This morning I barely had my eyes open, scrolling through my Facebook feed when I did a double take. A "friend" posted this: "NEVER run a marathon. Just picture in your brain running one mile...then do that 26 times!". Needless to say that made me come alive. Real fast. I asked him if he was serious or if it was tongue-in-check. He responded back that he was serious. Now I was livid. His profile states he is a runner (and a "muscle & nutrition enthusiast" -whatever the hell that means). Are you kidding me? How can a runner even write that comment, let alone think that? Note: I'm not saying that all runners need a marathon to qualify them as a runner. But if you say you are a runner, the first thing you know is that running is a mental game. Your brain is a lot stronger than you think it is. Most people just don't train it. Yes, your legs/body may break down, but your head will get you to that finish line.
This comment was NOT "break each mile up into little pieces", but "if you think about how awful 1 mile must be, imagine how horrible 26.2 miles must be". Torture? Hell? Or the joy of finishing something that you didn't think you could do. The pride of a job well done run.
If you have to think about running a mile ahead of time, then don't call yourself a runner. Don't get off the couch. Don't feel the wind in your hair. Don't feel the satisfaction of completing a tough run. Don't feel the joy of running a personal best. Don't know what it is like to run a race with hundreds of other people. Don't be inspired by an amputee running (and passing you). In fact, stay in bed. Judge those who do run (marathons or ultra marathons) and call them crazy. Tell yourself you can't do it. Tell yourself you don't have the body. Tell yourself you aren't a "runner". Make all the excuses you want. Bottom line is you don't believe in yourself that you CAN do it.
What made me angry? The fact that the comment is a picture of what is wrong with our nation. If we think it is hard, we give up before we even start. If we think it might hurt, we don't even consider it. Who wants pain anyway? In fact this comment means this: "if you think you can't, you won't". I like to say this: "If you think you can, you will". If I told myself to think about 1 mile, how would I ever run 31 miles, 52.4 miles, or 100 miles? I am already admitting defeat. And I haven't even started!
PEOPLE, please remember this: set yourself up for success, not failure.
Yes, I am passionate about this. How can you not tell:)? I am passionate about running and life. If more people embraced whatever they fear, we wouldn't have so many naysayers (and wimps) in the world. If more people think positively, they would be empowered. And strong.
When I run long distances, I honestly don't think about the miles. I think about crossing that finish line (be at a race or a training run). I tell myself I can and WILL do it. And I do.
If something seems difficult, you are probably approaching it the wrong way. If a mile seems hard, then you need to reconsider the word "hard". People face homelessness, hunger, legs blown off, a son or daughter dying, a dad or mom facing cancer. A family who just lost a father serving our country. A sister who is blind. A brother who is deaf. A friend whose own family has abandoned her. That's hard.
Running is life. Life is running. Catch it while you can.
What are your thoughts? Would love to hear what you think on this topic.
Sarah Stanley runs marathons in her sleep. And believes in the power of thinking positively, training your brain for success and dark chocolate.
Photo by: Darwin Bell