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"....And It All Comes Down To You."

Friday, September 24, 2010

We lost a friend this week. TRAINOF4 passed away after battling illness for some time. I wanted to pause before I started blogging to mention that and to honor her and her life.

If you follow my travels you know I live five minutes from my gym. That gives me a real advantage when I run because I can walk up there, warm up on an elliptical or a treadmill, stretch out my quads a bit and run. Usually I plan it that my run ends up at my front door.

Yesterday was my last run before my 5K on Saturday. The race course is full of hills and well I have run up and down a few I haven’t really had to face them that often. I picked a course yesterday of 2.1 miles that was basically a small roller coaster. Before I go any further a big shout out to my unofficial running coach, Paul, who is also my son and to my personal trainer Jen. Paul told me that if I ever wanted to be a serious runner I needed to learn to run from my core rather than my legs. As I went up and down these hills yesterday I was glad Jen had spent so much time helping me begin to develop those muscles. As I approached a hill I would shorten my stride and push from my core and while it took a bit getting used to I was able to get up and down. (Between you and I it was a minor amazement!!!) I finished my run and felt good. My recovery time was great and I had a wonderful day.

I write all this to preface the fact that this run almost didn’t happen. As I left the house and warmed up my heart and soul wasn’t in this simply because I was getting ready to do something I had never done before. Rather than being scared I decided I’d make excuses.

“Maybe all of this comes too soon.”

“You’re not a kid anymore.”

“You should be getting ready for work!!!”

I got on the elliptical and put my IPod on shuffle because the best way to describe my mood was apathetic. I just didn’t care. Halfway through my warm up I started listening to an old Fleetwood Mac song, Gypsy. There is a bit of a break in the song where Stevie Nicks sings”…..And it all comes down to you.”

I stopped before I walked out the gym door and I thought, “Yeah it does.” It all comes down to me. You can have all the support, encouragement, love and training in the universe, but it all comes down to you. No one runs that hill but you. So I did and I enjoyed it and I am ready.
This weekend marks my passage from someone who runs to a runner. I am not sure where this adventure takes me but I do know it’s entirely up to me whether I get there or not.
You will be with me tomorrow, in spirit, because you are part of an amazing group of people who encouraged me to do something I never thought I would be able to do.

I’ll try to update tomorrow but most likely it will be Sunday. We are driving to Louisville this evening and I’m not taking my computer.

Have a great Friday

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    So sorry about your friend, John. At my age I have lost too many.

I love the song Gypsy!

I assume that by now you are now officially a runner. No surprise to me as you always have had it in you waiting to come out. emoticon

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JUSTFOXXY 9/25/2010 6:36PM

    emoticon John! emoticon

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MARCYNA 9/25/2010 9:09AM

    Wow... Incredibly,, old songs give you new impulse and it's as if you had heard them for the first time.
And I just love Fleetwood Mac - 'Dreams' is one of my fav ever emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/25/2010 9:15:49 AM

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DANCING4UJESUS 9/25/2010 9:05AM

    Good Luck John! Yes its up to you but remember you are not running it alone. All things are possible through Christ who strengthens you. Peace to you brother and God Bless. emoticon emoticon

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BSAGE47 9/24/2010 8:00PM

    Good luck, John. You can do it!!

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    Good luck on your race tomorrow.. can't wait to read your blog. I know your going to kick butt emoticon

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GOLFCHICK2-0 9/24/2010 6:28PM

    Have a wonderful time!! Enjoy your transition from one who runs to Runner. I'm thinking about breaking into those ranks as well. Let's just see how the knees handle it!! A little something to think about...

"In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that."
-Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KLEONIKI 9/24/2010 5:18PM

    you dear friend have a great, the best possible Friday!
Good luck!

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MKPRINCESS007 9/24/2010 4:51PM

    You can do this! I know you will! You are reaching for the stars, and I know you will be amazing!

Wishing you the best of luck!

