No. This isn’t going to be a post about Jack Daniels Whiskey…I stopped drinking that years ago. Tomorrow morning, at around 8am, I will begin the seventh half marathon I have “competed” in since I began running six years ago. Here is a little secret not many people know…I have NEVER not walked during a half marathon. I can easily run 10-13 miles during training without stopping, but for some reason I hit a mental “wall” while actually participating in the event.
Tomorrow, however, is going to be different. Tomorrow, I will break through the wall!
First, training for the marathon has made 13 miles, in my mind, seem much easier. Like my friend Brett said, “when you get to 10 just tell yourself you only have three miles to go instead of 16.” That is so true! It is MUCH easier, after having gone 26 miles, to envision doing three more miles at the 10 mile marker than 16.
Second, I have realized that every other time I have done a half marathon I am consumed by hitting a specific time. Usually a time that is unattainable…not realistic. Taking 30 minutes off a half marathon time is just not realistic for me. So, tomorrow there is no time to make. Yes. I will wear my watch and I will wear my Garmin, but that isn’t because I need to hit a time, it is just because I like to know where I am.
By not focusing on time, I can focus instead on just running and having a good time, and focus on crossing the finishline without stopping. What I have realized from thinking back to previous events is that because I was so focused on time that I went out way too fast and ended up tiring myself out too soon – physically and mentally. This really came to light for me a couple of weekends ago while running 12.5 – I started out at a slow pace and was able to pick up my pace considerably for the last few miles.
I had been told that by my previous running coaches, but I always thought I was fine. I have always told my athletes to start out slow…give it time and wait for the end to pick it up. (It is easier to give advice than to take it.)
Tomorrow I will take that advice and take the lessons I have learned from all my previous events and I will break through the wall of Old Number 7.
P.S. Tomorrow is also the Superbowl…GO STEELERS!