Hal Higdon says, “One of the skills that separate the good runners from the almost-good runners is an ability to focus their attention for the entire period of the race, whether it is a mile or a marathon. Dissociating is a good strategy for beginning marathoners, but not for people who want to run fast.”
I read Hals words and know that it is true. This is one of the reasons that I have chosen not to run races with friends. While it is nice to have the company and distraction from challenges of the race, I know that I have issues when I don?t race alone. Take the Silicon Valley Marathon for example: although the first miles were close to my planned pace, they were a bit fast as I ran with Cindy for the 1st eight miles. Feeling that she wanted to go faster, I insisted that she go ahead only to find that her running ahead of me left me feeling slow. At CIM, in 2003, my sister joined me at mile 10. She meant well, but her enthusiastic ?helpful hints? rubbed me the wrong way. Instead of motivating me, they left me feeling unprepared. Sometimes the well meaning efforts of a friend can back firing in relation to keeping focuses during a race. Generally, I am a people person, but I am a loner when it comes to running. Where does the motivation come from then? I look to my refrigerator.
Now I know what you must be thinking, but read on as you might be wrong.
The side of my refrigerator is decorated with papers and photos. It has the usual display of my children?s select papers showing off a good grade or a certificate for perfect attendance in school. I don?t want my children to think that I have overlooked their hard efforts. Each week, as I go through the stack of papers, I choose a couple of special papers to plaster to the side of the refrigerator. They stay there for a week or so and then get filed in the circular file.
Then there is a section for my benefit. Beside the informational pamphlet, and confirmation card, for the Grandma?s Marathon I have a couple of other items. It starts with a picture of Cindy and I that was taken after running the Home Depot Half Marathon. Above that picture it says I-AM-FAST. Then there are small magnetized words spelling out BORN-TO-HAVE that are placed strategically above a picture magnet of BOSTON. Finally, the refrigerator has my printed training schedule. It is all for the purpose of motivation.
I consult the schedule to remind myself what this weekend holds for me. On Saturday, I will run a 7 mile run at marathon pace, followed by a 15 mile long run on Sunday. I?m 10 weeks away from Grandma?s Marathon, and I will need to stay focused on my goal now more than ever before. In order to stay motivated, I set a goal, plan the training it will take to achieve it, and recognize the little achievements along the way. At least I TRY to.