Respect the distance. Do not Fear it.
Awe and intimidation summed up my state of mind in regard to the expected distance I was soon going to attempt for the first time. Before I reached my 40th birthday I would complete a marathon. The Walker North Country Marathon. Running 26.2 miles seemed like the right thing to do as I submitted my online registration.
After providing my $50.00 registration fee I placed my full name and electronic signature on a form accepting complete medical responsibility for any and all maladies sustained by the above named runner. I visualized myself among a crowd of confident distance runners attacking the miles.
26.2 miles is a long way to run for anyone, veteran distance runner or beginner. For the novice however, the marathon distance is uncharted waters, downright threatening. Enter Awe and Intimidation.
Three short months lie between my exuberant on line registration and race day. Focused training must begin soon.
Confidence began to increase in my body and mind as training miles increased into double digits. Completing a 13 mile run for the first time was cause for celebration. It then occurred to me that this prominent 13 mile marker was just under half the required distance. HALF! Awe and intimidation of the distance gave way to fear of the vast chasm between the start and finish lines.
Then one long, hot, training day after running for 19 miles I heard myself thinking “Don’t fear the distance. Respect it.” That made sense to me. A tangible ownership of humble confidence was now mine. “Don’t fear the distance. Respect it.” It became my mantra that carried me to race day. I was going to run a marathon.
My longest training run would be 22 miles in preparation for that fall day in Northern Minnesota. I was ready. As ready as I knew to be.
As the Marathon miles passed behind me I welcomed my guiding mantra playing it over and over again in my head “Don’t fear the distance. Respect it.”
Later in the run other conversations competed for space in my thinking.
Mile 15 “Just keep going.”
Mile 18 “This is taking forever – should stop and rest. Can’t go on.”
Mile 19 “Can’t stop. Keep moving.”
Mile 21 “Water break. Enjoy the scenery.”
Mile 23 “Water. Have never run this far. Don’t care about the scenery want to be done.”
Mile 24 “Can do this, you’ve got it.”
Mile 25 “Keep running. Running, is that what I’m doing? Just keep moving. Closer now. Finish line must be right around the corner. It’s not.”
Mile 26 “A hill?! Who put a hill at mile 26?!”
Mile 26.1 “Ouch everything hurts.
Mile 26.15 “I am sprinting to the finish! Where did that energy come from?”
Mile 26.2 “Done! Been there, done that. Where’s my T-shirt?”
You may be in the final phase of your Fall Marathon training. Your first marathon. Make it a great day, a race to remember! “Don’t fear the distance. Respect it…. and enjoy it!”
Check out a previous Boot Camp Examiner article that explores four easy steps to Overcoming the fear of failure.
For a great Marathon experience check out the Walker North County Marathon http://www.walkernorthcountrymarathon.com/
For continued fitness motivation follow Scott on Twitter @scottcraig1 and subscribe to Boot Camp examiner.