Just keep going. Keep moving. Don't stop.
This is what I told myself throughout the San Jose Rock and Roll half-marathon on Sunday.
The race was harder than expected. I picked up a scratchy throat two days before the race and I felt more tired than usual as the race started.
The first few miles I felt strong, but about mile six I began to worry. My energy level was lower than I had hoped. That's when the doubts began to slip into my mind.
Would I be able to run my personal best, as planned? Would I fail to meet the expectations that I had set for myself?
That's when I began to tell myself, "just keep going."
Well, I kept going. And going. At the 12-mile mark I knew that my personal record was possible, but it was going to be close. When I hit the 13-mile marker and could see the finish line, I knew I was going to have to sprint to the finish to make my goal. Somehow I was able to muster the energy to pick up the pace, and I crossed the finish line 20 seconds below my PR. I was exhausted, relieved and exhilarated.
I did it.
If there's anything I've learned from my five half-marathons and one full marathon, it's that you simply have to endure.
You have to overcome the discomfort, the fear, the self-doubt and just keep going.
I hope that my experience will help motivate you to keep going, too. No matter what your mode of fitness running, walking, cycling or something else my words of advice are simple: Just keep going. You'll be surprised how far you can go.
On Sunday my body took me 13.1 miles faster than it ever has before. And I'm not done, yet. I'm going to keep running, keep moving. I will not stop.
Just keep going.
In the days before the race, after a training session on the treadmill at my gym, a man recognized me as the guy who writes the fitness column in The Bee. He said it helped him stay motivated.
I was honored, humbled and motivated to keep this going. If documenting my experiences helps motivate just one person to continue his or her fitness journey, then writing this column is worthwhile.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said "Life is a journey, not a destination."
But that's not necessarily true about fitness. The journey is great, yes. But it's the destination being fit and healthy that makes all of the effort worthwhile.
If you are on your own journey, I hope you take time to enjoy it. But I think you will really enjoy the destination living life in a fit, healthy way.
Reach Jim Silva at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @mission26point22