Dear Amy,

So we’re just one night away from getting on a plane to start our Walt Disney World half marathon experience and I know you are terrified.

First I want you to take a deep breath, relax and remember that no matter what happens at this event, you’ve already accomplished what we set out to accomplish together. You’ve completed 37 weeks of training for this event. You have run countless 5k’s leading up to it. You’ve run 10k’s and you’ve already taken on that first half marathon and walked away with an awesome blanket to show for it.

And now here we are, just about to get on a plane and what is it you worried most about? Letting me down. Amy you can’t let me down. You’ve already done everything that I asked of you and more.

What this event is about now is enjoying what you’ve learned, accomplished and how far you have come.

If you had been in this predicament several years ago, we might be in a much different situation. When presented with a knee injury a week before a major event you might have decided not to go forward. But that’s not the woman you are today Amy, your first instinct wasn’t I’m not going to do this event, your first reaction was, how am I going to get through it. I can’t tell you how proud of you I am.

In talking to you I know how scared you are. You’ve got a lot to lose if that knee goes out on you. And guess what, we’re not going to let that happen. After all, as your coach it’s my job to do what is in your best interest and support you in whatever decisions you make while educating you on the best way to achieve your goals and try to make sure you don’t hurt yourself along the way.

That’s exactly what we’re going to do Amy. You just need to take a deep breath, relax and trust me.

When you go into an event with an injury that you know might prevent you from completing it during the required time frame, you must have a plan. Our journey with weight loss, no matter where we are in it is about identifying our obstacles and finding solutions to our barriers so that we can get past them.

You might not finish this event at the finish line Amy, that’s the hard facts of the situation. You’re not going to run as much as you thought you would if at all, and the only pace you are going to be expending the effort on maintaining is the one that keeps your knee comfortable and out of pain. You won’t be pushing it trying to champion through it because this event, is one day of your life  while  your mobility, functionality and overall joint health is a lifelong priority. You may walk the majority of this event and you might get swept. But if that happens, we’ll be walking together nice and slow at whatever pace your knee lets you until we get the miles to send you home with the ability to say “I earned that medal.”

Sometimes the lessons we learn in our journey aren’t physical ones Amy, they are mental ones. The hardest lesson I ever had to learn was that at times I am going to be limited by my physical ability and unable to do something I might really want to do. I’ve never been the type of coach that tells you no pain no gain. In fact, all the amazing people I have learned from would tell you exactly the opposite. Listen to your body. Don’t exercise through pain. Don’t try to push through a serious injury and make it worse.

You have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself here Amy. And what you have to prove to yourself isn’t that you can run a half marathon, been there done that, you got the blanket. What you have to prove to yourself is that you can achieve anything you set your mind to as long as you set realistic goals, have a solid plan and that no matter what happens, you can find the positive part of this experience and be able to celebrate your success.

That’s what this is all about after all Amy. Being able to celebrate our weight loss success, do things we never dreamed of before we lost weight.

If there was one lesson I wanted you to learn most out of this whole thing it was that you are awesome and you can do anything you set your mind too and that you can inspire others with your story. Look how many lives we’ve touched together in the last year. We got this honey, at your pace, no matter what that pace is. And no matter what happens in Orlando I’m more proud of you than you will ever know.

Take a deep breath and relax. I’ll see you in Orlando and I promise, everything is going to be alright.


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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