I am late to the party by nine days but I have decided to participate in the WEGO Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge. I plan to focus on my workouts (running) and my recent diagnosis (celiac disease). I am starting with April 9th, Challenger.

Running half marathons is always a challenge for me. It is all mental, all self-confidence. I know I can do them, even without a lot of training but for some reason when I step up to the starting line I struggle.

Suddenly I’ve forgotten how hard I’ve worked and how I’ve done this several times. 13.1 miles just seems so daunting at mile zero.

For me the first two to three miles are torture; I have to tell myself to slow down and keep going because it will get better. And it always does. There have been times I struggle later in a race too. When that happens I tell myself just finish this mile or get to the aid station and you can take a walk break. I often find myself able to keep running when I hit the goal.

One of my biggest helpers is to mentally break the race down into smaller portions. It’s just two 5 mile segments. I can run 5 miles. Once I hit those two 5 mile section all that’s left is a 5k. 3.1 miles. Easy peasy.

Running is all about tricking your brain. I find it helps me of I talk myself through races. Finishing the race is so much easier if I keep telling myself how easy two miles is or how it’s less than 1.5 miles to go. I know I can complete these distances. I do them all the time. 13.1 doesn’t look so tough when you think of it as shorter runs.

Even though 13.1 can still intimidate me I have signed up for a marathon. Yes, 262 miles. I’m nervous as hell but I want to know if I can do this. I know the challenge will be convincing my brain. I haven’t figured out how to break down the distance, two halfs seems a bit much. During training I will tell myself I can do it. I will tell myself I can do 13.1 so why not 26.2? It’s only four 5 milers and a 10k. Easy peasy, right?

Today’s prompt was:

Share about a time you had to overcome a daunting challenge. What words of encouragement would you share with others who find themselves facing similar difficulty?



Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.