I am 12 weeks into my Boston marathon training and I feel the fitness rising up in me. I am hitting my paces in training, and although it is often times waves of exhaustion mixed with strength, I feel that, overall, I am exactly where I should be. My fitness feels great and my runs are strong, but I was feeling like something was missing from my training, until I read this post by Michelle at NYC Running Mama. It came at such a perfect time. I was feeling like something wasn’t clicking, and then I read Michelle’s words about discomfort and everything came into focus. She said:
“Training your mind to not just be prepared for the pain of a fast pace, but to be ready enough to welcome it and then keep pushing, takes practice. You can’t expect to be able to push hard in a race if you never give your mind (or body) the chance to practice it in training runs”. -Michelle Gonzalez
It completely struck a cord in me. I was ready to hear those words, and it was the missing link in my training. So last week, when I had to complete mile repeats at the track, Michelle’s voice echoed in my mind. I pushed hard and hit a 6:41 pace which is good for me. It was uncomfortable but I acknowledged the pain. This is what I did…
I said “hello” to my uneasy feeling, almost as if it were a person, a jealous, envious person. I said hello to it like is was a hater, someone trying to bring me down, someone many of us encounter every day. You know who I’m talking about, the person who tries to make you wrong or critizes you because they don’t have enough self esteem to be able to chase their own dreams. I said hello to my pain and I told it, “You do not define me. You are NOT me. My light is stronger than you, my body is stronger than you. You’re telling me I can’t when in fact I can and I WILL”.
The only person who can allow the darkness to define me is ME and that is NEVER going to happen. My light (some might say “the essence of God” or the “light of the Universe”) is stronger than the dark, the demons that live in my head. God always wins but, I believe, I am a solider of Light. I must fight those demons and not let them define me!
This spirit lives in all of us, but it is up to us to battle those self defeating thoughts, the ones that bring us down, that tell us “I can’t”, “I won’t”, “not possible”. You ARE capable, your body is strong, and you CAN do this.
This method was so effective that I ran my fastest mile to date. I have one more 21 miler this Saturday before I taper, and when the uncomfortable feelings come, which, if I am doing it right, they will, I will be having this conversation with myself while testing the physcial strength that has risen up in me during this marathon training cycle. I even bought a new mantra bracelet, that is coming soon. It says “HELLO” MY LIGHT IS STRONGER THAN YOU”.
I’ve got fours weeks left until I run my first Boston Marathon. I have not missed one workout. I have never worked this hard for any race. I am going to Boston and I will be giving it everything I have. I am not going there to enjoy the scenery, although, I am going to make an effort be as present and aware as possible. I am going to race. To test my body and see what I am capable of. I realize that things can happen, weather, stomach issues, migraines, etc. but, I am going to run my heart out that day, and I am 100% sure that it will hurt, and when it does I will be ready. Ready to face the darkness that rises up in me and not let it take over or control me. I will never be able to make the pain disappear, but I will not let it define me or take over.
Just like when a person tries to take you down, you can’t always make them disapear but you can have boundries with them. I will not let the dark voice in my head win. The only thing that can conquer demons is God. So, as I approach race day, I will have a clear vision of what I want to achieve, and be fully aware that it will be an uncomfortable process to get there. I can only hope and pray that the light of God be with me on April 15, 2013. I want to say a very big thank you to Michelle who inspired me to find the missing link in my training. It’s not the first time this amazing women has done this, and I am confident it won’t be the last. Your voice will echo in my mind on race day – thank you.
I want to add more more thing, there is a difference between true pain and discomfort. If you are in pain, you should stop immediately. If your knee, foot, or leg has a sharp pain that can’t be ignored, then you should never push through. If it’s just uncomfortable or tired feeling because you’re pushing yourself and you are confident that you have a base level of fitness, you can push through. There is a difference, and I thought it was important to make the distinction.