Head Games and a Run to Nowhere

Not the easiest of mantras when you’re tackling 13 miles on the treadmill. But let me back up a bit… (And by the way, this is the closest thing to a “gym selfie” you’ll ever get from me. Though it amazes me how many guys use those types of pics on dating sites. And how many are taken with people blatantly watching on in the background. Anyways…)
This has been a crazy week! I had intentions of doing a post earlier in the week and then the days have just slipped by. So here it comes, all at once, in one fabulous posting!
Tuesday Dr. Carter, one of the psychologists at Spaulding and a marathon runner himself, gave us a talk entitled “It’s All in Your Head.” This was a very welcomed topic coming off my recent distance PR of 15 miles, at least 3 miles of which I contemplated calling a cab to pick me up mid run.  Essentially we covered some of the mind games of running and strategies to overcome that dreaded “wall.”  I’m looking forward to trying out some of the techniques. I think a big one for me will be positive framing – “wow, I just ran 10 miles!” Instead of “ugh so many more miles to go…” I also think refocusing thinking is going to be important. As my mileage increases, while I respect the need to be in tune with your body, I am finding myself beginning to focus on fatiguing muscles that really aren’t a concern they’re just, understandably, tired. My continued thinking about that tired feeling makes the sensation even worse. I am going to try and redirect mental energy in other ways. I’ll have to figure out what works for me, as many of my teammates run with music but that’s really not my preference. I’ll keep you all updated on what I work out. I’m thinking I just end up telling myself weird stories. One perk of growing up an only child, I can generally find ways to entertain myself, even in my head. Ha!
Going in to this weekend’s long run I actually wasn’t expecting I’d have to pull much from this lecture. Only needing to run 13 miles this long run was a small “fall back” compared to last weekend. Then the snow had a different plan. I heeded my parents’ advice (or was it an order?) to not run on slippery unshoveled sidewalks or down the center of busy roads. That really left me few options and to the Y I went, mentally preparing myself for my treadmill distance PR. 
I will very cautiously say that it was not as bad as I expected. Mind you, it still kind of sucked (especially miles 10-13) but I got through it and am happy I did. I don’t want to start falling into an excuse pattern because this cause, this process and this accomplishment just means too much to me. Distraction was easy since I watched a few episodes of “Project Runway: Under the Gunn.”  I know, there are athletic feats of indescribable proportions going on with the Olympics, but what can I say? I’m motivated by caddy fashion designer banter. 
The next few long runs have me going 17, 18 and then 19 miles, so I am really REALLY hoping Mother Nature cooperates and I can enjoy the outdoors for those distances. It feels kind of cool, in a weird way, to have tackled the treadmill like this but I will take hitting the road and the fresh air over a run to nowhere any day!
My last little diddy is about my awesome day yesterday on the mountain. Training for the marathon has significantly limited the times I can get up to my ski program, the New England Handicapped Sports Association (NEHSA), to teach on the weekends. I was so happy to finally be able to head up yesterday and much to my excitement a patient I had worked with in the summer was who I would be skiing with all day!

This was Jeff’s third time on the mountain and he was skiing the mono ski like he had been out way more often than that. It was such a privilege for me to spend the day with him and to see and hear how far he had come since being in Spaulding. While I believe Jeff’s successes since his injury are all accounted to his hard work, motivation and self-determination, it still made me really proud to spend time with him outside the hospital and feel that at least in some small way Spaulidng helped set him on this awesome path. The people I get to meet through my work inspire me every day and I, once again, was able to reflect on how honored I am to be running the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. 
So yeah, it’s been a pretty great week. I’m rounding out this long weekend with a lot more fun to come and a crazy busy social calendar the rest of this week that’s making me kind of question when I decided I was so cool and could do it all. Guess coolness just kinda happens 😉

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