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.

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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

While I was training for the Honolulu Marathon in 2009, I learned something very important. I was running late for training, but I needed something in my stomach. I had run out of bananas and did not have time to make some eggs and toast. I opened my refrigerator and grabbed the first thing that was close enough: a plum. It was juicy and delicious. I forgot one thing: that a plum is an unripe prune. Everything was great until about mile 15. I started to get that call. You know the one that says get to the bathroom fast. All I could see is a port-o-let. I didn't want to, but I had too. Of course, there was no toilet paper or soap or sanitizer. Gross! If you think that is bad, read on for the grossest things about running a marathon.

Snotty nose.

As you can imagine, running against the wind and in the cold can cause your nose to run. This is always a gross thing because most of the time, you do not have tissue. Most runners just let it fly off with the wind. It is really fun to talk to someone after their run when they have an "eagle" in the sky. This time, it is okay to refuse the handshake.

Bloody nipples.

This disgusting aspect of running typically only plagues men. Thanks to the sports bra, ladies usually don't deal with this. Bloody nipples happen when the runner's shirt chafes his nipples. After 26.2 miles, his chest looks like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. If this happens to you, you are not alone. There is a wonderful product called Body Glide to help prevent the carnage.

Urinating on the course.

Maybe you had a time goal and stopping to use the port-o-potty would slow you down or you just could not hold it. There is a reason at the expo that they sell bladder pads for the ladies. Elite runner, Paula Radcliffe, professional marathoner from England has had her instances. In the 2005 marathon, she had to relieve herself in the street on course in front of cameras and reporters. She quickly recovered from the embarrassment because she won.

Pooping on yourself.

Urinating is one thing, but pooping is quite another. I was able to find a port-o-potty in time, but what if you can't? Many runners have had to do the doo on course. This marathon olympian could not wait until he crossed the finish line. Good news for him. He did take the lead and won the race.

Please take heed to my warnings, but don't let that keep your from trying and running a marathon. Invest in Body Glide, bladder pads for the active, and a small bag of keener. As far as the pooping, I always pack Imodium AD. It really works!

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