H-Town Run Tourist

Make your own mantra: How to turn your insecurities into your inspiration

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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

Can I be honest with you? I'm going to be honest. I had taken a break from running to set up Houston Tourism Gym. True, I did a lot of walking to get my routes for my tours, but for me that is not enough exercise. Then, there was the beer, then the burgers, then the beer, then more beer. So guess what I gained weight.

Wait a second. Before you judge, I don't know if you have ever opened a business, but it is a lot. A lot of times you are alone, you take a lot of risks. You have questions occupying your bandwidth that never end. You are on a shoestring budget and you have to make a lot of sacrifices and mistakes. All the while trying to find your why so that you can teach it to others, but will they even get it. And so the questions start again.

My point is...it was time to get back to basics. So, I took a run or maybe it was a walk. It was a walk/run. During which, all of my insecurities for my sins came out. Because, I know my pattern and the fact that I love food and beverage, I have done this before. The walk back home turned into the run back to who I am. But it is a lot of work on the way.

I know I am not the only one so, I turned that morning's stinkin thinkin into inspiration. This is the brain workout that it took. I am going to share with you the three mantras I gleaned from it.

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Mantra #1

The alarm goes off. I reach for my phone to turn it off. I had set 3 snooze settings. I look at the phone. 6AM. What was I thinking? That is when the thinking began. I don't want to get up. I really don't. It might be cold. Is it raining? Maybe it's raining. What did I say I was going to do today? What day is it even? Then, I remembered I promised myself that I would go for a run.

Stop right there. You can't be a punk. Say that again. I promised my myself that I would go for a run in Terry Hershey Park remember? All those wonderful trees. That park never disappoints. Whatever wonderful thing that will happen today will definitely not happen in your bed. But you have to get up to see it.

Mantra: Something really amazing is going to happen today, but you have to get out of bed to see it.

Mantra #2

So, I get out of bed, take a quick shower, and put on my clothes. On the short drive from my apartment to the parking lot, I'm giving myself a pep talk to remember to do my best. And that no matter how much I may want to stop, I can't stop. I can slow down, but I can't stop.

Mantra: I can slow down, but whatever I do, I can't stop.

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Mantra #3

So, I get started. At first, I'm pumped. I can slow down, but I can't stop. I tell myself over and over again. Then the wonderful, rolling hills of Terry Hershey start coming at me and because I'm so deconditioned, I get winded. How embarrassing. Remember when you ran like a gazelle in Istanbul. You even ran sick. You have run 26.2 with hurt feet and diarrhea. This hill is nothing.

Then I thought of the lonely times, the rejection, the uncertainty that comes with starting your own business. How many times you have to fail. How many people you were not there for. How many associates you had to cut ties with because they no longer aligned with who you are becoming. That took a lot of strength. ALOT OF STRENGTH! At times, it felt almost superhuman strength was needed. That is it! All this time, I was cultivating STRENGTH. You know what I will do? I'll lend just some of that strength to my body today.

Mantra: Today, I'll take the strength that I have earned and lend it to my body!

Alot of times, if we look inside, we have the answer within us. Do not be afraid to speak nicely to yourself with understanding and intention. You are the only one who really knows you. Finish the conversation with yourself and you will find your inspiration.

H-Town Run Tourist Reminisce

The Best Walk I Ever Had

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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

I was having a conversation with a couple of people at Berryhill in River Oaks. (By the way, have you tried Berryhill's margaritas? They are so strong. Just sayin). We were talking about running. If you are wondering why these conversations keep happening to me, it is no accident. I often just show up to random places and put people in a position where they have to react. I like to spruce it up, so to speak. Never a dull moment with me.


Anyway, they were saying that they had tried running before, but hated it. They had never got to the point where they could just let their brain let go. Many people ask me how I could run a marathon. I always say because I love to think and reminisce, iterate, and dream. On my run today, I had a great memory. I'll tell you about it.

I had just arrived in Beijing, China. It was a long flight. I flew Air China. I was told that they were the worst airline, mainly because of the food. Man, was it true. I was served frozen food that was still frozen. I decided to just eat the Starburst that I got form the duty-free shop the rest of the flight. What a great way to fuel for the race. See what I mean about anything and everything happening before the race.

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When we got to Beijing, the airport had no lights or AC in the section that we were in. We had to stand in line for an hour to go through customs. Don't get me wrong, I'm not negative, but it is hard to deal with culture shock when I am hungry and sleep deprived.

Finally, I arrived at my hotel. I went up to my room. I ordered some Pizza Hut. Yes, my first meal in China was some Pizza Hut. I had no choice. We would only stay there tonight and tomorrow the would be off to the Great Wall to inspect it. We were staying at a hotel next to the wall. We had to travel two hours to get there. I was ready to get this party started.

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After we boarded the bus, I found my seat next to this gentleman from California. His name was Paul. We had a great time getting to know each other. It made the two hour drive really short. I looked out of the window to take in the Chinese countryside. the bus comes to a stop. We had arrived to our hotel.

After getting settled in my room, I took a hot shower. I put on my white linen pants and white off the shoulder top. I put on some fresh makeup and decided to take a walk. I wanted to get an idea of this town and where I was.

I left out the back of the hotel. When I got to the road, I decided to go straight. I had seen some birds in cages. Everyone who knows me knows that I love birds. I went to check them out. I saw a couple of shops and restaurants before heading towards the fountain at the end of the long road. There was a lot of people collected at the fountain. I wanted to see what was up.

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When I got to the fountain, I began to understand that everyone was staring at me. It became uncomfortable, so I decided to turn back around. The people crowded there were couples that seemed to be waiting for something. Then, I understood exactly what they were waiting for. I saw a long line of children on bicycles and on foot going down the road to connect with their parents.

This seems really ordinary, but something was different about this experience. The children were staring at me and the other arrivals with their mouths wide open. They stared, only barely blinking in disbelief. I looked back at their parents and they were doing the same. The entire town was staring at me and the other runners. Since, I came alone. I walked alone. I stopped and collected myself before I continued. Like lifting weights or like any other workout, I wanted to have good form. I tightened up my core, puffed my chest out, straightened out my back and rolled my shoulders back and proceeded to back to the hotel.

I kept my eyes forward. My chin up and kept on walking. And yeah, It was really strange to be stared at like that, but I couldn't help but think what they must be think about the newcomers in their town. It was truly a walk to remember. And by the way, I totally recommend the great Wall Marathon is a one of a kind adventure of a lifetime. Thank you for following me down this trip down memory lane.


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