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DEE797 9/24/2010 2:46PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KSGROTHE 9/24/2010 2:43PM

    I love how you learned to run from your core on yesterday's run! I've been working on consciously engaging my abs while I walk, and it's a bit of a challenge to focus on your core.

Good luck on tomorrow's 5K! emoticon

- Karen

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HONORINGGOD 9/24/2010 2:35PM

    a wise man once said "i'm proud of you &your worth it "your that man .thank you enjoy your journey.

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SANDYK4BAMA 9/24/2010 12:32PM

    I'm so PROUD of you! I think I've told you before, but you are one of MY HEROs!! I can't wait to hear what you thought about the 5K. Someday, maybe someday, I too can run a 5K. Sunday is the Chattanooga Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and I'm going to walk in that, with my family, but boy, I'd LOVE, Love, LOVE to be able to run it.

Go John Go!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/24/2010 12:46:18 PM

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BUGGYS 9/24/2010 12:26PM

    We will all be cheering you on and you will do awesome in the are an inspiration and love hearing your blogs every day!

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GETFIT2LIVE 9/24/2010 11:36AM

    Have a wonderful race tomorrow. Take time to breathe in the excitement and energy of your fellow runners, but just focus on running your own race at your own pace. You're ready; you're more than ready. One of my favorite quotes about running is this: The difference between a runner and a jogger is an entry blank. You are a runner, my friend; I look forward to hearing the race report on Sunday!

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AKATUJE 9/24/2010 11:06AM

    Thank you John for these words.

Best wishes for your 5K. emoticon!!! God bless you, and may it be another amazing experience for you.

Will look forward to the picture of you in the Tshirt

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MYRNACARRIER 9/24/2010 10:57AM

    Oh, you are giving me so much inspiration. In the past I have run 10Ks, three times in fact. That was five years ago before I had my illness, cancer, and now I am cnsidering training for a 10K in April. You are such a great motivator and so helpful to all of us on our journeys to better health. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUDIL62 9/24/2010 10:54AM

    You are right, we will be there cheering you on. You can do it! Think of the sense of accomplishment you will have when you finish!

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JAKEANDNELLIE 9/24/2010 10:44AM

    "You can have all the support, encouragement, love and training in the universe, but it all comes down to you."
Thank you for sharing that powerful quote! It's now posted on my inspiration board and I hope it does for me what it did for you!
Good luck in your 5K on Saturday!
Stay positive!

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LOOKY-LOU 9/24/2010 10:38AM

    Can't wait to hear how it all goes. Good luck Buddy!

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STORMTMB 9/24/2010 10:20AM

    We're rooting you on John. Can't wait to hear all about it! Be sure to have fun and enjoy your accomplishment!

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WINNERINKY 9/24/2010 10:12AM

    Good luck on your run!

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KATRIONAH 9/24/2010 10:04AM

    Go John.....can't wait to hear about your race. YOU can do it! Share your smile today, Karen emoticon

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NJMATTICE 9/24/2010 9:36AM

    Go John! I look forward to the report. I am sure that it well be a great one.

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BTINTERNET 9/24/2010 9:36AM

    We'll be with you the whole way! Good luck, light feet!

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HDHAWK 9/24/2010 9:17AM

    I'll be thinking of you tomorrow when you're doing your first 5k. What an accomplishment it will be! emoticon

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JPRICE217 9/24/2010 9:12AM

    emoticon5k here you come. I am not even ready to start running yet. But you are and doing geat.

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DOLLBABE56 9/24/2010 9:06AM

    I'll be there with you in spirit! Keep on runnin'!!! emoticon

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Job Interviewing Part 2: Creating Value

Thursday, September 23, 2010


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTFOXXY 9/30/2010 7:54PM

    emoticon for these two blogs. I am not looking for work, but I am constantly looking for ways to prove myself relevant. I will be reevaluating my resume and my productivity.


