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" Soaring Past Our Limitations": An Inspirational story about two staff in the Counseling Center
It started out as an idea that blossomed into a tremendous feat of sheer will, self - discipline and determination. Two psychologists supporting and challenging each other to take on a marathon and a half marathon. They persevered and completed this amazing feat… an accomplishment to be sure and an inspirational story for all of us.
Was it the long hours of training, the healthy lifestyle changes, the late night runs after hours of working all day… what exactly did it take for two regular hard working people to complete this feat?
When asked, Dr. Rowena Ramnath stated, "About three weeks before the half marathon, I was running and I ran passed the seventh mile and I thought to myself I could keep going. That was the moment I thought I would be able to complete the half marathon. In three weeks I brought myself from seven miles to thirteen."
When asked about her inspiration, Dr Ramnath replied, "I refused to be defeated by my own body. Every time I run it is a fight with my own body and I overcome any mental blocks I have."
When asked what she would like to say to help inspire others, she replied, "I would like to tell them not to be afraid and to set their goals high and not be discouraged by any limitations they might have."
Dr Ramnath went on to share that the half marathon was so exciting and charged. "I was nervous and scared and excited and hopeful at the beginning. During the race I kept telling myself, "I can do this. I have done this. I kept aware of what my training involved and I would stop and get Gatorade. At mile nine and ten and eleven I kept looking for Gatorade. Physically I was okay. I wasn't pushing myself too far. During the first half of the half- marathon I ran a 12 minute per mile pace and was mindful of my surroundings. In the second half of the half –marathon, I wasn't pushing myself. I was taking in the experience and I created challenges for myself along the way. I would tell myself things like, I am going to pass this person and I would pass them. If they later started to pass me I would say oh no and I would push myself. At some point I started feeling free. Freedom from physical limitations and it became pretty much spiritual at that point. I felt pure and utter freedom. I transitioned from being bound by hardship and negativity. I just soared passed any physical limitation."
When asked what else she would like to share with others, Dr Ramnath stated, "Don't believe in limitations. Exceed your limitations. Use them as a sign that you have goals to overcome. Use your limitations as goals to overcome."
When asked when he realized that he was going to run a marathon, Dr Jose Sandoval stated, "I started thinking about running the marathon more than a year ago. I first started running in August of 2009. I started out running what I could. I used to do martial arts and cross training so I was able to do 3 or 4 miles. I did my first race which was a 10 K Turkey Trot. Later I did another 10 K and I liked it a lot. I eventually did the Miami Beach half marathon in March of 2010. My first ten mile run was a huge ordeal. I knew I needed to find good footwear. It was around this time that I started to think realistically about running the marathon. It became almost an obsession. I was training and adding distance and in the summer of 2010 I ran a long run of 13- 15 miles and I did my first 20 mile run. Many days I didn't feel like running or had a minor injury. I pushed forward. I was so focused. I pushed through it and ran."
When asked about the mental part, Dr Sandoval replied, "The challenge and the mental part actually helped me cope with life. Life is cool but quite challenging at times. Running has been a key part of coping with all of that. Since running, I have been in a really great mood. To stay focused I would remind myself that I want to do this because this is about my goal in a month or that I was going to finish the marathon next week."
About the actual marathon, Dr Sandoval shared, "It was an exciting experience and a massive crowd. I felt like I was in a huge sardine can of 20,000. It took 8 minutes to actually cross to start. I was doing well at first running ten minute mile pace for the first twenty miles. I felt some pain in my knees from an injury while training (dog bumped into him and later where he slammed into a car) where my knees were bruised. I had a knee brace. I hit the wall after 20 miles. I felt like I didn't have enough fuel or didn't eat enough carbs. My mind and lungs were saying yes but my legs were saying no. It took me an hour and forty minutes to do the last 6 miles. I finished the marathon and learned that I need to eat more carbs and build up my glycogen. I am planning on running the half marathon in Miami Beach on March 6th."
When asked what else he would like to convey, Dr Sandoval stated, "for me and for anybody what can help is visualizing and focusing on the end result. I saw myself crossing the finish line or running across mile 25. Focus on what you want and what the goal is and it will help you no matter what situation you are facing."
Dr Sandoval reminds us all of an inspiring Quote by Theodore Roosevelt where he stated, "Do what you can with what you have with where you are."
Congratulations to our colleagues Dr. Ramnath and Dr. Sandoval. Thank you to Dr. Teresa Finch for writing the story of their success.