There are now four days until the Pocatello Marathon!
At this point, the physical preparation is done. I have done the work. I have done A LOT of work. In this training cycle I have done high mileage weeks, killer track work-outs, and long runs chock full of miles at race pace and faster. I have not skipped a run or a workout (or even a mile). I have run a lot of hills, up and down. I set new PR's at the 5k and at the half-marathon distance. I have stayed healthy. I have seen and felt progress.
At this point there is nothing to be done for my physical fitness before Saturday except to rest, elevate my feet, stay hydrated, eat well, and respect the taper.
But there is plenty I can still do my for mental fitness.
Since I started running, I have be proud of mental toughness, and I have seen it as one of my biggest strengths as a runner. I have gotten out of bed every day to get my runs in, no excuses. I run by myself on almost all of my runs, and always on all of my tough runs/workouts. It is just me, my Garmin, my internal drive, my dreams, and my commitment, out on the roads or the track. I push myself hard, even when no one is watching. I never quit.
Very little sleep? Freezing temps? Rain? Head cold? Family stress? Busy day? I run anyway. I do work hard, and I am proud of that, and at the end of the day I think it will make the difference in my running.
I have always been confident in my running, excited about racing, and had a great mental game for marathons. But somewhere in the Boston Marathon, I got shaken. I know that my 3:37 finish, a Boston Qualifying time in 90 degree heat, was a decent run. I know that the crazy heat that day affected everyone and that for me to PR in those conditions (especially when I had been running in snow the week before) was not realistic. What bothered me though was that somewhere in those final miles - somewhere in between the six times I had to stop with a sick stomach and the times I let myself walk because I was so hot and sick feeling - I felt like I had been mentally defeated. I couldn't push myself any harder. I was not confident. The heat beat me, and I doubted myself.
I tried not to let that seed of doubt plant itself in my head. I tried not to water it or feed it. Despite that, it sprouted. I trained hard after Boston. I had many successful workouts and training runs. I had no reason to doubt myself. I believed that Utah Valley was going to be an awesome race for me, and a huge PR. And yet it didn't happen. High winds, a sore hip that came out of nowhere, and deep down, I think a lack of confidence and mental strength led to my first DNF. Choosing not to push through a race that was going terribly was probably the smart choice (especially with Ragnar Ultra a week later and Pocatello three months later), and yet I hope I never again feel, physically and mentally, the way I felt on the course that day.
So I have been putting a lot of work into my mental fitness, along with my physical fitness. I have read "The Mental Edge" and "Mind Gym", both of which I highly, highly recommend for athletes. Instead of ignoring the sprouted seed of doubt and pretending it wasn't there, I have ripped it out and thrown it away. There is no place for doubt in my mind or my heart.
This week I have been looking over my workouts since Utah Valley, and letting myself SEE and soak in how very much I have accomplished. 95 miles in a week? 20 mile run with 16 miles at race pace or faster? 8x800's on an 18 mile day, with all of the intervals in 2:57 or faster? Yeah, I DID THAT.
I have been reading all of my old race reports and absorbing the excitement, joy, and accomplishment.
I have been thinking about how full of gratitude I am for all of the love, support, and encouragement that I get from Josh and for how amazing he is and how much I love him. To have Josh and my family and friends supporting me, encouraging me, and believing in me is a powerful thing.
I have been so grateful for the love and support I get from my parents, family, and friends.
I have been taking the feelings of nervousness and transforming them into excitement and joy about the opportunity to race this weekend with my Jennifer and other friends.
I have been thinking about how much I truly love to run.
I have also made a list of positive statements, thoughts, mantras, etc. that I have used while running and that give me a mental boost. I have been reading through the list several times throughout the day and will use a few of these at least during the race on Saturday.
Here is the list. (Some are parts of quotes, parts of scriptures, lines from a book, lines from songs, things people have told me, etc. Some I have modified a little.)
- I want to see you fly. (from my sweet Josh)
- Breakthrough!! (Thanks Rick)
- You are built to run fast. (Bart Yasso told me that!)
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
- I am not afraid.
- Be STRONG and COURAGEOUS
- I was born to do this.
- I am ready.
- Your best is good enough.
- Victory lap!
- Heart Power
- The hard work is done.
- Fun turns pressure into pleasure.
- Awake and Alive
- I want it more.
- Be the Dream
- NO LIMITS
- can-do attitude
- Trust in my talent
- Running is a gift from God
- Let me be brave
- The hard makes it great
- Attitude is everything
- run in the moment
- in the present there is no pressure
- nice and easy
- Relax - breathe - focus
- dissolve the pain
- Go with the flow
- I am a fighter
- Enjoy the moment
- LET IT HAPPEN
- Find love and joy in what you do
- Let your light shine
- This train don't stop
- Never give up
- Warrior Mentality
- Run Happy!
- Results will take care of themselves
- Give it all you've got
- LOVE YOUR SPORT
- Trust in my body
- Just run your race
- I WILL
- Bring it on!
- I freaking got this!
- Be the lion.
- Thoroughly enjoy the process
What would you add to the list? Do you work on your mental fitness along with your physical fitness?