It was around mile 14 this time when I felt it start to break down. The whole race I was with my brother running what I thought was a smart race and then it happened. I started to feel a cramp forming and instantly I started to panic . In my head the excuses started to form to why I was going to fail. I wasn't hydrated enough , I didn't eat anything, my training wasn't up to snuff and many more. Some of these may be true , but the biggest obstacle was my lack of mental toughness. I am just not strong enough to succeed in my head. I give up too easily.
I told my brother to go on , that I would be fine I was for a while but then it all fell apart. I finished the marathon with my second worst time ever and my brother ended up smashing his personal best. When we talked about the race he told me that he felt the pain too, but he just kept going . If he were to slow down or stop it would have gotten worse . Although I am proud of him, I am envious of his willpower to overcome the adversity and triumph .
This is an issue for me. I can hit all my goals during training . I can feel good about my training , but when it comes to race day , everything falls apart . Here is another example.
This summer I was running an 8k in my hometown. I started off great then it again started to fall apart. A friend of mine passed me going up the hill , she tried to encourage me , but it didn't work. After I got up the hill I got my legs back and caught my breath. I had a chance to catch my friend, I physically felt I could do it, but I talked myself out of it and finished well behind her.
Physically , I think I am a pretty good runner. I am in shape to accomplish many of the goals I set for myself , it is just that when I toe the line to try to achieve the goals , something in my head always prevents me from doing it. Sure I may place in my age group and win some awards , but something always prevents me fro unleashing my full potential during a race. I am trying to figure out what that is and how to prevent it.
My best guess is that I accept failing too easily. I have gotten used to not achieving my potential that maybe I am afraid of success . I look at my brother and my friends and although I am proud of their accomplishments , I am envious of their mental toughness and I have to find out how they are different from me.
That is my goal for 2014, is to build my mental toughness . I set up my race schedule to do that. I chose races that I can beat personal bests and to build confidence , I will be changing some of my training to do things that I have not done before , that I might have been scared to do. I will be using a lot of techniques that I learned long ago as a theatre major to block out the world around me and focus on the task at hand. I will not worry about others around me , but continue to focus on the goal.
I will force myself out the door , even when I don't want to go for a run. I will (and have) run in snow storms, ice storms, excessive heat and rain.
This will be the year that things start to change.