I have to agree with the experts, running isn’t just a physical sport. Of course, if you’ve been happily ensconced on your couch like I was for many years, the physical part is going to be a bit of struggle to begin with. The mentality that invades your brain definitely, however, is a huge factor.
I remember the feeling I had when I “ran” my first half marathon. As soon as I crossed the start line, I practically set myself up for failure. I looked down the road and it seemed like there was no end in sight. I felt the walls of air (is that even possible) feeling like they were compressing me from all sides and keeping me at a standstill. I tried using the trees as a measure. If I could just get from this tree line to that tree line, but it felt like no matter how fast I went it took forever to move an inch. I psyched myself into being tired; I psyched myself into figuring out which mile marker to quit. I was concentrating so hard on the negative that I didn’t enjoy the on-course entertainment, let alone the cheering crowds as we raced through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
Fortunately my body, at some point, decided to stop listening to my mind and kept going, mile 6, mile 8, and mile 10… I made a vow that this year would be different. This year, I am actually preparing myself mentally. I fear it might be like getting on the Tower of Terror, I’m big talk until it comes time to buckle in; then my stomach drops and “what did I just get myself in to” sets in. I’m working on it though. I’m working on not giving in to that initial panic that I’ll be picked up along the course. I want to smile at the cheering crowds. Most importantly, take pride in the fact that I set to toe-to-line in the first place.