Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Marathon Rewards

Marathoning is incredibly mental.  I have run amazing races because mentally I was all in.  I have also run TERRIBLE races because my head wasn't in the game at all.

This past year I have really worked on the mental aspect of running.  I have learned to push myself to my limits and then hold on even when my body was saying quit.  Last summer, I ran the Around the Lake Marathon in Wakefield, Massachusetts.  It was my last ditch effort to improve my Boston Qualifying time as I was afraid my two minute cushion was not going to get me into Boston.

The Around the Lake Marathon is part of a 24-hour Ultramarathon.  The marathoners are taking the easy route by only running 8 laps around the lake.  It is a 3 mile loop around a lake on a flat path and it starts at 7pm on a Friday night.    It was a hot and stormy night and I didn't meet my goal.  But, I didn't give up that night.  With three miles to go, I was spent and tired.  I was not on pace at all for breaking any PR's.  The heat got to me pretty early and I had slowed down at around mile 16.  Instead of giving up like I was used to, I continued to push myself that last lap and finished in 3:51.  At that time, it was my 2nd fastest marathon I had ever run.  To clue you in on the condition of my body, I didn't move for about an hour after the race and when I finally did I dry heaved until I was finally able to throw up, the whole way home in the car.  For me, that was a victory.  :)  I had never thrown up after a race and I knew I had pushed my body to its limit that night.  I didn't PR, but I mentally ran an amazing race.  I proved to myself, that when the going gets tough, I need to stop listening to the negative thoughts and keep running.

On Sunday, I will be thinking of my finish line when things get hard.  The weather is looking warmer than ideal, but I am OK with that.  I will run a mentally tough race no matter what.

Now I will give you a peek into what silly thoughts motivate me.  First of all, food!  :)  When I am tired, I think a lot of food, especially because 9 times out of 10, I can't even stomach an orange slice at the end of a race.  My favorite marathon treat are cinnamon bears.  Don't ask me why, but these calories dense, sugar-filled bears are my weakness and I look forward to eating them after every marathon.  Now I just need to find a pack before Sunday.

The next thing that gets me to Vermont City Marathon's finish line is the promise of ice cream.  Oh, Ben & Jerry's truck, you are a welcomed site at 26.2 miles.  I usually grab my medal, waddle through the food area collecting the food in a grocery bag and head to the Ben & Jerry's truck for my carton of ice cream.  I usually don't eat anything but the ice cream, but it is such a perfect treat after a hard run race.

This year, I am also headed for the beer tent!  I am not usually a beer girl, but Janine from The Purple Giraffe has turned me over to her side.  I am looking forward to sipping my beer as I cheer on the other marathon finishers and wait for my hubby to cross the finish line.

And, finally, my #1 motivation to get to that finish line is the beautiful medal and sense of accomplishment.  I can't wait to stop at the finish line with a rush of excitement knowing I ran the best race possible.  And knowing I already have my Boston Qualifying time for 2013 helps to ease the pressure off seeing a certain time on that clock at the end.


Jolene said...

I haven't had cinnamon bears in FOREVER and now REALLY want some!! And I haven't heard of the Around the Lake Marathon! Does that one still exist? That is kind of cool. I love running the lake!! You will do awesome this weekend, and I can't wait to cheer you on virtually :)

Jess said...

I love that food is a motivator post-race -- hell, whatever gets you across that finish line is FINE by me!! Meanwhile, your post has me thinking...about the mental game. It's been tearing me up lately as I get ready to embark on my first full marathon training cycle. I'm scared. Not gonna lie.

Misszippy1 said...

It is so much mental! Good for you for running your BQ under those tough conditions around the lake--that would be extremely mentally tough, I think!

I love a beer post-marathon. Even after the heat in Boston this year, it hit the spot! You'll love it.

Runthelongroad said...

Beer always motivates me!

Good luck this weekend!!

Middleaged Runner said...

Beer = excellent motivator!
Have a great run- wishing you the very best of luck!!

See Mom Run Far said...

I love love love LOVE cinnamon bears too. :) Can't have the ice cream and don't drink beer. But bring on the cinnamon bears!!! :)
I think you are so so ready for a strong race, physically and mentally. Can't wait to hear about it. Good luck and hugs my friend!

Kathy Reed said...

Awesome!!! My husband delights in finding the perfect beer for me post long runs - I love, love, love that! Best of luck this weekend!

Lisa@RunWiki said...

Sounds like you have some great thing to keep you going. Congratulations on your BQ for 2013. I just qualified as well, by two minutes as well and am trying to improve my time, as well. ; ) I hope to see you there! Cheers

Lisa said...

Yes, another warm day in store, but at least VCM starts earlier AND finishes on the shaded bike path, right?

I wish you a great race on Sunday!

Laura said...

I have been learning the same lesson about mental toughness... it makes or breaks the race! I'll be thinking of you this weekend, go earn those rewards! :)

Suzanne Westenhofer said...

Good luck racing this weekend!