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I am stronger than I think I am

by Meghann on April 26, 2012

Thursday, Thursday, Thursday.

It’s the last Thursday of the month – April is almost gone and May is almost here. This means that a week from today I’ll be packing my bag and flying out to Cincinnati for the Flying Pig Marathon. When I signed up for this race in January it felt so far away. I had months, weeks, eons to prepare. Where did that time go? How did it get to be only days away?

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Am I prepared? I’m not sure. But I never feel prepared. Taper time is the worst. it’s when I start doubting myself, doubting my training, and doubting my abilities. It’s usually the time when I step back, re-evaluate my goals, and take a minute to mentally adjust them. You know that 3:55 finish time I had my eyes on? Umm… yeah. I’ve already started telling myself that anything under 4:00 will be good. Hell, anything under 4:30 will work too. It’s the thought that counts, right?

I tend to have the same conversation with myself in the last few miles of a race. Right around mile 20 is when the “I don’t give a f*ck” attitude comes out and finishing is really all that matters – everything else goes out the window. No one will care that I didn’t meet my goal. Hell, they may respect me more for it. It’s ok to give up. People are expecting it to happen. They want it to happen. Who is this they? Everyone that knows I can’t do this.

It’s crazy the stuff I’ll have myself believing in the last 6 miles. Suddenly time doesn’t matter, goals don’t matter, the race doesn’t matter… making the pain stop is all that’s on your mind. To do that, I’ll talk myself into anything.

Marathons are NOT easy. Reaching a marathon goal is NOT easy. Believing in yourself when your mind is ready to give up is NOT easy. Quitting… is easy.

I’m going to make the same deal with myself that I made before my last marathon PR – I’m not allowed to mentally give up. Now there’s a difference between physically giving up and mentally giving up. If my body gives out on me physically (whether it be a sharp pain, muscle cramp, or something I know is terribly wrong) I’ll pull out in a heartbeat, but if it’s just my mind playing tricks on me, then I won’t allow it.

When the doubts start moving in on mile 20, I’ll push pass them. I’m saving my best songs for last (when i need them the most) and plan to keep my head in the game until the very end. Quitting is not an option. If you want to set crazy goals, you have to work your ass off to achieve them.

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What helped during my last marathon was seeing my sister at mile 20. I saw her right when I needed her. I had warned her ahead of time not to tell me I looked like hell, not to tell me that it was ok to give up, and not to tell me the finish line was right around the corner. She had strict instructions to tell me that I CAN do this, that I WILL do this, and that I looked strong. She told me to “run it for Maddie” (I know, sounds sappy, but surprisingly effective, especially when I saw Maddie’s face on the sign she created for me) and that she believed in me.

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My sister also pushed me through the final miles of our half ironman last September. When I started slowing down, she would start shouting words of encouragement (her favorite is quoting lyrics from Eminem songs) and shouting that we’re going to prove everyone who doubted us wrong and finish this f*ckin’ race. When I was too tired to sprint to the finish, she grabbed my hand and told me we could do this.

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As of right now, my sister and I do not have any plans to run together for Flying Pig (of course, we didn’t have plans for Chicago or Augusta, but we all know what happened there… ) and as I write this I worry I won’t be able to do this without her. She is my running rock, my running idol. Gulp.

Kelly! Don’t leave me! Run with me! I need you!

I went off on a tangent there. Didn’t I? What was my point? Oh, yes. When it comes to taper time, or the last few miles of a marathon, it’s really easy to start doubting ourselves and talking ourselves out of our goals. When that happens, just take a deep breath and remember why you wanted to reach that goal in the first place. Remember all of the hard work you put into that goal and remember you are stronger than you think you are. We are ALL stronger than we think we are. That’s what I’m going to remember next Sunday and that’s what I’m going to remember through the rest of taper.

3:55 or bust.

Gulp.

Game on. ;)

Food

I had a lovely lunch today.

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It all started with an idea for roasted carrots. I was craving something warm and out of the norm and roasted carrot sticks seemed to fit the bill. I simply roasted the carrots at 400 for 15 minutes with a little salt and pepper. I’ve found that BBQ sauce works best with any roasted vegetable.

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Next was the applesauce that caught my attention on the top shelf of the cabinet.

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The sandwich was really an afterthought. I had two side dishes, I just needed a main dish and a sandwich seemed to do the trick.

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The hot flat bread panini was filled with hummus, spinach, and sharp cheddar cheese.

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Not bad for an afterthought. ;)

Good luck to all the runners running Nashville this weekend! If you would like a little sneak peek at the course (from the spectator’s point of view!) check out my post from last year when I cheered Kelly and Ben on from the sidelines (and saw them SIX times along the course!).

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GREAT race to spectate. Maybe I’ll have the chance to run it someday too. :)

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