Thursday, July 25, 2013

From Here to There - Part IV

I do believe that we have finally reached the final post for From Here to There - (sub-titled) My Crazy Journey to a Full Marathon. Previously I talked about my plan to get back to running following injury, getting my weight to a better place, and then getting my body in tip-top shape. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle, but certainly not the LEAST piece of it - MY MIND. Sometimes the space between our ears is the hardest part to get in shape. But there are ways to exercise it and prepare it for difficult journeys and hard roads if you work at it just like you work at anything else that is challenging. Well, that's what I'm going to attempt to convince myself of anyways! ;-)

I have this magnet on the back of my car and it really sums it all up quite nicely:

You see, running truly is mental so much of the time. When you are out there for what seems like days and you still have miles to go before you are back home is usually the BRAIN that decides how easy or hard it is going to be for you! When you are in a race and your body says "no way", it is up to your brain to say "we got this - keep going". And many times when you want to quit, it is your brain that says "go ahead, you're done." So in other words, your brain could really make or break your distance running efforts! Yes, you need your body to be along for the ride as far as physically capable and injury free, but when you want to give up, that's when the mental game begins.

I remember during my first half marathon back in November 2010 ( long ago already!) I was completely and totally mentally unprepared for the rigors of a race at that distance. Granted, I was somewhat physically unprepared too, but the physical isn't what held me back or caused the most anguish. After all, I wasn't in pain, I was just really, really unhappy about where I was and what I was going through. I remember being at Mile 7 and just thinking "I don't want to do this anymore". I phoned a friend - alright, so I sent a text seeing as this is the 21st century and all - and told her "I want to QUIT". She talked me down from the ledge and I slogged along, eventually finishing, but my mental game never got back to where I was enjoying myself, or at the very least, was appreciating what I was in the midst of accomplishing. My mind truly beat me that day.

That could NOT be more true more often than not!!
I know that marathon training is going to be challenging, to say the least. It is going to take a lot of preparation; both mental and physical. I would be shortchanging myself if all I focused on were the physical aspects. There are days that I'm going to wake up and just not want to do what is on the plan. 

It's going to take the mental side of this training to remind myself that I'm doing these crazy training runs because I WANT TO! Nobody is making me do this. I am doing it because I want to do it. I am looking forward to the challenge. I am looking forward to being able to say I did it. I may not always remember that in the moment, but if I'm training my brain the same way I'm training my body I will lace up and remember why I love the run. When I line up on race day will I feel ready? Probably not. 

I absolutely know in the deepest parts of my soul  that there will be times during the marathon that I want to quit. That there will be training runs that I want to cut short. There will be workouts I want to skip. There will be foam rolling and ice baths I don't want to endure. I know this with every fiber of my being. 

What I also know is that on those days when I let my brain decide to give up without making every effort to push through the mental barrier first, that those are the days that will come back to haunt me because those were the days that I had opportunity knocking - the opportunity to show what I'm made of. The opportunity to prove that I can do it even when it isn't "easy". The opportunity to turn my cant's into cans and my dreams into plans.

You know what I also know? I know that I most certainly can complete a marathon. I also know that I can enjoy myself while I'm doing it. Oh no, not the kind of enjoyment you get when you see your grand baby for the first time or hear your child offer true gratitude for the sacrifices you made while raising them. It may not be that kind of enjoyment. But it is the enjoyment of knowing that there is a finish line within your reach and that if you keep going you will have achieved something special. Mentally I know this. Just make sure I remember it when I'm in the thick of training, mmmkay? 

Keep going, friends. Keep going.

For the times when my brain is not on board with the plan, I am a short hop, skip and a click away from more motivation than a girl could ask for: My Pinterest Board - Motivation to Move where all these images and more reside.


  1. I agree with SATW!! Now, to be totally fair. I think that you were better prepared for the half than you present. That was a HELLISH half marathon and you can't be blamed for wanting to quit. We ALL wanted to quit. I think Amby, Hal and Kara all would have wanted to quit. Who wants to run for 7 miles getting pelted with sand? Nobody signed up to be sandblasted during a race, on a hot day with not enough water stops and even fewer potty stops was bad, really, really bad-lol. Time has dulled it only a little-lol. Still, I'm totally with you on the mental aspect and I've really got to get over my personal problems with the mental aspect and am taking steps. You are going to rock your marathon!!