Dear Slender Seekers,
Running a Half Marathon is no small venture. Especially with the background of fighting obesity that many of us come from. It can be scary and it can be intimidating. I still get pre-event jitters on a regular basis. In fact you’ll read my blog about pre-event jitters later this week. But for today I want to take you back to the day before Amy, our How do YOU Celebrate Success contest winner got on the plane.
Facing a serious knee injury and worried about whether or not she could do this Amy was really nervous. She was kind enough to write a blog about her pre-race head space and now that the event is over and those emotions are not so raw and frightening I wanted to share it with you.
Guest Blog by “How do YOU Celebrate Success” Contest Winner
Amy Smith

new_blog_headshotWell, here I am. It’s 1:00 am, and in five short hours my friend Stacie and I will get on a plane to Orlando for the Disney Wine and Dine Half-Marathon weekend. When I won the How Do You Celebrate Success contest, Stacie vowed to train with me and signed herself up for the race so she could run beside me. In April we “tested the waters” by running a half-marathon in Canton, Ohio, and we made it. So it seemed like we had it in the bag.

In May, Stacie fractured her foot. She was in a boot for six weeks. This girl hobbled through the Team Slender Seekers Color Run I organized in my community in her boot, but she was sidelined from running for a while. In October, injury found me, via my knee. What I hoped was just a “tweak” became chronic pain when running or walking down steps. As this weekend loomed closer, I was torn between taking it easy and not stressing it out more, but wanting to keep my training up.

I went from looking forward to the race to fearing it. I watched my per-mile time slip from 12 minute miles to 15 minute miles. I saw my ability to really endure long runs slip from a comfortable 10 miles to 7 miles. Then 3 miles. I unofficially saw a doctor, a family friend, who told me, “I would tell a normal patient to sit out this half-marathon. But I know you’re not going to, and what’s at stake, so here’s my best advice on getting through it.” That advice was to maintain short intervals the entire way, walking as much as possible. And in the meantime, no more impact exercise…only rest, ice, compression and elevation. 10362372_10154909288810347_2560319719682960177_n

So I walked out of that office knowing two things: 1) I have the ability to finish this race given enough time. 2) I could not finish this race under the 16-minute-mile pace required in order to not be swept off the course. I did some math and knew I’d need around 17 minutes a mile to walk as much as I’d need in order to keep my knee intact.

I called Pandora in a panic. We’ve trained for months, my sponsors have trusted me to carry their message through this race, my friends, family and community are all watching me and cheering for me…and I may let them down! It took several nights of phone calls and a letter to me via blog for Pandora to talk me off of the ledge. We realized I’d already completed what I’d set out to do – lose weight, run a half marathon, set goals and train for months. She reminded me that this race was simply one day of my life, not the end of the world. She also told me I should not run the Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5k the morning of the half marathon to save my knee. I’m disappointed, but I understand.

So now my bags are packed, and I can’t sleep. I’m excited! And I’m scared to death. I keep picturing that race and what will happen if my knee doesn’t hold up, or if I get swept. I’m trying to remain positive and imagine myself crossing the finish line, but I am also trying to be realistic and visualize being swept, to prepare myself for that possibility. Most of all, I just want to make everyone proud. I want all of the people who have made this dream a reality to know they made the right choice when they picked me to go on this adventure. It’s not myself I’m worried about letting down, it’s everyone else. Pandora says, “knock that off, we’re already all so proud.”

Pandora, the Slender Seekers and the sponsors have become like family to me, and I’m sad that the end of this chapter is drawing near. Thank you to everyone who has supported me through the months of training. No matter what happens this weekend, I promise to give it absolutely everything I have to give, just as you have all given me


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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