Boston Marathon/ Fitness/ Motivation/ Running/ Strength Training

Second Thoughts and a New Hero


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.

-Shalane Flanagan

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.

-Shalane Flanagan

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.

Good luck in your training this year, Shalane! With hard work and determination I know that we will both accomplish our goals! I AM CAPABALE OF QUALIFYING, and Shalane, you are certainly capable of winning!

Question: How do you overcome the negative self-talk monster?
How do you motivate yourself to keep going when you feel completely beat up and defeated?
Who is your hero?


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  • Jess@Flying Feet in Faith
    April 23, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    I have felt every single one of your self doubts and questions! What keeps me going? Having a purpose, like Shalane says. Being a marathoner makes you a stronger person inside and out. My son sees all I accomplish and monkey see, monkey do. He’s accomplishing much ! My son is my hero. 🙂 I like Kara Goucher too !!

  • Coco
    April 23, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Great post. When I find myself overthinking and doubting I try to just stop thinking and focus on doing.

    Not to interfere, but people I know are really doing well with the Run Less, Run Faster program – maybe if you are feeling beat up already you should check it out.

  • Carla
    April 24, 2014 at 7:01 am

    At times I fear I set my goals too low….too attainable…but it’s just where I am right now.

  • Amanda - RunToTheFinish
    April 24, 2014 at 8:52 am

    oh man I may need to bookmark this so I can read it again!! you are definitely in my head. I have other goals this year so BQ isn’t top of the list, but it is something I secretly really want to do…then I worry if I truly have the guts to do the training 🙂 Great quotes and good luck in your journey!!

  • Jen @ pretty little grub
    April 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I loved this! Shalane is definitely inspirational. And you are MOST definitely capable of qualifying!
    Just out of curiosity though, why would you not run the marathon if you qualified?

    • Janice
      April 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Lack of money & lack of spousal support – does everyone who qualifies “get in” to run if they apply?

  • Chelle
    April 24, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    I am so at the same point as you, however I am very much haunted by mental blocks and self doubt this year. Last year I was in the best physical shape of my life, well on my way and then it slipped from me and allowed life and stress to overcome my goals. I have friends that are my mentors. That are awesome. I just keep at it because I know it will be worth it.

    You are truly inspiring. I have followed you for years. Keep at it. You are worth it. And if you don’t that is awesome too. Because then another opportunity will open up to just as great!

  • rachel @RunningRachel
    April 30, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Oooh good question. Combating the negative talk monster is always a struggle. I think that is a muscle one must work on constantly. During the long runs when you are working on your physical endurance one must also work on their BRAIN endurance. I believe the BRAIN is the most powerful ‘muscle’ in the body when it comes to running and endurance training. Once you have trained that to think positively to push you forward… you can do anything! 🙂


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