Less than 2 weeks! In less than 2 weeks I will be done. Okay maybe not done but my 5th marathon will be in the books (I am optimistic that it will be a success).
I have now almost completed training for 5 marathons and it is true if you want to change your life train for a marathon. Each one has been different. My spring marathon I completed during the snowiest winter ever, completing four 20 miler runs on a treadmill (needless to say I try to stay a long way away from treadmills for this training plan!).
This summer brought it’s own challenges of relentless heat and humidity which only started to subside last weekend right after I finished my last 20 miler. That’s okay, my hope is that it will not be this hot and humid in Chicago in two weeks.
So this brings me to my quote for today. It’s one of my favorites and something to think about on this wonderful Monday!
Happy Monday! I hope you have a fabulous day!
Today I was standing in line at Walmart and the person in front of me was buying something to eat from the deli. I am assuming it was his dinner. Well his card was declined. He asked the cashier to put the transaction on hold while he went to the ATM to check his account. I was the next customer in line and the cashier was struggling with how to end the previous transaction. That is when I told him to just put his purchase on my tab. The cashier was confused but I said don’t worry about it, I don’t mind paying for it. In fact for me, it was a great opportunity to “pay it forward”.
I’m not saying this to brag and say look at me. I’m more telling you because I felt really good, really Happy after I did this simple thing and then it happened. I was driving home and this person driving almost hit me and then came roaring up and around me honking. I started to get really upset. I was driving with the flow of traffic and I was just the one he chose to pick on. And I let him almost take my happy.
I think there are moments in our day when we let others affect us so much that our once happy moods can change quickly. We give others the power to change our thoughts, our enjoyment. But the good news is, we don’t have to. We have the power to control our thoughts, our reactions to things/events. We have the power to not let someone take our Happy!
Today I just thought about the moment at Walmart and put into perspective that maybe the person driving so crazy needed to be somewhere fast for an emergency (at least I hope it was one because he was driving like it!). No one was going to take my Happy!
No, this is not some special code. These are some very important miles. The first one, 775.5 is the amount of miles I have completed since I signed up to run the OKC marathon again. Some days I can feel all of the 775.5 miles on my body while other days I am in disbelief that I have gone that far. While yet other times I begin to question whether this is even enough. Then I gather my thoughts and just think, what are your expectations this year and how does this compare to last year (which was my very first time to run the marathon)? The answer, it’s a huge difference. I know so much more this year, how to fuel better, I have stronger core than last year, I’m running faster and farther, and this will not be my last marathon (why, because I’m insane but also insane and seeing improvements I like).
The next number, 11.5 miles, is the amount of miles I have left to go before the marathon. So really those are just taper miles which most of them are done kind of slowly just to keep my legs stretched out and get rid of this extra energy. These miles also allow me to think and pace. Practice a little more control because I don’t know about you but I go out fast which is great if you are running a 5K but not so great if you are running a 42K. I have also found that as I run these last few miles, I struggle. I struggle with nerves and side pains and leg aches. But I think this is normal. I always heard that if you have bad dress rehearsals you’ll have a good show. So that is what I’m going for because I really think most of it is nerves, I’m prepared for this.
1670 miles is the amount of miles I have to travel in order to get to the starting line, halfway across the country. I am ready to travel and see my family and friends, I know it will be great to see everyone. As I watched some of the television coverage of the memorial service that happened this past Saturday (April 19) in Oklahoma, I was reminded again why I run. As I watch television each night leading up the Boston Marathon, I am reminded why I run. For me it is for the people who cannot whether they were hurt badly in Boston or Oklahoma, or were killed by the two senseless acts, we are a people who overcome and persevere. I also run for myself. Not to be self-centered, but I run because of how it makes me feel. That feeling of accomplishment as I push through one goal and achieve another, go farther than ever before, do things I never, ever thought I could. I run to get out of my head. As a person who has struggled with past traumas and battled depression, I run for my mental health. Believe it or not running motivates me and refreshes my inner soul.
And finally there is the 26.2 miles that may seem like the end but is really only another step in this running adventure. They say the marathon does not begin at the starting line the day of the race but it starts the day you started running. I didn’t always think I could or would run a marathon but here I am signed up, trained and feeling pretty ready for this next 26.2.
It’s important but sometimes we don’t spend as much time working on it as we do the physical. I’m talking about the mental, the things we tell ourselves, the part that keeps us going when all we want to do is quit.
Yesterday my mental toughness was tested and quite frankly I almost failed (Yippee I didn’t but I was on the edge). As a part of my training it was one of my last long runs (the last one is next weekend) and this was supposed to be good. Well in my mind it was gonna be good. I had the nervous stomach (like a race), I had the restless legs that were aching to get out there, the route was planned out, my pit crew (Dave) was gonna ride along and entertain me as well as fuel me as I went. I also had the doubt that I could actually run 22 miles because it would be my longest distance since last year’s marathon. Sounds like it’s gonna be a rockstar kind of day!
So off we went to the local rail trail. Dave dropped me off to go run a few errands and we were gonna meet up about an hour into the run, which would be perfect because quite frankly biking along side someone is probably hard because I’m not going all that fast! 5 minutes after he left my mental toughness was tested. What I couldn’t see up ahead and around the corner was the fact the rail trail was still iced over. I was thinking “great, now what, I have run or do something for the next hour because although it is 50 degrees, I’m in shorts and Dave won’t be back for a while.” So I did what every crazy runner would do, I kept running, running and hoping that the ice would go away.
Well it went away for about a total of a mile but then it was patchy, slushy, and just overwhelmingly disheartening. I wanted to quit. In my mind when I saw the first two miles on my garmin in the 9’s I started beating myself up. “oh this is great, why are we doing this, is this really gonna help you train?” That is when it hit me, it’s gonna train you mentally! If you can get through this than you can get through the marathon because this is the area you need to work on right now. I’ve spent the last 8 months working on the physical and now as the date gets closer I really need to concentrate on the mental. The mental is what is going to get me across that finish line because physically I’m ready. So I reframed it and thought, okay hips and legs, let’s get the feeling for running for a long time! Guess what, it worked. Especially when I was ice skating for miles 5 and 6 and finally turned around knowing that biking this would be no fun for Dave.
I had to rethink how to get those miles 11 – 22 instead of a somewhat flat run I had to change my mentality to where I had been training on the hilly area that I could keep running to from the rail trail. So back to Devens I went! Nothing like taking on lots of hills after you have taken on the obstacle course of ice. I kept thinking, “you will be stronger for this.”
I’m proud to say that I pushed through the hills and the garmin times that didn’t get much better, but I did it. Physically it was a challenge, but mentally it was a moment of conquering something huge. I wanted to stop about 1000 times and could’ve with some great excuses, but I didn’t. Now I look at my times and I think, if I made it through those obstacles, how nice will be it be to be on a course where really the only obstacles will be other runners and maybe the weather. Because now I’m mentally stronger and I have this run to prove that I can overcome.
This mental toughness is something that can translate into our lives. My work is all mental, teaching others to change their thoughts into more optimistic future oriented thoughts, to strengthen and discover what they are made of and make the most of it. Build up their mental toughness! Mine is on track how about yours? How do you build your toughness? Do you need to or do you have a story of how yours was built?
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