I have wanted to break 1:30 in a half-marathon for about two years now, but I didn’t really start to believe I could do it until this year. I trusted my coach (Debi Bernardes) and I trusted my training, and over the past few months, my mind clicked in sync to trust my body. I found myself trekking at new speeds on the treadmill that I had never hit or been able to hold previously … it was a surreal few months of improvement. It’s always surreal when your body proves the doubts in your mind wrong. The body truly can achieve anything that the mind believes, and that is exactly what happened to me yesterday at the Philadelphia Half Marathon. Yesterday I redefined possible for myself.
The day started off with some bouts of bad luck. Traffic to the race was at a stand-still on the highways and getting off an exit ramp into the city to the race start was impossible as everything was blocked off. After sitting in traffic for an hour, Brandon pulled off onto the shoulder and sent me on my way. Decked out head-to-toe in pink, I hopped a fence off the highway (after getting the blessing of the cops that were guarding it) and ran a few miles to the start line. My wave was the first corral which started at 7:00am, and at 7:05am I was still 15 people deep in the Porta Potty line. The 40 degree morning was crisp and staying warm from the chilly winds was a challenge. It was not a morning of circumstances that boded well for a successful and stress-free race.
The first seven miles of my race were spent “people dodging;” starting in the wrong corral always necessitates extra weaving and strategic foot placement, and for me yesterday this was especially the case. Exhausting as it was to run faster than I anticipated in order to get past the masses of people, the game of weaving kept my mind engaged and entertained enough to distract from the building pain my legs were feeling from my 6:36 pace. I hit the 10K mark with a personal 10K best, slammed a PowerBar Gel for some extra energy and just kept my mind as clear as possible as I hit the hilly section of the course. For the next 4 miles my mind played games with my body. It was battle. My body wanted to shut down and my mind did too. The amazing thing about the positive mind though is that when trained in positive thinking, your mind will always revert to strong thoughts no matter the circumstances, or the pain. I have trained my mind and I have trained it to believe that my body can carry me through at a 6:40 pace for 13.1 miles, so even though my superficial mind wanted to give in, my inner mind and my spirit carried me to overcome the negative thoughts that had crept in alongside the building fatigue in my legs.
After I hit the 10-mile marker, and once I realized that my body had obeyed the positive mental training that I have worked so diligently on the past few months, my race changed. Suddenly, the effort of the run itself disappeared and the pain melted away. And while it wasn’t pain-free, it was freeing. My last three miles were a tangible expression of my body and my mind working harmoniously. I crossed the finish line in 1:28, two minutes under my goal and a solid six minute personal best. The body really will achieve what the mind believes.
Celebrate the possibilities that lie within you, be them fitness related, business related, or simply personal growth, you have possibilities within that you must bring to life. Never underestimate the power of training the mind in positive thinking because such training will pull through when you need it the most. Redefine possible.