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ANEPANALIPTI 9/27/2010 9:12AM

    I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog. You. are. awesome. THANK YOU! :-) :-) :-)

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 9/24/2010 8:41AM

    To me, having the ability to value yourself is not only helpful in my spark journey, but necessary. TY for posting these. My best friend got laid off and has been diligently looking for work but is not having much success. I am sending her these links. I think she will find them very helpful.

Thank you for this beautiful gift, John!

Good luck tomorrow!


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_COSMOPAULATAN_ 9/24/2010 6:32AM

    Great blog. Straight shooting, love it. I love your story about upstate NY... you are wise! Living in upstate was miserable :)

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MARCYNA 9/24/2010 4:49AM

    I'm sure this video blog is helping so many people, including me.
Now I am thinking about how to create value in my own life. I'm quite tired of being considered worthless in my workplace.
Love and know I appreciate all this emoticon emoticon

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DANCING4UJESUS 9/23/2010 6:31PM

    Thanks john. I'm glad that you do like helping people and I feel blessed that you took the time out to share with us. I will be able to take this advice and use it in the future. Have a great day emoticon emoticon

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KATRIONAH 9/23/2010 2:13PM

    I thank you for both blogs. Couldn't come at a better time for my family. In fact, I had my son listen. Lots of good advice. And, being you are an interviewer , it helps understand what goes on in these cases better. FOR this I thank you.

AND...yes, my friend John, YOU are good at helping people. It is your gift. Your talents are helping me and others in ways you probably can't imagine. I appreciate it. I hope you have a wonderful day.....Karen emoticon

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CATHERINEL66 9/23/2010 1:18PM

    Thanks for this! I would love one about public speaking, either for larger groups, or even presenting a compelling case to a small audience. That's my selfish wish list if you're taking requests :)

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SMOCKON 9/23/2010 12:16PM

    I'm not looking for a job at the moment, but these last two blogs are making me think about my value as a person, mother, wife, and employee. This is important for me right now because I think my inability to see myself as "good" at any of those things is contributing to my overeating and general level of anxiety. Thanks, John!

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SHEENADEE 9/23/2010 12:13PM

I found you by seeing that a Spark friend had posted to your blog (thanks Dollbabe56). I found your video advice very relevant and very helpful. Thanks.

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DOLLBABE56 9/23/2010 11:31AM

    These past two blogs couldn't have come at a better time for me. Thanks John, I believe this focus is going to help.

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Job Interviewing: Some Tips That Might Help Part One

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I spent the day interviewing candidates for one of my clients. Here are some tips that might help

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCYNA 9/24/2010 4:40AM

    Hey John....thanks!!!It's so interesting, in the past I worked for a recruiting agency & interviewed people so I'm quite interested in the tricks of the trade.I am also thinking about a perspective new job and I think I need to follow your prescriptions.... emoticon emoticon

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SHEENADEE 9/23/2010 12:24PM


Great advice. I'm not currently looking for a job; but, can see how I might apply your advice even at my current place of employment as I consider lateral movement. Thanks.

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JODI0155 9/22/2010 11:45PM

    I really liked your blog!!!! It was one of the most informative blogs ever. I appreciate that you're putting your view as an interviewer. Its so great to know what you guys are thinking and what you want to hear.
Thanks and cant wait for part two.

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DOLLBABE56 9/22/2010 7:47PM

    That is great advice. I never feel like I do well at interviews. Or should I say that I "usually" do well until the end of the interview - not good at the closing/ending. If that makes any sense.

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CINDYMCD1 9/22/2010 7:21PM

    Thanks John! I took notes for my daughter because you're right.. they don't teach people practically how to interview for a job! Great tips!

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TEACHING1ST 9/22/2010 6:51PM

    John, you did so many people a great service with this! I'll bet it was a very interesting day.

My husband was once asked to'coach' our daughter's college friend's husband who was applying for a banking job. When asked what the young man saw himself doing in 5 years, he replied, "Oh, I think I'll have YOUR job by then!" NOT a good answer, lol. He also said he only wanted the entry level position for about 6-9 months. Then he intended to leave that bank and find a 'better' job. My husband was appalled....this kid was over an hour late and actually asked to go get something to eat since he'd had a late night and just got get the drift.

