Four days after I didn’t run a sub-5 hour marathon, my adrenaline and my stubbornness teamed up to get the better of me and I registered for another full. I knew I had 5 hours in me. I still do. But, I had barely caught my breath after the Cowtown and I thought I was ready to gear up for another one.
I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
I was certain that registering for Marathon #4 would force me to focus. It would force me to maintain my training for another six weeks. Disciplined. 5 hours in my sights.
But it just wasn’t like that.
For some time now I’ve understood that running is a mental game. Distance running, for sure. Last year, I posted this quote on my dresser at home —
You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body is never tired if the mind is not tired.
-General George S. Patton
As the first few weeks after Cowtown passed and I knew I had to get in gear if I had any hope of 5 hours in April — I just couldn’t get my head in the game. I still wanted to chop that pesky 16 minutes off my time, but I just couldn’t get my brain and my legs to cooperate at the same time. My legs were tired — we’d done THREE 20+ milers in training — and my brain just switched to ‘off season’.
And I had already registered. The weight of knowing I’d already committed myself to another race – was ridiculous. So I pulled the plug. Well, “halfway” pulled the plug. I contacted the race director and switched my registration from the full to the half. Suddenly, I was actually looking forward to running again! A half! I can do that!
And THEN I let my running over-confidence get the best of me, and I slacked. I became one big excuse. Not enough sleep, too busy at work, the weather is bad. Suddenly, it was T-minus 20 days until the race and I hadn’t reeeeeally done the training I should have done.
Yesterday. I used all the excuses and the stress and the guilt of the last few weeks as fuel — and I ran. I probably bit off more than I should have, but the weather was perfect and I NEEDED that run. My brain needed it. My legs needed it. My confidence needed it.