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Attitude is everything; go run your race

Note: This column was also published in The Bryan Times today. I wanted to share it here to document more of my weight loss journey.

Attitude is everything.

As humans, we know this, but somehow we let our thoughts keep us from achieving our goals. Mental roadblocks get in the way before we even attempt a new task or face a problem.

“I can’t do that. There’s no way.”

But a change in your frame of mind can change the outcome.

“I can do that. I will find a way.” 

At least with a positive mindset, you stand a chance of reaching your goals. With a negative mindset, you likely won’t even try.

I have a sticky note on my work computer to remind me to stay positive daily. It says, “Negativity is a choice. Choose something else. You have better things to do.” 

I think I found that saying on a blog I follow or a Twitter feed. Either way, it hits the nail on the head for me.

Because we choose our attitudes every day. We choose how to face the situations we are dealt.
Another great quote  about attitudes comes from Capt. Jack Sparrow of Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean.” He said, “The problem isn’t the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.” 

It’s an unusual source, but the message resonates with me. Actually, I think it’s going on another sticky note. (Note: It did. I stuck it right next to the other.)

Trouble is, I can’t carry sticky notes around with me all the time. My attitude can’t always be perfect, and I can’t always stop those mental roadblocks from getting in my way.

But last weekend I was able to bust through a huge mental roadblock and reach the finish line of one of my goals — literally.

Saturday morning, I finished my very first 5k run. Ok, I would say jog rather than run, but I didn’t walk at all — which is a first and a huge deal for me.

My brother was coming home for the weekend and convinced my family to do the Run for Your Health 5k at Fairview Elementary School. When he asked, I was only three weeks into the eight-week Couch to 5k running program, which slowly builds up your endurance to run an entire race. Knowing I would only be on week six when race day came along, I said I’d try, but I might have to walk.

Fast foward to the week of the race, and I felt unstoppable. I had this spark in me that told me I could do it — I could run the whole thing if I really wanted.

Then Friday came and my plan fell apart. My brother and sister-in-law could no longer come home, and my husband had to work in the morning.

That left me, my sister Jan, and her friend Danielle at the race. With no one left to watch my daughter, I decided she would have to come in my jogging stroller. I have taken her for runs in the stroller before, but never for a long distance. I was upset that pushing the extra 30-plus pounds would hold me back.

After working at the Cage Classic Friday night, I didn’t get home until 1 a.m. As I went to bed, I told myself I might have to call off. There was just no way I could run on so little sleep, right? 

But I woke up with a fresh attitude at 7 a.m. I got out of bed and thought, “If I’m getting up this early, I’m going to make it worth my while. I’m going to do my best and run as far as I can.” 
And with that new mind set, everything fell into place.

As I was getting ready, still worried about pushing Kenlee in the stroller, my dad called. He was on his way to the race because he wanted to help with Kenlee while I ran.

Thank you, dad! There was nothing holding me back now — nothing but my attitude.

As I ran with Jan and Danielle, they helped me to extinguish every negative thought with a positive one. They helped tear down every mental roadblock and put a boost in it’s place. I couldnt’ have done it alone.

“I’ve got this. I’ve got this.” 

“If I can do two miles, I can do three miles. 

“Look how far I’ve already come.”

“I can’t stop when the finish line is in my sight.”

Of course, I didn’t actually say much of that out loud — I saved every breath for my tired lungs. But the thoughts in my head and in my heart were what kept me going.

Jan and I crossed the finish line together, almost last among the runners, with a time of 37:23. The race organizers cheered us on for the last bit and congratulated us at the end. They knew I wasn’t in it to win it — I was just in it to finish.

Out of breath and exhausted, I simply mustered, “I didn’t walk!” and hugged my sister. Then I went back up the road to find my dad and Kenlee, who were almost done walking the course. 

Being the trooper he is, my dad didn’t finish far behind us, with a time of 45:45.

As I scooped up my daughter she said, “Yay, mommy!” It could have been that she was just happy to see me, but I like to think she was proud of me.

And I’m not too humble to say I am proud of me, too.

As I write this, on Sunday, I feel unstoppable. Nothing is unreachable if I don’t want it to be. Nothing is impossible if I don’t let negativity get in the way.

I found a way to run my race and get to the finish line — can you? 

We all have races to run, goals to reach and mountains to climb. As you make your way, just remember one thing: Attitude is everything.

Tami Brigle is the editor of The Bryan Times. She would like to thank Curt Foust and his team for putting on a great race — a race that changed her life.

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