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Monday, August 15, 2011

40 miles, huh?

Yep, 40 miles. One at a time until there are no more.  That is the goal. Cross the finish line in an upright position. Not racing it, just running it.... to finish it.  Why 40? Well, why not?

It is so amazing to me what the human body and MIND are capable of doing.  I remember the first time I watched people coming across the finish line at a marathon.  I was simply amazed at the accomplishment..people running 26.2 miles..a body in motion for 3, or 4 or 5 hours, or more!  It is so great, and simply amazing all at the same time.  All you do is 'tap' and start the body in motion and it just keeps going until you tell it to stop.
Do you think YOU are capable of continuous motion- running or running/walking for 3, or 4 or 5 hours or more? I didn't. Thank you AGAIN Katie Wade, for helping me to see that I was indeed capable of doing just that.  Still, it amazes me every time. The gun goes off, I put one foot forward and just go..and go, and go and go until I reach the finish line.  Five miles, 10 miles, 20 or even 30, it doesn't matter, I just keep moving.
The body, while soo amazing, pales in comparison to the awe-inspiring capabilities of the mind.  What do you think keeps the body moving?? Yep, the mind. Together they ARE the race.  While there is no denying that there is a physical aspect to running/racing and I would never recommend entering a race without proper physical preparations, I do think we forget how important the mind is.  The gun sounds and the brain tells the body to move forward.  It continues moving until the BRAIN tells it to stop (barring a physical injury or impairment).  The feel of the race is also dictated by the mind.
Ever have a run where you just didn't feel great? Maybe your legs felt heavy or you just had a ton of things on your mind. What is different between that run and a run when you felt great or you felt unstoppable? Sure there may have been a small physical difference, but more often than not, I find the biggest difference is mindset.  Here are 2 examples: First, a marathon in which I was angered at the lack of organization and supplies - basically every aspect of the race upset me-right down to the wind and the sun.  All I could focus on was how bad the situation was. Guess what i got more of? Yep, negative feelings.  That race was horrible..or was it? My mindset was horrible.  It was so bad, in fact that I was nervous to run another race and have the same experience.  I knew my training had been great yet my performance was less than stellar. Second scenario - a 50k trail race. The race was actually 26 laps-YES, 26 laps of a 1.2 mile course.    Previous to this I had sworn up and down that I would never run a loop course.  I had run track for years and the thought of running in circles for hours (literally) was not something I wanted to do.  Regardless I entered the race as a few of Team Hot Legs were going anyway.  What the heck I thought, let's see if I can run 31 miles. My outlook going in was one of having fun.  A relaxed 31 mile run with friends.  After who-knows-how-many laps my left knee began to hurt.  I had sprained my left ankle not too long before and this was just another link in the chain that was being affected. It hurt quite a bit and I found myself focusing on it more and more..and guess hurt more and I started to second guess myself.  Thankfully at that moment another thought came racing through my head.  A positive thought. The thoughts about the relaxed fun run I was having with my friends.  I began to focus in on that more and more and before I knew it I was smiling and back to having a happy run.
Looking back on those races is interesting to me..I only remember the bad pieces of the marathon and only remember the good pieces of the trail run.  I KNOW I had positive moments (in the beginning) of the marathon and I KNOW I had negative moments in the trail race..but those were overshadowed by my dominant thoughts and mindset.  What does all of this mean?  Focus on having a great, fun, relaxing experience and you can..regardless of your circumstances.  That is one of the many awe-inspiring capabilities of the mind...
Our mind can be our biggest cheerleader or our biggest enemy..remember, YOU choose which it is.  Tell yourself a positive, powerful story and you will be amazed at what you can achieve. Tell yourself a sad, painful, maimed story and you will never know what you are capable of achieving. The choice is yours.
My choice? 40 miles...see you at the finish


  1. Just so you're aware (and Andrea has pointed out my literally-detail mind lately), at Triple Lakes your mind will be your biggest cheerleader AND biggest enemy at different times throughout the race. Rest assured knowing that the mind is WEAK when compared to what the body can endure.

    And yes, see you at the finish!

  2. I'm hoping maybe Katie and Andrea can be my cheerleaders for the first 26.2 miles : )