It’s was the Sunday before Christmas and I was on my first cup of coffee. I’d taken 1265 steps walking the dog, or so said the health tracker on the Samsung Galaxy S4 that I upgraded to as an early Christmas present this year.

For Dawn and I Sunday marked the day that we were exactly 4 weeks away from the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. Saturday was supposed to be a 12 mile training run for me, but I opted to move that run to Sunday because I had so much Christmas Shopping left to do.

Sunday was going to be a trial run to see how well my new phone held up to 3-4 hours of hard-core use, and how long the battery lasted, all really important things in the mind of this post WLS Runner.

When Dawn and I started this adventure back in June after I ran by first Half Marathon in honor of my Dad on Father’s Day and launched the How Do You Celebrate Success Contest… I never dreamed that by the end of the year I would be putting my third Half Marathon on the books.

Each half marathon I’ve done I have done on my own and the only time-keeper or pace setter I have had along the way was my music and my Daddy, the biggest motivators I have.

At the beginning of 2013 I set some running goals for myself. I wanted to run a 5K, a 10K and a Half Marathon. I think when I set that goal; I was wanting the race bibs to back them all up. But through the year I learned that the race bibs and official times didn’t matter to me; I had the proof of my accomplishments in my own electronic devices and the people who know me know and my Father who I know can see my journey, know what I have accomplished.

I ran more 5K’s this year than I could count. I walked a few with friends and family to encourage them to do things that were fun and fitness oriented and I did some just to be part of the team of WLS folks enjoying fun and fit activities. The Dadfest, The Color Mob, The Color Run, The Kiss Me Dirty, Color Me Rad and the Jingle Bell were added to my list of accomplishments from June through December.

I took on several 10K’s without really intending too in the form of training runs and just getting my normal exercise in. On average when I go out for a run just because I want too or because I’m getting my fit on, they range anywhere from 3-7 miles but tend to average out at about 5 most commonly.


But the three half marathons I have done this year are probably, the accomplishment I am the most proud of. They have also, been a huge part of this journey that Dawn and I are on.
It was my first half marathon in July, in honor of my father that prompted me to put together the contest that we had paying for one of my readers to accompany me to the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in January 2014 in order to help them achieve the same accomplishment.

As October approached and my world started to feel like it was closing in a little bit on me I turned to exercise to remind me what I was capable of and keep me focused on the journey ahead… I didn’t even mean to do a half marathon that day; I just needed to run some things out and it took me over 13.1 miles to do it.


This last Sunday, there was just no way I was going to miss the opportunity of putting a third half marathon on my list of 2013 accomplishments when the training run of 12 miles had me so darn close.

HM3Even though the #20Week2Tink training schedule we are doing has us scheduled to do a 14 mile run on week 18, I knew that run would be the first run of that distance in my 2014 year and that my head would calculate it completely differently.  So, before I even left the house on that training run, I knew my intentions were to do a 13.1 run instead.

I decided that unlike my previous 13.1 runs this time I would share it with a little more than just my Dad. I decided to test how long it would take me to take photos at mile markers, write some check in posts on social media platforms and unlike my norm, if I had to stop to pee, I kept the clock going. I figured this would be a great opportunity to see how much time I might expect to lose doing some of those very things on the Tinker Bell Half Marathon course next month.

The check-ins were something new for me normally running is a pretty personal experience for me, not something I share, but I found that as I started checking in and seeing the likes and comments that started to flow in after each check-in they were pushing me to do better, to go farther and to keep up my pace.

In fact, I want to recognize some of those motivators – Barbara Jones, Beth Tipton, Brandon Holbrook, Christy Ann, Cris Martin, Dawn Olson, Diane Cary, DsMel Alive, Erin Akey, Heather Rosenberry, Jayna Starr, Jennifer Heredia, Jennifer Mahoney, Joy Muller, Julie Markgraf, Kelly Rodriguez, Kelly Schaefer, Laura Van Tuyl, Mary Grisaffi, Melissas Potts Stallcup, Nicole Patterson, Ramon Heredia, Shell Teelander, Steven Live, Tammy Cravit, Troy Putman

Each one of these people added a Like or a Comment to one of my posts along the way, and became part of Team Pandora at that moment. The motivation that added to my run was amazing, I felt blessed to have some many people cheering me on, and to each and every one of you, thank you.

People ask me often, where I find the motivation, inspiration and drive to get out there and get my exercise done, especially when they are struggling to find it. My secret is that you have to find the fun in fitness. You have to find what you enjoy doing and do that. I’m not a huge fan of strength and resistance exercise. I struggle often to meet the weekly requirements to keep my body where I want it to be. But I love running, I enjoy the Elliptical, the Treadmill, and especially outdoor runs. You’ll rarely see me get my cardio in on an exercise bike because it’s tediously boring to me.

So if you are struggling to get yourself motivated to get your fit on here are a few suggestions for things I do to keep me moving.

  • Remember that exercise time is YOUR time, do what you want with it. Read a magazine or book on a stationary machine, listen to music you love, download an audio book you’ve been wanting to read but haven’t had time too.

  • Let your exercise help you. Let it be your outlet, whether you’re feeling good, upset, angry, depressed, take the time that you have to exercise and use the time to be with yourself and the emotions. Doing this taught me to appreciate exercise for how it could help me sort through the things going on in my life and made that “me time” even more special to me.

  • Make it fun. Play games with yourself; I’ve played a few different games with myself. Sometimes I play with the numbers, when I first started running I would run for one minute and walk for 4 then I made a game out of the numbers until my intervals were running for 4 and walking for 1. I’ve also played the same game with the settings on cardio equipment.

  • Always reward your accomplishments. When you accomplish something great remember that treating yourself special is paramount. It doesn’t have to be anything lavish or expensive, just something that makes you feel rewarded. After I finished my third half marathon I had the typical $5 that I run with in my pocket. I stopped at Target for some bubble bath ( $1.25 ) and Starbucks for a coffee ( $2.95 ) – I sat at Starbucks, enjoyed my coffee, got my free refill, people watched, then walked home and relaxed in a bubble bath with a book for a couple of hours.

  • Keep an exercise journal. I know it sounds tedious but I cannot tell you how many times I will go back to my website, and pull up a blog I wrote around the same time of year a couple of years ago to remind myself where I was. Looking back and seeing that I weighed 288 lbs and was chasing a 20 minute mile and realizing that today (Just four years later) I can run a mile in under 12 minutes when I really apply myself is a huge motivation factor for me.

If you’re still needing help finding the motivation to get out there and get your fit on, talk to a Weight Loss Coach or Personal Trainer in your area;  these are your professional motivators and cheerleaders and we’re always willing to sit down and work with a client that needs a little help fighting the fitness funkies.

Now it’s time for me to wrap up and get ready to get my own fit on today. I owe the #20Week2Tink Training Schedule, Dawn, and the Team Slender Seekers Sponsors 3 – 4 miles runs this week. Speaking of our sponsors, show them a little love and support in appreciation for their love and support for us if you don’t mind.


Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

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