I wish good things to come from what you have said today! It's good, solid advice that could really help a lot of our SP friends! Thanks for doing this.


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KT-NICHOLS-13 9/22/2010 6:26PM

    The first V-blog that I sat and took notes! And, I chuckled at your comment about not having a job may cause you to emotionally eat and get fat again - that was funny, likely true but very funny. I've been at my primary job for about 9 years and my secondary job for 14 years, not looking to change anytime soon. However, I like to keep my options open and educate myself as I go. Thanks for the education today! I'll be waiting for part 2 with my notepad and pen.

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MISTYLEE410 9/22/2010 6:15PM

    Thank you for posting this!!
I have a job interview tomorrow morning and this has given me some great tips on the do's and dont's.
thanks again

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KSGROTHE 9/22/2010 5:59PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

I really need to hear this! I may be interviewing for jobs very soon, both internal to my company and probably outside the company as well! I hate interviewing because I feel like I am terrible at selling myself. I am pretty good at being myself and being honest, I think, but explaining why I am the best person for a position is difficult. Perhaps I am too modest.

Anyway, I am looking forward to you next installation(s) of interviewing tips!

- Karen

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DANCING4UJESUS 9/22/2010 5:51PM

    Hey thanks for the tips john. I am in school right now taking medical coding and billing and then I plan on continuing my education in healthcare management. Its a competitive field so I appreciate you taking the time to share with us here on spark. God bless and have a great day.
Paula emoticon

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Week Four Challenge: My Anthem

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"People, people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEACHING1ST 9/22/2010 6:54PM

    I'm so proud of your 5K run and happy to be one of your Spark Friends (but not a runner!!) Good luck. "No man is an man stands alone..."


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HAPPY_ONE 9/22/2010 12:01AM

    First time of me seeing your vlog and you are amazing. I totally agree with you. We learn and gain strength from the people around us and you have definately learned something from you sir.
Best of luck on your run, you will do amazing.
I wish you Happiness


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MSCOCOPUFFS01 9/21/2010 3:42PM

    GREAT vlog!! I am in total agreement!

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DEE_DEE1972 9/21/2010 1:36PM

    John, I did not know this song and I just looked it up (thanks, youtube!)... Thank you, is all I can say.

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JBABY27 9/21/2010 11:57AM

    this gave me chills. keep it up!

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IMOJANE 9/21/2010 11:56AM

    What a wonderful, considerate vlog. I think it's amazing that you bring the list of names with you. I feel very lucky for finding this site and finding all these people who motivate me to be better and challenge myself and to love myself. And as you say, you run and you do those things for other people, not just for yourself.
Beautiful mind, beautiful words.
Thanks for that

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DIASTER 9/21/2010 11:52AM

  We are all so lucky!. Thanks for the reminder.

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ISHIIGIRL 9/21/2010 11:51AM

    Love this anthem! You will do great at your 5K! and I am lucky you are one of my people! on a side note, you should always wear green!!! Brings out your beautiful eyes! Have a great day!!

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DEVORA4 9/21/2010 10:59AM

  I agree with Barbara Streisand and you,

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DOLLBABE56 9/21/2010 10:59AM

    Awwwwwe, that is so nice! I need you too! I need all of my Spark Friends!

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It's Okay to Be Scared......... Just Deal With It!!! : Four Days and Counting

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I was stretching on the living room floor this morning, getting ready to take my morning walk, when sudden;y there was this very cold feeling in the pit of my stomach. I believe in popular parlance it's called "fear." Conventional wisdom tells us that the very moment someone tells us they are scared we are to quickly respond with "Oh, there is no need to be scared. You will do just fine." See, if you let me be scared then there is the possibility that you could be scared and then you'd have to acknowledge it. Best to pooh-pooh our fears.

