George Patton once said, “Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You must make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”
During my training for the Marine Corps Marathon I discovered just how accurate George was. I haven’t been able to put my finger on why but my training runs have been hard, really hard. Up until now running has been fun and my training has been challenging but I still found joy. This time something is vastly different. The only thing I can attribute it to is my mind. My body is fine, I am physically able to accomplish each run, but my mind is another story.
I spent the past few weeks trying to diagnose my issue with this race. There is one common thing on all my bad runs, after I pass 10 miles I get in a funk. My mind shifts focus and I begin to wonder why on earth I am still running and what is the point of all the running. As soon as I drift into this type of thinking there is a change in my body. I go from being light and airy to having legs to heavy a crane would have difficulty lifting them. I shift from having no pain to having everything hurt.
During my last 20 mile run I had another discovery. Your body will only go as far as your mind will take it. My plan was to do a 20-mile run. Unfortunately I was a little off when I mapped my mileage. I finished 20 and still had another 1.5 or so to go. I intended to keep going but shortly after my watch beeped indicating I finished my last mile, my body shut down.
This training has me terrified about the race. I wonder how I am going to finish 26.2 miles when I barely get 20 in before I quit. But I guess it’s time to shift my thinking. I know I am capable of finishing the race. I know my body has the capacity to go even further. I just have to get my mind to believe this. So on race day I know it might hurt like hell, but if my mind doesn’t hurt my body won’t. And if my mind doesn’t quit, neither will my legs.
Semper Fidelis, MCM 2012 here I come.