A year almost to the day, I wrote a post on my (then only) blog called The Curious Thing About Running. I was fresh off my second half marathon and while it was difficult, I was excited to complete a challenge that required both physical and mental toughness. As a matter of fact, I said that very thing:
The curious thing about running is this: it’s a challenge that’s both physical and mental. That means completing the physical gives you an immediate high — that endorphin high I was talking about. But once that goes away, you’re left with a different high. It’s the high you feel by knowing that you’re mentally tough enough to run a distance you’ve never run before…
And that is definitely true. But a funny thing happened after that. See, I live in the Northeast, and it was January. And the Northeast in January is cold. And running in the cold is pretty high up on my “things I least want to do” list.
Plus, I was getting married in less than 6 months! There was so much to do!
Did I mention it was cold?
I kind of fell off the wagon of running. Sure I had all of these amazing thoughts and feelings. I got pretty emotional after that race, and since then I’ve run a 10K and attempted another half, but it didn’t work out. I stopped training.
Turns out you can’t take a 10 month break from running and expect to just get back into it. Running is not riding a bike.
The very thought of running right now is not unfathomable, but it’s definitely not high up there on my list of things to do. I lost that mental toughness that I was talking about.
So What Now?
So what now indeed. The excuses can keep coming, if I so desire:
- But I have so much work to do.
- I have a baby coming in less than 2 months!
- It’s still January! SO COLD.
After I couldn’t do the last half marathon I attempted, I beat myself up…a lot. I couldn’t believe I failed at something I was so sure I’d be able to do. But then you know what I did? I went back to doing nothing about it. It’s way easier to be mad at yourself for a short amount of time than to commit to a several months long process.
To be honest, I think my wife is a little relieved that I’m not running long distances in the shape I’m in. At 257 lbs, distance running is rough on everything. So I need a new plan.
Finding that Mental Toughness
I want to get that feeling back — the one I felt after completing the last half marathon. This past weekend had me thinking a lot about it because it was the 2017 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend.
I need to devise a plan that starts with easing my way back into running, along with weight loss. Sure, I’ve been walking a lot more. I’ve been eating better. Those are the physical hurdles I need to overcome in order to be able to run 13.1 miles again, this time without worrying my friends and family.
But I also need to find that mental toughness.
Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical. -Yogi Berra
I love that quote from Yogi Berra, and not only because it’s one of his most famous Yogisms. I think it can be said of a lot of challenging activities. You need to commit yourself to it, both mentally and physically. You need to give 140%. That’s more than the normal 110% you hear about.
To be honest, I’m not sure how I will find that mental toughness I need. There’s a lot of other things I’d rather do with my free time besides running. Good thing I have a good support system. You can see some of them in the photos above.
But I know I want to. Now I just need to.