I had a goal to run a marathon before I turned 30 so I did. I ran the Twin Cities Marathon when I was 28. I had just finished my master’s degree while working full-time and learning piano. My running and exercise regime had been inactive to say the least and I knew I needed some help to get to the finish line. Three months before the marathon I had been running only three miles – a week. I was a top runner in high school track and cross-country and did triathlons in college so I was way behind where I expected I should be.
I found the American Lung Association Running Club and joined its 12-week marathon training program. “If it’s not working do something different” so that’s what I did.
In that program, I met people who had run only as far as three miles - ever - in their lives. It was inspirational to witness their dedication. They showed up and worked hard for a goal they really wanted to accomplish.
The night before the marathon I read a letter the coach had given me and I scanned the training program guide book full of nuggets of wisdom from world class athletes, doctors, and inspirational figures.
When I got to mile 20 (the most I had ever run in my life until that point) I wasn’t sure I could keep going. I knew I wanted to but my legs were stiff. I have always been very competitive and limping the rest of the way wasn’t my style. The last few miles were a steady incline. I had lost my momentum.
An "old guy" passed me at a steady pace wearing one of the special "senior" vests to identify those over 65. I started to doubt myself.
Then I remembered two things I had read the night before that were very helpful. “Pump your arms and your legs will follow.” And, “You only have to lift your legs. Gravity will take care of the rest.”
I started repeating that over and over again in my head. “Pump your arms and your legs will follow. Gravity will take care of the rest.” I visualized it. I started moving and it worked! That mantra gave me the momentum I needed to cross the finish line. (And I passed that "old guy" along the way.)
When things get tough and you feel like you don’t have any more energy to give to your initiative, what can you do to stay focused on the outcome? To cross the finish line?
Please share one of your favorite mantras with me. And keep on moving!