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Mar 29, 2021

Encourage Yourself Hush the Hater in You and Silence The Self-Sabotage

By: Danielle Barnes / @dannibsays (IG) @dannib413 (Twitter)
I had a goal to run my first 5K in April 2020. Like everything else in 2020, the race was canceled. Quietly, I was relieved because I was certain I wouldn’t have been able to finish. I snapped a selfie in my race jacket while holding my race bib but refused to wear the medal until I earned it. I placed the bib and medal on the top shelf of my closet where they remain almost a year later.

My running journey began in July 2019, three months after my 50th birthday and after a weekend celebration for my bestie’s 50th. She’s been crushing it on the pavement since 2011 and has run countless races, including a Ragnar and a triathlon. I always cheered her on from the sidelines, but I never had any interest in running. In fact, I always said, “I can’t run.” To which she always followed with, “Yes, you can.” Shortly after the birthday shenanigans, I joined BGR!, was properly fitted for a new pair of running shoes, and downloaded an app aimed at helping me get 5K ready in nine weeks. I was literally off to the races, and my friend was there encouraging me every step of the way. Halfway through the training plan, I suffered from the horrific pain ofshin splints. Committed to staying active, I started hiking to increase my endurance. Shortly after I started hiking, I fell ill with bronchitis. I felt defeated and the volume of the self-sabotage talk was deafening. “You can’t run,” I told myself over and over again.


When gyms and state parks closed at the height of the pandemic, I took my frustrations to the street, literally. I walked 8-10 miles/week around my neighborhood. I took a strength training class specifically for runners and last fall, I enrolled in an 8-week 5K training. I’d been doing a 3:1 run/walk, but on that last training day, I ran 2.2 miles nonstop. I was on a high that day and truly felt a sense of accomplishment. I’ve completed the full 3.1 miles since then, but the struggle is real.
Maybe you’ve recently been inspired to run or walk. Or maybe like me you’ve been at it for a while now. Your body has tested you in ways you’ve never imagined. The hater in you has shown up and shown out on occasion yet here you are, feeling strong, looking hella good and running farther than you ever have in your life. Wherever you are, allow yourself some grace. Your journey won’t be the same as the woman’s next to you or the woman’s next to her.  Sure, having friends to support and encourage you is amazing, necessary even, but let’s remember to encourage ourselves. Hush the hater in you and take your rightful place as EIC (Encourager In Chief) of you! See you out on the pavement!

Danielle Barnes is a freelance writer based in Montclair, NJ. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from Wayne State University. Her superpower is her ability to captivate audiences with her words whether it’s in person or on paper. Danielle enjoys devouring a good book, volunteering for causes she’s passionate about, staying active and traveling the globe to see the world in all its glory.