations, it is time to ask for help. Admitting, you ain't got this and you cannot do it alone is a great way to learn humility and gratitude. It's also interesting that you will find out that others need help to. You are not the only one who is going through stuff.

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Have faith.

Have faith that you trained well and that you will know what to do when the time is right. In high stress situations, they say "Faith brings a basket to market." Meaning, even if you don't know how things will work out, keep doing what you are doing and you will get what you need. If you stop trying, you will never know what it takes to succeed or how good it will feel to get to the solution.

REPEAT! All I know is that I learned a lot this week! I would not have traded the emotional training that I got. I feel much stronger than before and I am grateful to be at True Anomaly with my Go Flight IPA, writing this piece while I wait for my tourists to arrive for my Mural and Brewery Tour. Like I do every Sunday!

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Yordan Alvarez provided the offense to back up more stellar pitching by the Astros as they took ALCS game 6 to advance to the 2021 World Series. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of this series in Houston then falling behind in the series 2-1 by dropping the first of three games in Boston, the Astros took over the ALCS in Games 4 and 5, sending them back to their home crowd with a chance to finish things off in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park. After another stellar performance by their pitching staff and more timely hitting, they would accomplish that mission, winning the series and moving on to the 2021 World Series.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 0

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston wins 4-2

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Losing Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Houston strikes first to start tightly-contested Game 6

After a scoreless top of the first inning by Boston's offense, the Astros capitalized on a chance to be first to score in the bottom of the frame. Alex Bregman started the two-out rally, reaching base on a single against Nathan Eovaldi for the first hit of the night. Yordan Alvarez followed, delivering his sixth RBI of the series with a double to put Houston on top 1-0.

That did not spark further immediate scoring, as the one-run score held while both starting pitchers provided solid outings for their team. For Eovaldi, he was able to limit Houston to just that single run through four frames. He returned in the bottom of the fifth, facing two batters, allowing a single, and getting a strikeout to end his night.

Garcia impresses in big start

For the home team, they were recipients of another expectation-exceeding performance from one of their young arms. Only anticipated to go a handful of innings, Luis Garcia worked efficiently and effectively against Boston, keeping them scoreless and hitless through five innings. He continued in the sixth, getting two more outs before allowing a two-out triple, ending his night as Phil Maton would enter to strand the tying run. Garcia's final line: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 76 P.

With both teams dipping into their bullpens, the Astros took advantage of Boston's as Yordan Alvarez's dominance went on display once again. He led the inning off with a triple, then scored on a double-play ball to extend Houston's lead to 2-0. Kendall Graveman took over on the mound in the top of the seventh and worked himself into a big moment. He gave up a one-out walk, followed by a single, which put runners on the corners for Boston. He continued to struggle with the zone, falling behind the next batter 3-1, but was able to battle back to get the strikeout paired with a terrific throw by Martin Maldonado to cut down the runner from first trying to steal second, ending the inning and maintaining the two-run advantage.

Astros headed to the World Series

Ryne Stake was Houston's next reliever, and he put Houston three outs away by getting a 1-2-3 eighth. With Ryan Pressly warming, he watched and hoped that his offense could give him some more insurance to work with when he went to the mound in the top of the ninth. His wish would be granted, as after getting two on base, Kyle Tucker would put a major exclamation point on the night's offense, hitting a three-run opposite-field homer to the Crawford Boxes to push the lead to 5-0.

Pressly, now with the five-run lead, came on to try and start the celebration by getting the final three outs. Against the tougher part of Boston's order, he would get a 1-2-3 inning, giving the Astros the American League pennant, which along with those won in 2017 and 2019, puts them back in the World Series for the third time in five years.

Up Next: The Astros will have three days off before The Fall Classic kicks off. While Game 1 will be on Tuesday, October 26th, nothing else has yet been determined as Houston awaits to see which of the Dodgers and Braves will advance out of the NL, which will also dictate if the Astros will host or travel to World Series Game 1.

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