I have been telling you about who helped me believe it was possible for me to start running and who helped me continue being a runner, but today I’m going to try to tell my part of the story. Well, at least the most relevant parts. :)
When I started training for that 2005 Chicago Marathon, Rob and I had one car and we lived just north of Grand Street. We both worked at Bed Bath & Beyond. This means that both of us spent lots of hours at Border’s waiting for the other to get off work. I spent most of my time reading about running, and I started with Hal Higdon’s marathon book.
If you’ve heard that running is 90% mental and 10% physical, you’ve heard right. It seems like to me that your body learns how to run waaay quicker than your mind. Hal acknowledges this, as did other books I read through (and furiously made notes on, anal-retentive that I am):
I wanted to be prepared.
- “Hello, Hills! Come run with me!”
- “I am a marathoner.”
- “I never quit on a run!”
- “I love to run! I will not stop!”
- “I run no matter what the weather is like.”
- “I always feel strong when I run.”
- “My legs are getting stronger, my lungs are getting stronger, my mind is getting stronger.”
- One that Beth told me: Counting backwards from 100 while breathing out on the odd numbers and in on the even numbers.
- One that Sarah told me: Remember the part in Indiana Jones where Marion asks Indy where it hurts and she kisses him? Ask yourself the opposite of that: “Where doesn’t it hurt?” Helps you ignore whatever pain is nagging at you.
I imagined a group of my athletic friends running in front of me. I’d catch up to them, they’d cheer me on, and then I’d start running faster than them, rushing through them to their cries of support.
In another, I would see just two or three of my friends up ahead. They’d be cheering for me, holding banners, jumping up and down.
On hot days, I would imagine ice melting in my shoes. Special ice that didn’t make my socks soggy or my shoes heavier. Magic running ice. :)
When I was feeling especially tired, I would catch up with one of my “imaginary” friends. Then a band would appear around us, linking us together. She or he would just keep on chugging ahead, pulling me along.
I would imagine my feet as feathers. Or my fatigue as a thin layer of skin that slowly peels away as I run. Finally, I just step out of it, feeling refreshed and renewed.
The most powerful image I had was one almost every book recommended: the finish line of your race. It was easy to imagine Chicago, with its million supporters along the route, cheering for everyone.
And I think that last visualization will be even more effective as I start training for what will actually be my first marathon. Last week, I registered for the Berlin Marathon, which takes place on September 28 (we saved beaucoup buckeroos by registering early). I have spent about 2 weeks in Berlin over the course of the last 8 months, and I know the starting and finishing lines very well (I’ll even run my last few miles down a street called “Unter den Linden”—how awesome is that?!).
At the same time that I am excited about getting to run my first marathon in such an important world city and the city that gave me the love of my life, I am very nervous about stepping in this ring again. I am nervous about announcing my bid so early and so publicly. What if I get sick again? What if I get injured? What if I just get lazy without a dedicated running parter who will kick my butt every day (not that Rob isn’t dedicated, but we have different values on running public races and needing a goal to strive for, plus it’s easier to say no to him than to Sarah)? What if I don’t run the right mileage and am under-prepared because I don’t have a Garmin or a trail that is marked every tenth of a mile (like the Galloway Trail, where I did about 90% of all my running when we lived in Springfield)?
Some days I believe in myself. But others I just know I’ll fail. I know I’ll disappoint everyone again. Or maybe I’m just afraid of disappointing myself all over again.
In the end, I decided to do it, to announce my marathon goal almost six months away from D-Day. I hope that, as I continue to blog about my training (which will definitely pick up starting the last week of May when training starts), my running and non-running blog readers will encourage me. Will you do that?
Because I am going to need it.