Marathon Challenge



Xenia Johnson 39
Child Psychiatrist

Summer 2006 Profile

Xenia calls herself, somewhat disparagingly, an "aging sedentary physician." As a teenager, she always wondered whether she might have a natural aptitude to run track, but she never tested it out. Now about to turn 40, Xenia feels that there is no time like the present to push herself toward a lifetime goal—completing a marathon. Running the Boston Marathon, one of the toughest courses in the world, would make hitting the goal even sweeter.

Xenia's Race Results & Update

Official Time/Pace
6hrs. 17min./14:23 minutes per mile

Are you still running, four months later?
Yes. I am still running. I was running three to five times a week, three to five miles each time and occasionally joined by friends or coworkers. However, currently I am training to run the BAA half marathon in October so my mileage is increasing weekly. Although my body feels like each mile is a new mile, I know within me that it's nothing that I haven't done before.

What else has stayed with you?
I now very rarely miss breakfast and, most days, make it oatmeal with orange juice. I also monitor my fluid intake carefully. Before the marathon I had a hard time downing one 16-oz glass of water a day. Now, I have one at breakfast, one at lunch, one after the gym, and often times a bit more. I am very proud that water has become a staple for me. I knew that the risk of hypertension and diabetes would be increased significantly without good water intake.

Also, I have an ongoing quest for better time management. I realized from the training that I was not using my time wisely, and what I thought was a lack of time was nothing but a lack of planning. So not only do I look to plan my workout schedule, but I plan my meals, my social time, and my rest time.

What it all meant
The marathon left me with a sense of ownership. I own more of my dreams now, instead of thinking that they were left to chance. I have broadened the possibilities I consider. I now think with some discipline, commitment, and good positive self-talk, I can make the impossible possible. I have narrowed the gap between me and my most beloved role models, and I feel the sky is the limit.

I am thrilled at how many people I know have started to add exercise to their lifestyle since I finished the marathon. Close friends, patients, and family all tell me that they are now engaging in some form of physical fitness. It is really exciting. I think that witnessing someone else face a challenge, and overcome it, gave many others the courage to shake off the pretense of exercise only being for the young or the thin. They can see it as a sign of strength for anyone who takes it on. I think that the industry of fitness has lost the focus of health, and it keeps many people from taking part because they aren't a certain body type, class status, or race. I have seen how my getting out to run has encouraged others to brave the myths of fitness and work to become healthy.

"Here are some who like to run. They run for fun in the hot, hot sun. Oh me! Oh my! Oh me! Oh my! What a lot of funny things go by."
—Dr. Seuss

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