H-Town Run Tourist

Where to find inspiration and motivation for running

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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

If you are anything like me, you love the beginning of the year. You check all the running calendars and pick out all your races for the year. You go to the local running store and buy your new shoes. You even get a pair of new socks to go with them. You download some music....to get ready for your first run of the season. You get to the park and put your feet on the cinder path. You about a quarter of a mile in......and you run out of steam. You are just not as motivated as you thought. I know I'm not the only one. Because I made it my job to motivate you I have created a short list of things that can motivate you quickly.

Nothing like good tunes on the open road.

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Music

This sounds like the obvious answer. Of course music is motivating. When was the last time that your heard a song and really felt it? Like, you really got it. When I trained for the Houston marathon in 2008, I was really feeling Refugee by Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers. I had come off of a rough patch and I was ready to move forward. Tom, singing his heart out with, "You don't have to live like a refugee." just resonated with me because I knew that I was not going back to that. I got to acknowledge the hardship, recognize that it was significant and that it was over and agree to move on. This leads me to my training for the 2009 Honolulu Marathon. No Drama by Mary J. Blige was the song. I decided to actively "allow no more drama in my life." Those songs got me through training and the finish line.

Who is your favorite superhero?

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Your favorite Superhero.

My favorite thing to do when I run is to pretend that I have superhuman strength and abilities. I imagine myself in different scenarios overcoming odds and doing super cool things just for the hell of it. Because running did not come naturally for me, it felt like I needed superhuman powers to get through a run. It really seemed to fit. Here are a couple of superheroes who have always done it for me:

The Juggarnaut: Because once he gets started and gains momentum, he cannot be stopped. Not by rain or a heavy wind blowing against him or a slow and steady incline that never seems to end.

The Wolverine: He heals fast. It you have a cramp, a sprain, a pull, or your legs, toes, or feet are hurting, you can be the Wolverine and it will heal in about 10 secs.

The Phoenix: The bad thing about the Phoenix is that there is nothing that she can't do so, for this exercise, you have to be specific. This helps me take my mind off of pain and think about something I like to call "micro impossibilities." If the concrete of the road is bothering your joints, you could imagine that you are the Phoenix and that you can change your drops of sweat into a path that you can run on instead of the concrete. And everyone knows that running on sweat is great for your joints!

Live oaks look like lightening.

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Nature

Nature has a lot of things to glean inspiration from. I am obsessed with fractal patterns. Fractal patterns are reoccurring patterns in nature. They signify how things start from a small seed, grows and replicates. They are the natural order of things and a great example of why science is so cool and how and why you can count on it every single time.

They make me think about all the possibilities that are out there and how everything is connected. Live oaks are native to Houston. Have you ever noticed that the trunk and branches of a live oak tree look exactly like lightning. I see a row of live oaks and I think of a thunder storm because it looks just like that. I makes me think of having a brainstorm. I always ask myself: What else do I have up there? See how this works. Flowers and leaves are great for this too.

If you are on your next run and you are starting to run out of gas or feel pain, remember to look up, look down, and definitely don't forget to look inside yourself. You will find yourself at the finish line.

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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