I run my first 5K Saturday. I am prepared physically, I am preparing mentally. I found out this morning I am not well prepared emotionally. I was scared.

I got fat by not facing my fears. I stuffed them, hid them, denied them, made light of them. I ate them away.

On May 8, 2010 Joan and I walked in a 5K. Overcome by middle aged foolishness or caught up in the crowd I ran the last one eight mile or so. I felt good. The next morning I walked three miles and the following Monday I downloaded the pod casts for the C25K training program. I began to run. I was comfortable running because I couldn't ever envision me running any farther than fifteen feet and by the way; that 5K might as well have been ten years away. It didn't register on the radar. This Saturday, four short days away, I run the 5K. Somewhere in that mix I went from running to being a runner.

I laid on the living room floor, scared. I got up and started my walk and decided to figure out what I was scared of before the walk was over. It didn't take long. I was scared of success. Once i complete this first 5K I have to set another goal, and then another one and suddenly in territory I never dreamed of being in. It's scary. I can stand up in front of five hundred people and talk for an hour and shake it off as fun. I can run around the neighborhood and listen to my I pod with no fear. Saturday morning I am going to run with a whole bunch of other people with a whole bunch more people watching. I am not scared of tripping and falling, that might be a blessing. I was scared of doing it well and forcing myself into a new comfort zone.

I realized too, that this weight plateau I reached had nothing at all to do with my body adjusting. It had to do with my mind and soul being petrified of having to live in the light. It has to do with John wanting to Talk the talk but not always walk the walk.

It's okay to be scared as long as you deal with it and deal with it as soon as possible. I ended my walk with a grin. I learned something new about me.

Now I am ready emotionally. I'm going to run Saturday because right now, it's what I know how to do.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEREKCSIMMONS 9/22/2010 2:29PM

    Amen brother. I don't know how many times I've told my scouts "bravery has nothing to do with not being scared and everything to do with how you face it." Easy words to say and hard words to swallow sometimes. I've recently had the greiving conversation that bugmama42 references. Uncomfortable but with the effort none the less.

Have a great race and I look forward to hearing about your next goal!

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HLPRATT 9/22/2010 12:33PM

    Great blog. I don't think many people acknowledge a fear of success

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BUGMAMA42 9/21/2010 11:25PM

    One of my "light bulb" moments early on in my journey came from a seemingly innocent question asked by someone on the sidelines of my life: "Do you ever grieve the old you?" Talk about Pandora's box! It made me think a LOT about just the sort of stuff you've blogged. Very success-related stuff. And yup, anything uncomfortable in my old life, the old me would have stuffed away with food to make me comatose and less vulnerable to the rawness of life. You can do this. Don't worry about the next goal. Enjoy reaching THIS one! This is a journey worth experiencing COMPLETELY!!!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 9/21/2010 10:13PM

    You better be ready, John. I don't want to have to come and drag you out of the house kicking and screaming. LOL.

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CJWORDPLAY 9/21/2010 10:01PM

    Wow! Did I need to hear this today. You spoke right to what I've been feeling.
Sounds silly when I write it down - but ---- I've realized this program works for me.
I really could succeed. Oh, my! Then what will I do? I'm seeing serious change - big unknowns coming up and - that old primitive part of my brain has been shouting, "Whoa!"

Thanks for writing about this. I'm encouraged by how you recognized and processed your fear and found your own way to cope. I know I'll get through it too.

CJ emoticon

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    I'm running a 5k Saturday as well and i'm mentally psyching myself out. I've done several races before so I know what to expect but this one somehow seems different. This will be my first race since my back surgery in May and I feel SCARED to death. I know you'll do great. This is what you've been training for.. and it all comes down to this... YOU ARE prepared, and emoticon

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LADYROSE 9/21/2010 5:59PM

    "I realized too, that this weight plateau I reached had nothing at all to do with my body adjusting. It had to do with my mind and soul being petrified of having to live in the light."

