Posts Tagged ‘doubt’

10 days.

10 days ’til Boston – and doubt has started to creep in.

I have to remind myself that I have finished a marathon.  It wasn’t pretty, but I did. The thing is, it’s not the finishing that has become the constant occupier of my thoughts.  It is the how.  I have no doubt that I can finish.  I have no doubt that I can finish in under 4 hours.  At this point, especially after my performance at the Eastern States 20,  I have no doubt I can finish in 3:45.

But from that point, things get a little hazy.  3:30 is about where I think I know I can come in, but I want to prove to the running gods that I deserve this gift they’ve bestowed upon me.  Part of me feel like if I don’t run at least a 3:20, then I will be offending them…disappointing them.

I keep wondering what will happen at 16.  I know that Heartbreak Hill isn’t for another 5 miles, but that famed hill is not a mystery to me.  I’ve run it many times.  It will be hard – yes, harder than any time I’ve run it before – but I will know what to expect and for how long I will be running it.  It’s 16, where I seem to hit these “soft walls” that has me worried.

It doesn’t help that my buddy Pete seemed to have an issue with 16 in his first few marathons before he finally broke through with a great run at Disney this year.  What is it with 16?  It was the beginning of the end at Manchester and it shook my confidence briefly at Eastern States.

Doubt.  It’s an evil thing.

But it can also be a motivator.  It can be what keeps you mentally prepared and ready for that “moment”.  In every race, half marathon or longer, I’ve had a moment where my race could have gone one of two ways – when doubt about my ability to not only finish but finish strong grabbed me by the throat and tried to end my race.  In one race, it almost broke me.  In the other three I dug deep, faced doubt down and broke through with a smile on my face.  Doubt can destroy you, but it can also drive you.

The key so far for me has been to use it as a motivator and then draw on the strength of those around me.   At the Boston Run to Remember, I drew on the energy from the crowd.  At the Chilly Half and at Eastern States, it was from my fellow runners.  I have been told by my good friend Rick, a veteran of 22 Boston Marathons and a mentor of sorts, that the crowd at Boston will pull you through.  I plan on using them as much as I can.  According to Rick, you can hear the cheers at Wellesley College nearly two miles before you reach the college.  He says you can feel the fans on the Newton Hills willing you on.  He says as you come into Boston, the roar of the crowd can carry you home.

These are the tools that I will use to push doubt out of my mind while I run hard through the second half of Boston.

In the meantime, I will use my doubts as motivators to train smart, eat right, sleep well and take care of my legs.

10 days.

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