Challenge Your Mind

(This part of the “Ask Me Anything” Series.)

Becky asked: “I wish you would write about how to get over the mental barrier when running long distances like you did for Hood to Coast. I can manage the physical stuff, but making myself run for such long distances makes my mind either bored/frustrated/lazy.”

What a great question. Now that some time has passed since Hood To Coast, I wonder how in the hell I did it.

Hood to Coast was a unique challenge. The longest race I’d ever run before HTC was an 8k. My total mileage for HTC was 17 miles. I had three legs:

Leg 12: 6.37 miles

Leg 24: 4.92 miles

Leg 36: 5.23 miles

What makes the Relay race unique is the time in between each run. Like 10 hours? 10 hours is just long enough for everything in your body to tighten up, lock up, and become incredibly sore. Just in time for your next turn to run.

I hadn’t anticipated how difficult that aspect of it would be. I took a lot of Advil for the physical pain. I tried to stretch, tried to walk it out. I used a Tiger Tail in the downtime before my last run.

It is still a challenge no one can really prepare for.

I am a very determined person. Once I set my mind to something, I’m going to do it. No matter what. I wanted to finish school. Every road block and obstacle the school put in front of me, I found a way around it and got that degree.

When I wanted to lose weight, there was no other choice. Once that decision had been made, once I had a goal in my mind, I wasn’t going to be happy until I reached it.

No matter what, I was losing that weight. Even when I hit plateaus and got frustrated, I kept at it.

Michael calls it Stubborn.

Okay, I guess I’m stubborn. πŸ™‚

So when Hood to Coast came around, I made the decision before I even packed my bag and grabbed my running shoes: I would not walk. No walking. I was RUNNING Hood to Coast. There was no quitting. I was running it.

This photo was taken right before my final run:

The last leg of the entire race–the one where I cross the finish line with my entire team.

I was exhausted. No sleep for like 2 days. SORE BEYOND WORDS. I could barely walk. How could I run?

I was so deflated by that last leg. I didn’t thinkΒ  I would be able to do it. I didn’t think I could move my legs enough TO run. But I told myself that I was doing it anyways. Even if I was running at a snail’s pace, I was going to run.

I’m stubborn that way.

Sometimes DETERMINATION takes patience.

Other times, DETERMINATION is that fire inside you that won’t die no matter what.

You can call it:

Visualization

Positive Thinking

Psyching Yourself Up

Race Day Mentality

Whatever you call it, you focus on the goal. What is your final goal? Is it crossing that finish line in a certain amount of time? Is it crossing that finish line without walking? Whatever your personal goals are, you visualize that and focus on it when things get too hard.

When that hill in Hood to Coast is never ending.

When your legs don’t want to run anymore.

When you’re emotionally and physically exhausted and just can’t do it.

You do it.

So do it!

QUESTION: How do you keep your mind in the game? Whatever the challenge is, how do you make sure you don’t talk yourself out of it?

7 Responses

  1. Like a dummy, I HAD to click that second determination poster. Second bad move of the day after watching CSI while eating lunch.

    I’m really in a “I hate exercise” mood but I still really want to lose the weight so I’m doing 30 mins on the Precor. No. Matter. What.

    30 mins goes by all the time but the only way it’s going to affect my weight is if I’m moving for 30 mins, so I try to distract my mind while I move and just keep on keeping on. I know it’ll get easier and better.

  2. YAY! You answered my question! Such a great post…I love it. I’m stubborn too. When I ran my 10K race I was super tired at the end and wanted nothing more than to walk, but I kept jogging (at probably a 4.2 mph pace or something) just because I refused to walk. I hope that’s in my favor! πŸ™‚

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