Strength. Focus. Determination.

Pretty much every runner comes up with a mantra while training for a goal race. As I get closer to the Lone Ranger 100-Miler, my mantra on long runs has been “Strength. Focus. Determination.” It wasn’t too long ago when I remember having to come up with mantras during training run for my first marathon, simply to get my ass up the hills in Central Park. Now, I love those hills and look forward to trotting or hauling ass up them – depending on the workout that day.

I am a firm believer that running has made me a stronger person. Obviously I am physically strong to have come this far, but the mental strength and wisdom surprises me. I honestly sometimes don’t know who I am. My focus, and mindset on what I want to achieve as a human being and an athlete is something I never would have predicted two years ago.

The struggles and set backs I face as a human being and actor make the setbacks as an athlete shine in a new light. I learn something from every training day and every race, even the ones I’m not happy with. Injuries have forced me to be patient, and to accept and not rush the process. I love how running has lead to new friendships, and new adventures running through the streets of NYC. I love the feeling of working hard, sweating buckets, and the satisfaction of pushing through when my mind and body feel weak.

People ask me all the time why I run, especially this daunting Ultra I have on the horizon. They quickly also throw into the conversation that they could never run a marathon. Shame on them, because YES THEY CAN! YOU decide what you are or are not capable of in this life. I know of people of all ages that complete marathons. Sure, some are extremely fast, talented and well-trained. Others, though slower and perhaps less gifted still finish – and you better believe they feel like rock stars when they cross that finish line.

This week I am going to run 75 miles – my highest weekly mileage in my life. I feel great. Really. Because of the baby steps and hard work I have put into my training, 75 miles doesn’t sound like much to me right now. Two years ago, I would have said 75 miles is insane. Now my body can handle it without too much stress.

I have become extremely passionate about motivating others to get outside and run. I don’t doubt that running isn’t for everyone, though I do believe that humans are engineered to be cardio machines, and will feel better and live longer while routinely exercising. I am so excited to complete my training in Sports Nutrition and Personal Training, so I can be not only a passionate but also a knowledgible coach.

There are plenty of days when I still doubt the odds of me completing the 100-Miler. It’s human and natural to question one’s capabilities, especially when I have no experience equal to the Ultra to compare it to right now. However, knowing the 70% of racing is mental, I know I have to be strong and focused in order to succeed. Knowledge is power. When my legs start to give out on race day, I hope I remember that.

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~ by Elizabeth on June 12, 2012.

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