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A Checkup From the Neck Up!

by Amanda

Those close to me know that I worry…A LOT!!!  Whether it’s the weather forecast for next Saturday, the blister on my toe, the email I forgot to send at work, or the possibility I may not have unplugged my straightener before leaving the house, the worries occupy my mind for far longer than they should. With less than 3 weeks before my Boston qualifying attempt at the Last Chance BQ2 Marathon, I am quite the basket case.

Here’s how my mind raced this past weekend…Is my training pace too fast or slow? Should I eat that cracker? How many miles should I have on my shoes for race day? Will that 2nd glass of wine hurt my training run tomorrow? How about the 3rd? Should I wear this year’s team singlet or last year’s? Who’s going to come watch me? Can I really keep an 8:25 pace for 26.2 miles? Am I ready for this? What if I fail?

I really have no reason to doubt myself. I’ve trained my butt off since last Christmas and followed my plan without any major setbacks. I’m stronger and running better than ever. I experienced a couple tough workouts due to the hot, humid conditions but that is expected. So why am I playing mind games with myself? Is it just my nature?

Jimmy likes to say, “Alright Amanda, you need a checkup from the neck up”. In other words, time to get my head straight. Jimmy does a good job trying to motivate me but at times like this I turn to my Coach, Eric Wallor from FPR. He always finds a way to get inside my head and make things right again.

I wanted one last run on the BQ2 course before race day. So this past Sunday I asked Eric to join me, Jimmy and a couple of our Running Mates for a 7 mile run on the course. Eric, passionate about the Olympics, bypassed the Olympic Men’s Marathon to run with me. That speaks to his amazing character. Of course we all recorded the event to watch later in the day.

Missy and I with our awesome leader Eric,
Missy and I with our awesome leader Eric,

Eric and I set out on the run ahead of the others. With discussions about my progress, realizing potential, and race day tactics it didn’t take long for my confidence to build. He advised me to make sure I think positive for the next 3 weeks. Remove any negativity from my life if at all possible. If that means not watching the news then so be it. He reminded me to trust my training and said, “You are ready and you will crush it!”

We finished what was supposed to be a 1 hour recovery run well below marathon goal pace while holding a conversation the entire time. Eric said, “I would normally advise against that speed on a recovery run but it’s a testament to where you are at in your training.” More boost!!!

With an improved attitude, I went home and watched the last 6 miles of the Men’s Olympic Marathon. The performances by Galen Rupp and Jared Ward were simply incredible. To know it was only Rupp’s second marathon made it almost unbelievable. I had goose bumps. To see Meb suffer in-race struggles yet dig deep and find a way to finish 33rd was truly courageous. They made our country proud and left me inspired.

A while back Eric suggested I read a book titled. “A Champions Mind” by Jim Afremow. It’s a motivating book on how successful athletes think, train & thrive. So far, so good. On my training runs this week I’ve had a different type of energy. I always say I like to run but these last couple have been more enjoyable than normal. I have post-it notes on my desk at work to help me stay focused and positive.

Daily reminders at the office!
Daily reminders at the office!

Here’s part of an email that Eric sent to me and two others he coaches who are also running Last Chance BQ2:

All three of you can qualify for Boston at this race. If you haven’t started to do some kind of visualization about the race I would like you to start now.

I want you see yourself running well throughout the race and crossing the finish line and qualifying for Boston. I want you to feel what that feeling will be like, what that experience will be like. And finally, I want you to visualize the joy and celebration you will have once you accomplish this.

So, see it, feel it, and enjoy it. Do that visualization 2-3 times a week starting now. Along with all the training and other preparation we are doing the more you can internalize and believe you will achieve your goal the more likely it will happen.”

I will cross this line on September 10th
I will cross this line on September 10th

Words of wisdom from a great leader! Thanks Eric!

I’d like to know…If you’re ever self-doubting or unmotivated, what do you do about it?  What are some things you do to keep and maintain a positive attitude?

Please comment below!

Thanks!!!!

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