Confession time: Over the past few weeks I’ve had second thoughts about my goal to try to qualify for the 2016 Boston Marathon this fall. When I’m pushing myself through my long runs my brain is full of negative self-talk and questions:
- Do I really want this?
- Do I really want to put in ALL of this hard work and training with a very good chance that I’ll fail?
- How embarrassing would it be if I fail?
- How will I find the time to train like this over the summer, and this fall around the kids sports schedules (field hockey, softball, soccer, swimming lessons, and hockey)?
- How many more weeks of feeling constantly like I’ve been hit by a truck can I take?
- Do I have the mental toughness to do this?
- Can my body handle this training?
- How much longer will my family tolerate the mess in the house because Mommy is just too tired to clean?
In all honesty, I’ve been having some serious second thoughts about how badly I want this and whether or not I am physically capable of improving my pace and endurance to the point where I can qualify. As I train and train, beat myself up, and watch my improvements slowly trickle in I wonder how much longer can I push myself like this? And I occasionally ask myself how badly do I want to push myself like this? Am I actually capable of qualifying?
And then I saw this quote from Shalane Flanagan after her 7th place finish in 2:22:02 after she broke her personal record of 2:25:38 and set the fastest time ever run by an American woman on the Boston course on Monday:
I think when you feel a great sense of purpose, that there’s meaning behind everything that you do. Every pushup that I did. Every crunch that I did. Every little shake-out run. Every stride. There was a purpose to everything I did.
And it clicked with me. I am sure there were many many times in her training when Shalane questioned her abilities, was hurting from the training and had self-doubt too. But she kept on training, training with purpose, and often times her coach pushed her to train harder than her body and her brain wanted to. All because she had a goal:
I can say right now, I’ll be back here until I win it,” Flanagan said. “I’ll be back to challenge Jeptoo.
Now my goal is not to win the Boston Marathon, or even to actually run the Boston Marathon. It’s to qualify. To be able to say to everyone who has ever said to me: “Oh you’re a runner? Have you ever run the Boston Marathon?”, that yes, I’ve literally worked my a$$ off and have given it everything I have and I qualified. Actually qualifying AND running in the Boston Marathon would be the icing on the cake.
So I can relate to Shalane and her determination. She gives me the inspiration I need right now because everything I do from now until I qualify has a purpose: Every squat jump, every lunge jump, every row, push up, plank, kettlebell swing and run is towards my goal. I have found a new hero in Shalane and you can bet that I will be following her training to motivate me every time I need an extra push.
How do you motivate yourself to keep going when you feel completely beat up and defeated?
Who is your hero?