I have this thing, I have had it since the day I was born. Well, at least since the earliest memories I have as a kid. It becomes most memorable at the point where being a pain in ass stopped being cute and became a problem. My thing is questioning everything. I have questioned my parents and teachers, books and movies, friends and strangers, common knowledge and a skeptic’s story. It has got me in trouble with teachers, the dog house with Nikki – but it has also been a driving factor my unending desire to learn and an unbearable curiosity.
There was an answer that I regularly received that struck me as interesting, yet potentially frustrating too.
“Do as I say, not as I do.”
Keep this in mind as you read my thoughts leading the race tomorrow morning. I would not completely recommend an athlete go into a race with the training I’ve had, but as I’ve thought through what my personal expectations are for this run; I’ve realized that maybe it hasn’t been optimal but I’ve lived into some of the principles I preach – plus tomorrow is about more than finishing or trying for personal records.
1. Gain back a little bit of the confidence that I lost in New Orleans. Bad performances haunt me like the plague, which has always been a stumbling block I have to achieve my goals. Great things often come after big lows, or at least that is the narrative we are told. I was in the best shape of my life in Feb of 2010, to not execute on that fitness has always haunted me a little. I thought continuing to race afterward that year would help. But even though I set a PR at the 10k, 10 mile and ended up running 3:06 at Cincinnati (not a PR, but something to be proud of) – I’ve never been able to let go of New Orleans. Partly because it was scary. Partly because my ego was damaged and I haven’t wanted to be vulnerable again.
So this little build up I’ve had to make it here to Arkansas and run, I’ve worked hard on regaining mental focus and discipline. I have used a specific mantra and visualization for months, it goes like this:
Give me energy, power me up. Give my mind peace, happiness and joy. Give my spirit strength, which carries my body over this roads that I run.
As I get tired, or each day it may not be that phrase word for word – but 99%. As I say this, I turn my palms up to accept the energy and I visualize myself running an open road in Nebraska or sometimes I see an eagle chasing Billy Mills across the plains of South Dakota. Or sometimes I’ve even envisioned my body having a power indicator, just like my iphone – and it gets a little more charge.
The biggest goal tomorrow is to regain what was always one of my strength. Mental strength when I’m physically weak.
I heard on the Joe Rogan Podcast today a discussion of pain. They were talking of a rite of passage ceremony, though I don’t remember all the details. The message I took from it was that during the rite of passage the boys were able to take the pain they felt and turn it into energy of a different kind. That is the essence of running long, in so many ways.
2. A more tangible outcome is to run a negative split. My longest single run has been 13.4 miles in training, which was done primarily because I knew I couldn’t recover from the longer runs. I’ve done some of my double longs and triple long stacks, so I’m not terribly nervous – but I also don’t know what is going to happen after 18 or 19 miles.
To be able to run a negative split in this scenario will take a ton of race management, ego checking and execution. It will happen.
What I didn’t realize until today (zero race prep here!) was that the course was essentially three out and backs. So I’m thinking each loop should get faster.
3. Check Arkansas off the list. This alone is worth the trip.
4. Test and experiment with data. I will be using the following devices:
– Garmin 210
– Runkeeper Iphone App (I have an elite account, so you can track me live if you wanted)
– Fitbit, this will be my second marathon with it so it will be interesting to compare that data
– Polar Loop, my newest toy and I’ll pair it with my Polar H7 to pull heart rate data onto the loop.
You know what…
After writing this little post, I don’t feel quite like the coach that is not following his own advice after all. Still, it’s often better to do what I say, not what I do.