In 2014 I ran the Boston marathon. This was my 2nd Boston and 10th marathon. I was nervous going into the race because of a nagging foot injury. This race was also different than prior years because of the bombing that occurred in 2013. Halfway through, I began to have foot pain, and I felt a shortness of breath, which I recognized was anxiety due to my negative and pressured mindset for the past 13.1 miles. I recognized that I had begun to think negatively and could not take the focus off of a fear of my foot hurting and not being able to complete the race in the time that I had wanted. I stopped in the med tent. I decided I would have someone drive me to the finish. Then I heard another women in the tent tell one of the volunteers to drive her to the finish. Hearing those terrible words out loud made them so much more real to me. I held out my hand to her and asked if she would walk the rest of the race with me. This was the Boston Marathon! We couldn’t quit! If we couldn’t finish alone, we would finish together.
My new friend and I headed out together, side-by-side, walking to the finish. She told me her story of being in Boston the year before and the bomb going off and not being able to find her children at the finish. She told me how her anxiety had been so hard to deal with that she had to seek therapy. She had come to the realization that in order to overcome the phobia that her mind had created, she needed to run this race again. However, her anxiety had taken over halfway through the race, and she wanted to quit. We agreed to finish the race together! When one of us wanted to quit, the other one encouraged her, telling her not to give up. We were going to finish Boston Strong! We believed we could, and we did. The power of our newfound friendship had encouraged us to believe in something bigger than ourselves: each other! The limits our physical bodies had placed on us had been overcome by the power of our belief in one another and in finishing this race together!
I tell this story in commemoration of the Boston Marathon race that will occur again on Monday, April 18th, 2016. The horrible bombing that occurred in 2013 has taught runners and spectators alike to band together, be strong, and never give up. This is a mantra that has stuck with me.
As I work in my private practice as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, I see clients who have extreme negative thoughts, are constantly beating themselves up and telling themselves that they cannot make it through life another day. They do not understand the power of their mind and the ability that they have internally to defeat this mindset if they could only learn how to tap into it! The needs of my clients to learn alternate coping skills for dealing with depression and anxiety have inspired me to take my practice to the gym. I learned most of my stamina, self-determination and perseverance from running, and I want to teach other people how to do that too!
I am now collaborating with friend and colleague, Wendy Crane, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and staff at Orange Theory Fitness in Lake Mary to bring these skills directly to the workout place! Our goal is to teach members how to harness the power of the mind in order to break down barriers to their fitness goals. We will be implementing a workshop on April 16th, 2016 in conjunction with an Orange Theory coach who will be leading the members through an actual workout. We will then lead the members through an activity to identify negative belief systems and replace these belief systems with positive beliefs and goals. Once these new belief systems are established, members will have a chance to test them out in a second workout to see how their body responds to the power of the positive mental energy they have created.
Eventually, my goal is to make this workshop a regular part of fitness routines everywhere, to open this up to the public at large, and to really incorporate mental coaching into every day fitness workout routines.