The days are counting down. I committed to running a road race after joining a running team back in September. I’ve trained and I’ve visualized, and now, I’m counting the days.

My goal is to finish. I don’t even have a time that I’m shooting for at this point. I just want to start and finish the race without stopping and walking. It’s only a 5K and millions and millions of Americans have run in races like this, but I never have; and for me to get to this point, it’s truly been a journey.

Back in September, I saw a bunch of eager runners meeting at the YMCA. They all had beautiful runner bodies, the type I’ve always longed to have. They looked happy and I knew that they were high on the fact that they had disciplined their bodies and their minds and because they each had a connection with each other through running and being fit. I wanted to be a part of a group like that, but I didn’t have the courage by myself.

The leader of the group wouldn’t allow me to think like that. John told me that I could do whatever I set my mind to, and that he promised to lend support. I accepted the challenge and joined the group. The first month I was up to running 5-7 miles and he told me to stop pushing myself so hard, that I was going too fast and that I’d end up injured. He was true to his word and on my 7 mile run, I strained a muscle. I then took off for a few weeks and then it was hard to ease my way back into it, but slowly I did.

I’d love to say I’ve been an easy “coachee”, and that I took to running like a fish takes to water, but mostly it’s been a mental struggle with me. I wanted to push myself hard and work out every day, but I kept coming up with excuse after excuse of why I couldn’t do it. Either I was injured, or I was out of town, or working, but I kept finding excuses of why I couldn’t run. Somehow, I kept sabotaging myself and I didn’t know why. Finally, one day I was running the track with a very successful, long time marathoner on my team about how he “hit the wall” during one of his marathons 50 yards from the finish line. He shared with me that his body stopped working, and that he fell against a fence which held him up until he recovered and then he stumbled to the finish line. At that moment, I realized then that when I was younger and on the track team, I also “hit the wall” one day, became dehydrated and even though my mind would work, my legs stopped working. I literally couldn’t move my legs. It was if I was in slow motion and my body just stopped.

I didn’t know that “hitting the wall” was something that can happen to anyone. I just thought from that point on that I wasn’t a runner. I thought that I wasn’t cut out to be a runner and that my body wouldn’t perform to the level that I wanted it to. Therefore, going forward I based my physical performance based on something I learned as a 9th grade student and that particular mindset held me back even as an adult. As I thought back over my high school swimming days, that held me back when we had running workouts. The crazy thing was, was that as an elementary school student, I was always one of the fastest girl runners in the whole school. Year after year, I placed as the top athlete in every athletic activity, including running. I even have a trophy somewhere in a box that I should get out to remind myself that I am a good runner!

When I realized that I had one incident from over 20 years ago that was adversely affecting my mental game when it came to running, I finally realized that I’m on my own path, and that the only way that I could break out of this negativity was one day at a time. My coach has now challenged me to build up my endurance by running 3-4 times a week; 3-4 miles a run, which I’m now doing. For Christmas, I received new running clothes and a watch which is making me feel more and more like a runner. Finally, my runs are getting easier and faster, and now, I’m about to sign up for my first race as I promised to myself.

It’s been a long journey to get to this point. My coach has given me a challenge that I believe that I can achieve and that I am committed to achieving. I’m taking baby steps and not overwhelming myself right now with signing up for a ½ a marathon or a marathon right off the bat. I’m building a base of strength and endurance, and as I grow in my strength, my confidence will continue to build.

I see how endurance takes time and that through one day at a time, I build strength. I see how easily we can defeat ourselves by being afraid or by holding a negative belief inside our minds.

On January 20th, I’ll be lining up with hundreds of other runners to do a 5K; which for them, will be a competition with others to see who goes fastest. For me, it’s a huge win for me to show up and finish; because now, I realize that I’m on the way to doing something that I’ve wanted for so long, but didn’t think I could do. That in itself is a huge accomplishment for me.

So I’d like to ask you… do you have any beliefs about yourself that are holding you back? Do you have something that you really want to do but you’re not sure you can? Do you have any fear standing in your way?

It’s time to rewind your mind, and review the view, to see if you’re the one standing in your own way. The answer may surprise you. And if you discover, like I did, that the reason for your failure was something you believed long ago, it’s time to rediscover your strength and create a new destiny, of you succeeding and achieving your dream.