What the mind can believe…

August 16, 2015

in Fitness, Just life

Maybe you’ve seen or heard the saying before: “What the mind can believe, the body can achieve.” I’ve reinforced my belief in this concept a few times this summer and I still manage to surprise myself and be thankful for what my body can do.

This is one of the most important things I’ve learned as a runner since I started hitting the pavement five years ago. Your body may tell you that you can’t push up that hill, that you just can’t run a little faster, and that you can’t go another mile (or 5).

Just a few months ago, as I was dreading the upcoming Biggest Loser Half Marathon because I got off track from my training schedule and, well, pretty much stopped training….I was reminded that my body wouldn’t be shocked at the mileage since I had done the 13.1 distance and further several times before. I went into the race with the hope of just finishing. I hated to waste my registration fee, so I was going to give it a shot. My body cooperated, for the most part, and I completed the 13.1 miles after having only run as far as 5 in my pseudo-training.

Similar story this morning: it was the Hamot 10k, and I haven’t run much in the last few weeks (or month!) because life has been busy. I’ve been concentrating on other workouts, have traveled out of town, etc. etc. I ran twice last week and those were my first runs in a month. I was downright nervous about today’s race. Sorry if this is TMI, but if you’re a runner, you’ll understand…I was not only nervous about the distance, but I was nervous about whether or not I’d complete the race without having to go #2! Sometimes a runner can go right before leaving for the run, and still a mile or two into the run things move and your body needs to go again. I really couldn’t have that happen today, since it was a short enough distance that there wouldn’t be porta-pots along the course (and we weren’t racing at PISP where there are occasional restrooms.)

The first mile felt okay, and as I kept running I knew my body would cooperate as far as distance was concerned. I worried for a few minutes around mile 3 that the tummy wasn’t feeling perfect, but I turned on my Pandora to the Praise & Worship station and seriously just sang along and prayed to God to carry me through the race without incident. :) He is faithful.

There was an occasional nice breeze, but we were in full sun for the last 2.5 miles or so. That was taxing. Despite carrying my own water, I took a cup at each of the water stops and sipped a little so my bottled water would last me till the end. I also dumped half of a few cups onto the top of my head and that cooled me down a bit.

I felt like my pace was all over the place, as my MapMyRun coaching feature announces my pace every 3 minutes per my request, and I know if I need to speed up or slow down according to my pace goal. There were a few times that I was in the 14-minute per mile range, but when everything added together and averaged out, I was close to a 13-minute mile the whole 6.2 miles. I was pretty proud of that because of the heat and I haven’t been out running in it much.

As I listened to the Praise & Worship on Pandora, I began thanking God for my able body, and I thanked him for allowing me to do things I never expected that I could do. Five years ago, I couldn’t have even dreamt of getting out of bed in the morning and running a 5k, let alone a 10k or half marathon with little to no training! It’s absolutely unfathomable to me how much more we are capable of if we just try and tell ourselves that we CAN do it.

I was feeling pretty happy those last few miles, despite the heat. I high-fived a few police officers as they stood in IMG_20150816_103147intersections and held traffic as I passed by, and thanked volunteers for spending their morning helping out. I took my earbuds out and turned my music off as I chugged up the incline toward the final turn, so I could take in the sounds of the finish area. I heard a male voice cheer for me, but I didn’t know until later that it was my friend’s husband, Ryan, who had finished nearly 30 minutes before me and stayed to cheer and watch for me and others he might know. I heard the familiar voice of my running buddy, Emily, as she hollered my name and cheered. As I turned the corner I realized the finish line was much closer than I remembered, so I gave it all I had. In most races, I kick it up when the finish line is a tenth of a mile away, but today it was only about 100 yards or less to the finish. I felt like I was flying as I passed the lady who had been slightly ahead of me the last few miles, and smiled big (just in case there was a camera near the finish line!)

Today started out as a morning that I had absolutely zero interest in running. I regretted that I hadn’t transferred to the 5k. I worried about possibly finishing last, since most of the 10k field is considerably faster than I am. The morning ended on a high note, with feelings of satisfaction and pride, and overwhelming gratitude to God for creating a body that will go farther than it will let on sometimes.

Already looking forward to the next one.

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