Yogi Berra said, “Half this game is 90% mental.” Running is the epitome of that. Yes. Training for a marathon and seeing it through is physically exhausting and a true physical feat. But, even more challenging is the mental aspect.
You could have running partners or run by yoursellf but running is a battle with yourself. More importantly, your mind and your motivation.
It’s easy to start out motivated. Whenever we set a new goal for ourselves, motivation is high. It’s easy to convince ourselves that we can keep this pace and this motivation and this excitement.
A few weeks later, that motivation starts to fade. Your friends want to go out, you really want that second or third glass of wine or you have a vacation coming up.
The motivation starts to fade away and the excuses start to show through. You can skip this one run. Your leg hurts, take a week off.
The next thing you know the excuses have taken over and your off your game.
Dopey Challenge 2022 is my eighth and final marathon. I thought for the longest time this was my seventh marathon. On a long run, I started thinking about it and going through each race in my mind. It is, in fact, my eighth. When I started training I said, this might be my last one. Now, as we come up on only two more Sunday’s before the big day, I am quite sure this is my final.
Now! Let’s not go doing blood vows on this. I reserve the right to do another one. Husband! I know you are reading this and just spit out your coffee but someday I might, just might decide to do another one… sorry.
Running has quite literally saved my life. I started running because my friends were doing it in Middle School. I hated it. will never forget the first time I ran a mile without walking and I quite literally cried the entire time. My coach laughed at me…. I laugh at me now too.
In High School, I went from a size 10 to a size 2. I didn’t do it in the healthiest way. I basically stopped eating but this began my addiction to fitness. Once I lost the weight I started running to keep it off. Without all those extra pounds running was easier. It was fun. It was a way for me to focus my need for control on that and not my anorexia. I became stronger and healthier and began to love my body for the first and only time in my life.
Running was my outlet. I ran for fun and started doing small races. I loved it. Even though I played sports and was very competitive I still ran.
In college, I gained weight back even though I was an athlete and also ran and lifted weights every day. This led me to start purging.
I first became bulimic when I was 22 years old. Now, over 15 years later, I still struggle with it everyday. Running became a lifeline for me and it was only when I started training for my first marathon was I able to gain a semblance of control over my disease.
You can read all about my journey with my eating disorder HERE.
My first marathon was a dream. The guy I was dating at the time and I decided we wanted to do something together that was cheap. Train for a marathon. Our relationship didn’t last the training and it turns out the loser didn’t even run it! But I did! It was my first and fastest marathon. I ran a 4:19 and even PR’d my half marathon time during the first half of the race. It was amazing.
I will never forget mile 16 when I wanted to die and questioned every life choice I had ever made. Then I hit mile 20 and I remember thinking. “I can’t wait to do another one of these.”
My sixth marathon was after my husband and I started dating. It was the Aspen marathon. The most beautiful marathon I’ve ever done. Also my worst. It took me 6 hours. I was one of the last people to finish. But I finished! I wasn’t mentally prepared for this race. I had lost my job, my roomate and I were fighting, I was a wreck emotionally and it showed on race day.
When I decided to do Dopey Challenge for the first time in 2021 I was terrified but excited. I hadn’t been running long distances for so long but it was during quarantine and quite honestly it got me through that year and I loved every minute of training. Okay, not every minute.
I was around the 14 or 15 mile long run weeks and I was hurting. I cried. I wanted to quit. Then next weekend it happened. It became easier. I was mentally able to push through the runs and feel good mentally and physically. It’s one of my favorite parts of the training process.
When your brain and body decide to set aside their differences and work together and you can just go.
That hasn’t been the case this time around. Everything hurts after each 20+ mile run. Although of course it has gotten easier, this training has just never clicked for me. Thus why my body and I have decided this is the final one.
I will always be a runner. I love running but that’s another reason why I want this to be the end of 26.2’s for me. I want to enjoy running again. I want to like it. I don’t like anything about it right now.
Whether you are training for your first or your 50th, the excitement, the nerves and the rush never fade. Enjoy the process and get out of your head.
You’ve got this.