I think self-help books are hoakey. Always have. So of course when I started running longer distances and I kept hearing and reading about the importance of finding a mantra to say to yourself to help you along the way. To me they all sounded pretty stupid and along the lines of:
You go girl!
You can do this!
I will not devote this post to how much I can’t stand the phrase “You go girl.” But one day if we’re having some drinks and you really want to know I will be more than willing to list all of the reasons why. But I digress.
So how did someone who is so anti self-help come to find a mantra? Poor planning that’s how.
Every year New York Road Runners holds three long training runs in Central Park. These events tend to sell out rather quickly so without looking at my calendar. About a week later registration opened up for another one of my favorite races, the Damon Runyon 5k at Yankee Stadium. Again, without looking at my calendar, I registered for the race. You guessed it, one training run and the 5k were on the same day.
At first I thought I would skip the 5k but, for this Yankee fan, turning down the opportunity to run two laps around the warning track at Yankee Stadium is hard — very hard. So with 14 miles scheduled on the training plan and hoping for a little help from the NYC subway system I decided to do both.
As I started my 11 miles in Central Park I kept telling myself to take it easy because there would be over 180 steps to climb up at Yankee Stadium. But I kept up a steady pace because it felt comfortable and as all runner’s know when you feel that good you just keep going with it. At about the nine mile mark and my least favorite part of Central Park to run in (the lower loop from W. 72nd down and around to E. 72nd.) I felt myself wanting to give in and slow down.
That is when I said to myself, “You’ve got a goal for this marathon and there is no quitting, keep running.” And that is how my mantra was born. So I kept running and finished strong.
But my day wasn’t over, there was still that little 5k at Yankee Stadium. For once the MTA cooperated and I got to the stadium in with just enough time to spare and not enough time to ponder what might happen with my quads.
The 5k was tough but I kept repeating that new mantra and again, finished strong and with a new course PR.
I don’t know if there is a rule about the length of a mantra because I know mine is a little wordy. But I like words and if you know me that mantra makes sense.
I’m still not going to buy a self-help book.