Eliminate Can’t



Saw this image multiple times on Facebook over the past few days – nicely sums up my biggest goal for the rest this training cycle!



The mental vs the physical

This morning was a mental run – you know the kind where you can’t get out of your own head….where the suck monkey is in full voice, strong and clear…where you are bargaining with yourself almost from the first step (just run to the mailbox, telephone pole, next song, etc.)

Yeah – it was that kind of run this morning.


In truth, more than a few of my runs have been like this lately. The runs have had very little to do with my physical side – the legs have been more than willing to go. Just can’t seem to get out of my own way at the moment. I know the heat and humidity of the past two weeks has certainly not helped…but it’s not all about the weather.

I am really looking forward to my fall race schedule but it is becoming increasingly clear to me to have the outcomes I want in the fall, I’ve got to spend more time training the one muscle I need above all else – my brain.

How do you mentally get yourself on the right track?




Newport 10 Miler – Race #3

Newport 10 Miler

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

This is how I started my email to Coach Bennett to let him know how the race went (my apologies to Charles Dickens) – pretty much sums up this race day.

A couple of weeks ago I ran the inaugural Newport 10 Miler with my running buddy E. Let’s just say this run did not go as I had hoped — in a nutshell, my stomach mysteriously decided to not cooperate just a mere 2 and half miles into the course. I have no idea what set it off because I have become boring and predictable in my pre-run/race fueling. But,  it was not happy and any attempt at picking up the pace was met with serious discomfort….not a great way to spend the remaining 7.5 miles!

By the mile 4 water stop, I was walking – I urged E to keep going saying I would catch up. And while I kept her in my sights for the next 2 miles, by the mile 6 water stop I did something I’ve never done in a race before – I came to a deadstop! Not good! This race really was a mental battle – there was a lot of self talk going on – I used every mental game I could think of to will myself through those final miles.

So what about “the best of times” part?

The course was beautiful! Seriously Newport is a beautiful spot to run – we were either along the water or running among the mansions. The wonderful scenery helped to be a much needed distraction.

Newport group 3

Jill, Nancy, Samantha, me & Amy

A chance to meet-up with these wonderful ladies is always good!


Got to finally meet the lovely Kim, co-leader of Black Girls Run Boston.  She hung out with E & I at the start and best of all I spotted her with just over a mile to go – she became just the focal point I needed to push hard and we ended up crossing the finish line together!

With Kim at Newport 10

Despite my stomach distress, the rest of me felt really good and still managed to will myself to tie my 10-mile PR! And while I wish I had been able to run every step with E, she absolutely rocked this race and is now talking about joining me for a half marathon – so proud of her!


The race itself was a good one – a couple of first year kinks like running out of some of the post-race food and poor planning on the t-shirt distribution…but those were minor. They were super-responsive to questions pre-race; it was a beautifully laid out course; and, they had a great group of enthusiastic volunteers at every water station. I will definitely be back to run this one again next year!




Monday Motivation: Each run gives you something

You know those runs where you feel like you’re just flying…the wind is at your back, your legs are firing on all cylinders and you could just keep going long past your target miles for the day?

Yeah…well this morning for me was NOT one of those runs! It was already pushing 80 at 6:15 this morning and when I stepped out my door my arch enemy humidity was waiting for me. Less than a mile in, I was a drippy, sweaty mess and I knew this was going to be one of those runs where I’d do a lot of bargaining with myself…”just 3 more telephone poles,” “OK, just get to the next stop sign.”

The good thing about this morning’s run? I pushed through and finished it. And, no matter how bad it felt while I was in the middle of it, it felt really good to have gotten it done.

After having a string of really good runs all last week, this morning’s run was a reminder that not all runs are great…but each run gives you something. This run made me focus more on my form, it tested my will when I just wasn’t feeling it and it kicked off my 3rd week of training…getting me just a little closer to my goal.

What did your run give you today?


The Mental Game

Spectating at the heat-fest known as the 2012 Boston Marathon on Monday got me thinking a lot about my own mental toughness. As I stood on the streets of Newton, watching runners gut it out in 89 degrees under a scorching sun, I was so impressed by how deep these people had to dig to will themselves to keep moving. I wondered what strategies they had used to build their mental strength…what mental tricks were they using now to push through the tough conditions.

How do you prepare yourself mentally for a race? There is a natural level of mental training that comes from doing the physical training. Through the long runs, tempo runs, track work, etc., you are faced with times where you must push through a tough workout, convince yourself to not give up on that last 1600 interval or even just will yourself to get out of bed and hit the road in the first place! There is no doubt that making the commitment to months of training for a race requires you to push yourself mentally.

But how else do you up your mental ante? — Do you use visualization? Vision boards? Running journals? Mantras? Draw on certain past races/training runs? I find mantras to be really helpful – short, powerful affirmations that help me stay positive and remember how I want to feel in a particular moment. And, while I have just a few races under my belt, each one is a learning experience and gives me some experiences to draw on when a race turns ugly.  For my upcoming half marathon, I’ve also started visualizing the course (easy to to do since I’ve run it before) – mentally walking through every turn and hill will hopefully boost my confidence on race day.

Despite the perfect training cycle and having a well-planned race strategy, days like yesterday prove that things can happen on race day that are well out of our control. In those moments, having a deep mental well to draw from makes all the difference!

Congrats to everyone who crossed the finish line in Boston – a huge physical and mental accomplishment!
How do you improve your mental game?