A-freakin-MEN!! So many times I've been stopped from doing something because I'm gripped by fear... what am I afraid of? Most times it's nothing more than _having an experience_ That's it.

And, through out all the 60+ pounds of learning I've gone through, fear does more than stop us from having exeriences - the body takes it as a "stop the presses" moment. It literally holds on to everything - brain says, "we're tense, we must be getting ready to run for our lives, better hold on to everything we've got."

We relax, brain says, "what's all this stuff? we don't need it... release the fat!"

ok, not quite so fun as that, but you get the idea.

Rock the 5K and embrace the fear and the experience at the same time!!!

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KSGROTHE 9/21/2010 5:19PM

    emoticon for being so honest in sharing with us about your fear!

I, too, fear success, so much so that many times I don't do what I need to do. I procrastinate. Thank you for saying that it's OK to be scared.

Good luck on your race! I'm sure you'll do great! emoticon

- Karen

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WAUSUP 9/21/2010 4:34PM

    Use that fear in a positive way. Fear can either stop us or motivate and energize us. Stick with the motivation and energy. You're going to do great.

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EDWINA172 9/21/2010 3:33PM

    I was scared when I ran my first race. I am scared with every race. I believe that if I do something enough, eventually I won't be scared anymore. I'm scared of my goals, but that is a good thing. We need to travel outside of our comfort zones. We can't become who we need by staying who we are.

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CATHERINEL66 9/21/2010 1:50PM

    Oh, no, you'll have to set another goal!! I am laughing about this. THERE's the real reason! Next thing you know, you'll be running the Freeway to Something Really Huge program!

I hear you on stuffing feelings .... apparently I stuffed 40 lbs of stress and drama. I'm happy to be unloaded of most of it, and happy you're not stuffing anymore either!

Let's hear it for non-stuffers! Whoo hoo!

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ELYMWX 9/21/2010 12:15PM

    Just remember; everyone else running with you is facing or has faced their own similar fears, and you are not alone. Enjoy the run.

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ISHIIGIRL 9/21/2010 11:55AM

    It is normal to be a little nervous and anxious whenever we try something for the first time. It is ok to be afraid of succeeding. Just acknowledging your fear has given you victory over it. Only you can determine what the next step after the 5K will be, so don't let that fear paralyze you. Keep on keeping on! and don't psych yourself out.

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    Excellent blog. I can totally relate to the fear. Awesome job pushing through it. You're going to do great this weekend. Good luck! Can't wait to hear about it.

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DOLLBABE56 9/21/2010 10:53AM

    Well shoot John, I'd be scared too! And I completely know where you are coming from. But, you have knowledge of the course, and the ability to run it. (which I will say again, was very smart of you to drive it before you came home)

Question: Will you use you ipod when you run the race? or go with the excitement of the race? I would probably be tempted to use my ipod, just to help me focus, but that is where I am in the training right now. I depend on it.

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STORMTMB 9/21/2010 10:47AM

    You have faced many fears already and found SUCCESS!!! You will do it again Saturday, despite the knot in your stomach.

Re-read your title... stick wtih being sacred! God is with you, today and every day including through your 5K. Freudian slip? Hmmm.

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SMOCKON 9/21/2010 10:36AM

    You may have to set another goal after running this 5K, but it doesn't have to be a 10K or an ironman competition. You don't have to outdo yourself with each new goal. You just need to have a new goal, not a bigger one. I look forward to seeing a photo of you after you cross the finish line!

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DEWBERRYJAMIE 9/21/2010 10:30AM

    Awesome post John!!! You go run on Saturday, and run with your chin high, and run proud!!

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BJW-FARMGIRL 9/21/2010 10:27AM

    You go, John!

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ANDARIEL 9/21/2010 10:15AM

    I've been struggling with the whole fear thing myself this week. How odd that something as good as success could be so terrifying at times. It's nice to know I'm not alone in my worries, or in the desire to overcome them.

Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end!

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