Monday, October 20, 2008
So this weekend was perfect marathoning weather! As I walked in the park with my buddy E it reminded me of my first marathon. I remembered my last run before the big day, winding comfortably down my street decked out in glorious fall colors feeling nervous and hopeful. I remembered lining up on Sunday morning in shorts, a singlet, and those green gloves freezing my tush off! And I remember the sun shining down as I made my way to mile 24, 25, 26 and finally made the turn to see that I was indeed going to meet my goal time. So much better than worrying about Nor'Easters and then moderate heat and wind.
I think back to my last two marathons and the problems I ran into and now at least a year later I realize what the problem was. I was a ball of tension, worrying about this and that and not hopeful, excited and looking forward to the miles ahead. These past few months of forced rest from training have made me understand just how important the enjoyment of racing is to the racing experience. I can be super fit and my body can be completely capable of my goal time, but it ain't happening if I am freaked out and worried. I was sitting in childbirth class a couple of weeks ago and our instructor said the key to a positive natual labor is to relax and let your body do what it was made to do. Doesn't this just make sense? In my first marathon I was over a minute of goal pace at the half. But I didn't care. I trusted myself. I believed I had the ability to do it and I was happy enough to give it my best shot. I understood that it didn't mean I was a bad person or an intrinsically bad runner if I didn't quite make it. I ran within myself.
I remember reading Shalane Flanagan talking about running within herself sometime during the summer and I wondered what the heck she meant. Looking back I see it's based on running self-esteem. It can only happen when you have nothing to prove about yourself through running. When you have faith in your training, your dedication, and your mind and body. When you know you'll do your best and that's good enough. And by good enough, I don't mean you're settling. You just know that that is always the best you can do and you are satisfied with it. You understand that there is no magic gu to water to gatorade combo that will achieve your goal or some magic pace to run any particular mile to achieve your goal. To achieve your goal, you get out there and let your body do what it was meant to do and to do its best with what you're given.
Posted by The Salty One at 6:08 AM