Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Preparing the Mind for the Marathon

I promised you my thoughts about preparing your mind for the marathon, so here goes.  First off, I think the mental preparation to run 26.2 miles comes long before you toe the line.  To start with, it comes from the thoughts you have as you do your long runs and solo runs.  Here is where you begin to let your mind take you to all of the different places it goes.  It distracts you in wonderful ways.  I think back to July, when I wrote this entry about communicating with God as I run and this entry about beauty on runs.  I believe I was writing and experiencing these "deep thoughts" during this month since it was the first time this season that I had ramped up my miles for marathon training.  I had more time out on the roads to allow these thoughts to creep in.  I felt refreshed after running many of my long runs because of all of the solo thinking that I had gotten to do.  I enjoyed the time alone to listen to music and to just think by myself.

I begin mentally rehearsing the marathon as the race gets closer.  I think back to previous marathons and try to remember how I felt as I was running them.  One day as I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep, I was picturing Myrtle Beach so vividly that I could not relax enough to sleep.  Adrenaline was coursing through my body.  My heart was racing, and my hands were sweaty.  I think picturing previous races can really help you to mentally prepare for an upcoming race (but don't do it while you are trying to go to sleep!).

Finally, I also reflect on quotes with a journal I've kept for years.  I joked one night to Rick as he tried to sneak a peak at my journal that, "You wouldn't understand these!!"  I really don't know if other people do this or not.  I've always written down quotes that I like.  Many closely apply to my life now even though I wrote them years ago. 

Two on a page from 1997 were:
For an instant, the old impulse of flight swept through her; but it was only the lift of a broken wing.
--Edith Wharton


"Nothing's worth that," the naysayers laughed.
"The crack of dawn!  The bitter cold!
The pouring rain!  Nothing's worth all that!"
"Obviously you don't know me," the woman said.
"For if you do, you'd know I am."
from a New Balance ad in 1997

I can only imagine this little twenty year old me thinking far enough in advance to know that one day I would be a stay-at-home mom of two needing to hear these things.  I don't want to have the impulse of flight, only to find that I don't have the wings to fly.  I want to take advantage of the opportunity to run while I can.  And, oh my, how true the New Balance ad is to me now!  So many people can't understand why my group gets up early to run.  Well, because we are worth it.  We are important and we matter, even though sometimes it feels like we get so little time to devote to ourselves.  We have to find it.  And sometimes that means running in the cold and the rain.  But I'm worth it!  I love this quote.

Finally, here's one more:

When you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep...
William Butler Yeats

With this one, I picture myself looking back at this blog one day and reading the tales of my marathon adventures.  I picture myself sharing these stories with my children and grandchildren.  This quote was in my high school yearbook, wayyyy back in 1995! 

So instead of just saying, "Carpe diem," these are some of the quotes that I read back over and reflect on.  I picture the upcoming marathon as being something I will always remember.  I try to imagine having a great outcome, which I will, even if I don't meet my time goal!  I look forward to the adventure that lies ahead.


  1. I love those quotes! I remember the Yeats one from way back in the day and I LOVE that New Balance quote.

    I also laughed at trying to sleep and picturing the marathon. I have done that it is so annoying. I become impatient for the morning so I can get up and run off some of that adrenaline/excitement!

  2. Beautifully written. You're going to have a glorious flight this have STRONG CAPABLE WINGS...and you'll be in the windy city.