By Marisa Silverstein, Certified Holistic Health Coach A.A.D.P.
I’m still on a high from the race I ran this past Monday. A feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction accompanied the crossing of the finish line! And as I reflect upon this momentous occasion, I would like to share with you the lessons I learned along the way.
“Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”
It’s amazing how the universe works sometimes. This time last year, I would have never thought I could run one mile, let alone six. Then a string of events happened that led me to believe that I could actually do it!
After Field Day a couple of years ago, the gym teacher at the school I teach at spoke at an assembly about competing in triathlons, and I’ll never forget what she said. That she wasn’t the greatest athlete in school and there is nothing special about what she does. And that if she can do it, anyone can.
Now, I’ve heard many people say that before, but somehow this time I believed it. That got the wheels turning in my head.
Then my husband came home one day after work and told me that a teacher in his school stopped smoking and a few months later started training for a marathon. She followed a run/walk program and completed the marathon in Philadelphia six months later. Now I REALLY started to believe that I could do it.
A few days after that, I was watching an episode of “The Biggest Loser” and saw contestants go from sitting on the couch eating fried chicken to eating more healthy foods and running a marathon a few short months later. Now there was no more doubt. I knew that I could do it too.
I’m not up to 26 miles, yet, or even half that. But because I had been training for five weeks, I KNEW that I could run the 6.2 miles it would take me to reach the finish line in the 10K Run I completed on Monday.
Think about something that YOU have always wanted to do but never thought that you actually could. Lose weight? Write a book? Land a dream job? What is holding you back? Figure out a way to make it happen and believe. You just might surprise yourself!
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
Weeks before the race, I read everything I could find on how to prepare for the big day, and spoke to experienced runners who taught me how to avoid mistakes they had made. For all of you out there thinking about running your first race,
The night before make sure to eat enough, but not too much or too late so as to tax your digestive system.
Make sure to take it easy the day before so that your body can rest and be ready to run the next day.
The morning of the race eat something light two hours before and keep yourself well hydrated.
Don’t eat anything new or different because you won’t know how your body will react to it.
Stop drinking about 30 minutes before so that you don’t have a stomach full of water sloshing around as you run.
Right before the race, stretch, use the lavish bathroom porta-potties, and get a nice spot at the start line. Then wait for the horn to blow and you’re off!
This can actually be applied to anything in life you set your mind to do. Research the steps on how to get it done, and then apply what you have learned to make it happen.
“The only person you should ever compete against is yourself.”
This was a difficult lesson for me to learn because growing up, I always compared myself to others; who got the better grades, the better job, car, home, etc. Then as I grew older, I realized that it was more important to be happy with what I had than to envy and compete with others.
I thought I had already learned this lesson, but its importance became even more apparent as I struggled to keep up with the runners ahead of me. I honestly didn’t think I would care about the hundreds of runners who shot out of the start line and down the road in front of me. Or the many runners who passed me as I took my walk breaks. But when that first happened, something inside me wanted to run faster to keep up. For a few seconds, I tried to quicken my pace, but it was so hot out that physically I knew there would be a chance I wouldn’t run or even walk across the finish line if I did.
Then I remembered how far I’ve come and how only a few months ago I wouldn’t have been able to run six miles. I slowed down and enjoyed every minute of the race. I started to pay attention to what was going on around me; people cheering us on, kids on the side-walk holding out cups of water or spraying us with hoses and water guns. Other runners around me, all together doing something really good for their bodies. I could feel the positive energy we were all radiating and it felt really wonderful.
At the end of the race, I was so proud of what I had accomplished. Because you see, I wasn’t the greatest athlete growing up, actually I wasn’t even an athlete at all.
So if I could believe in myself and work out a plan to make it happen… you can too!
Marisa Silverstein H.H.C. is a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and for the past seven years has helped counsel many individuals and families on how to create a healthy lifestyle. She created Raw Food Trails to help teach others about the importance of raw foods and maintaining a healthy respect for one’s body. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in holistic nutrition, and training to run her first marathon.