As I close in my second marathon, mental strength is on my mind. Thank you for all of your feedback and suggestions about what to do when all you want to do is stop. You all are pretty smart after all.
I want to know that when the going gets tough, my mind will pull me through. Lord knows it has before. I found a great article in Men’s Fitness that gave me some stuff to think about.
I don’t usually read Men’s Fitness because I’m not that into how to build strength in my penis and please my lady with my rock hard abs, but this one was pretty worthwhile. Oh, wait, that’s Men’s Health that has those creepy articles. Sorry.
It’s titled, “Breaking through the wall” by Michael Bane Men’s Fitness (1999). He looks at training your mind, pre-race, for the obstacles to come:
- Accept that a portion of your race will be run on a mental panorama, and that it can be a scary place. It's a landscape littered with your own failures and successes, your pains and your losses. It's home to mythical creatures and places of legend, and your journey will be uniquely your own.
- Understand that you may be beset by storms of powerful emotions - exhilaration, despair, fury. But like storms, these spikes of emotion pass and have no meaning. I once ran alongside a woman who described how she planned to kill her new husband, because she hated the bastard so much. I don't think she talked like that when she wasn't running.
- Never question your goal. The completion of a marathon is more than an objective. It's a summit, like a beautiful mountain peak, and has the power to capture and hold a person's imagination. A trick I use is to "table" the mental discussion of whether this particular event was a good or a bad idea; I set it aside to deal with later. Then I focus on why this particular summit seemed so interesting.
- Let go of judgments. While your mind is bouncing hither and yon, sooner or later it's going to land on the "Why am I running so badly today?" square. Rather than expend that mental energy on judging my performance, I repeat one of my favorite mantras: "Nothing proves anything."
- Negotiate with your body. Crazy as it sounds, I carry on a mental conversation with my body. Before the race, I explain what is expected and acknowledge that it's going to hurt. I apologize in advance and promise that I'll make it up to my body somehow. Amazingly, my body continues to believe me.
- Finally, what do you do if you hit the Wall, when you meet your dragon? Why, nothing, of course. Keep running, that's all.
I think my favorite bullet point is about the peaks and valleys of the race. You will experience a full range of emotions and the only thing to count on is that they will pass and be replaced by something else.
Next up in a future p0st: Five ways to avoid the dreaded wall and what to do if/when you hit it.
On an unrelated note: I have found a new favorite running item. I follow Jamie Donaldson’s blog. She is an ultra runner from Colorado, but not just any ultra runner. She is the two time female winner of Badwater (2008 and 2009) and many, many other endurance running races.
I’ve had some blister problems recently and asked her advice. After suffering major running-blisters for years, she now swears by Drymax socks. In fact, they are one of her sponsors. She just ran and won the Philadelphia 100 Mile Endurance Run 14 hours 58 minutes – an average pace of 8:58 over 100 miles. Here are her feet after the race. Don’t see any blisters? That’s because there are none.
She offered to send me a pair of her blister blasters: Drymax Maximum Protection Running Socks (mini crew for running). Yesterday, I got these babies in the mail:
Today I tried them out. Jamie did not ask me to review these on the blog, but I had to. Just putting them on is like slipping on comfy slippers. They have a fair amount of cushioning, are made of soft material and a provide a snug fit. Once I started running in them on my track run today, I knew they would be my go-to sock because:
- Majorly comfortable, cushy even
- Flat toe seam
- Breathable mesh on the top of the foot and toes
- Blister guard system (uses material to reduce friction)
- Dual layers to keep feet dry
- Comfort, comfort, comfort
I can run 100 miles in them at an 8:58 pace
Unfortunately, these are not cheap, but after having tried them, I am willing to pay a bit more for comfort on long training runs and while running races. The best deal I found was $19.74 per pair from Amazing Socks.
Just a thought for you runners who are suffering the wrath of those pus filled bubbles. Ick.
Today’s funny (it’s not a post from me if it doesn’t have potty stuff). I got an email from Ken today saying this would be my mother’s day present. Nice and romantic. Because nothing says “Happy Mother’s Day” like a flatulence deodorizer (fancy name for fart masker):
Now you know why I married the guy. Happy Tuesday.