Months of training on the track, surprising myself by actually feeling the urge to run, and staying consistent with my pace finally led to completing last week’s San Jose Rock and Roll Half Marathon.
13.1 miles in 2 hours and 42 minutes! This coming from a person who was NOT A RUNNER until 2009, who struggled through her first 5k just seven months ago, and who never thought she could push herself this far physically & mentally. I was proud of myself – not just for the race, but for the months it took to get me prepared to even do it.
And here’s what I learned from my newfound “runner’s status” – it really is all in the mind. Though it does take some level of physical endurance and fitness to run, I believe 90% of it came from sheer determination and discipline. Unlike most of my other challenges, I wasn’t trying to deal with another person or circumstance.
With running, I was battling myself. Do I stop at mile 10 because I’m truly tired or because my brain is telling me I’m tired? Do my feet really hurt, or am I imagining it so I can stop? And am I going to give into any excuse my mind can wrack up? Deep down, do I want to stop because I can’t handle it or do I want to keep going because I HAVE to? Those were the questions that I faced EVERY TIME I ran. Even on the marathon day itself.
It’s scary, but enlightening, to realize how much influence your mind has over your body. I’m starting to believe that this sort of thinking – positive thinking according to The Secret – may be the next crucial area to train myself in. Who knows what more I’d be able to accomplish if I can overcome my internal critic and skeptic?
“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”
– George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian