Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My Mind's I

Make Sure Your Worst Enemy Doesn't
Live Between Your Own Two Ears.
- Laird Hamilton 

I am now officially into Week Six of my training for the New Jersey Marathon.  I kicked it off on Sunday by hoofing it eleven miles on the treadmill.  Boy oh boy, I cannot wait until the roads/sidewalks in and near my little town are sufficiently clear of ice, snow and other debris to permit me to run on them.  Perhaps this coming Sunday they shall be.  The Sunday that just passed they were not.  Thus, I descended into the dungeon and chugged my way through eleven indoor miles.  Fun?  No.  Productive?  Yes.  I completed my run in a hair less than eighty-six and one-half minutes.  Simply put:  I averaged sub-eight minute miles for eleven miles.  For me, that is a pretty damn productive training run.  

Satisfying as that result was, it has not caused my train to jump the tracks on the way to Delusion City.  The purpose of this exercise is not to trick myself into believing that "at this pace" I could run a three and one-half hour marathon on April's final Sunday.  I know that I cannot maintain such a pace for twenty six miles plus.  Its purpose is far more straightforward.  It is to push myself as hard as I can for as long a period of time as I can in an effort to not only test the limits of my lungs and my legs but - more importantly - my mind.  

For me, my mind is both my greatest ally and my worst enemy during something as trying and as taxing as running a marathon.  When I feel good, my mind powers my body.  When I feel something less than good, it requires a considerable amount of resolve to resist my mind's effort at talking my body into giving up altogether.  I am pushing myself harder training this time around than I have previously because I want to expand my mind's ability to tolerate discomfort.  If I can harness that - and have a mind that willingly accepts a level of discomfort necessary for me to run a solid race, then I will be pleased with the outcome of this year's New Jersey Marathon.   And I shall be so pleased irrespective of my finishing time. 

-AK 

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