I stayed at my parents’ home in NC when I ran the Wrightsville Beach Marathon. Naturally, for the long weekend away I brought along some Runner’s World magazines. For theming, of course!
Post-race and oh, so well-deserved shower, I plunked myself down on the bed and flipped through an issue. I hit upon an article about the importance of having a mental plan in place for a race. Having just run a marathon, I was nodding along – I firmly believe that the only difference between a marathon finisher and non-finisher is that when the finisher hit the wall, they kept on plugging anyway.
But the bit about race mantras threw me off. Race mantras, RW declared, should be purely positive. While there is the rare person who responds to expletives, they should be avoided.
I thought back to my, er, “motivational phrases” during the marathon I had literally just run. I’ve never been one to swear like a sailor, but whatever internal coach my brain channels definitely does. During the race, I asked myself repeatedly if I was a pansy-ass motherf***ing QUITTER. I called myself all sorts of names. And I told myself some of your standard “you can do this” general stuff as well. But mostly the self-flagellation and swearing.
I dunno, though. I may be in the minority, but I think this approach kinda works for me. Mind you, if a real, external person tried the same tactics to get me to do some, I would immediately sit down right on the trail and refuse to budge, because that’s the kind of jerk I am. But somehow when I yell at myself like that I know I’m doing it because I know I can do it. I’m asking myself if I’m a pansy-ass because I’m NOT a pansy-ass! Watch me get that medal!
During the Parkway Classic, I was powering up a hill when my mantra popped into my mind. This time, it immediately made me laugh.
And so I think, for now, I shall be maintaining my race mantras just as they are… motherf***ers.
What’s your race mantra?
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