When Suzanne from Agent Athletica posted her October goal to do yoga
or meditation daily and challenged others to do it, I jumped on the
bandwagon. I’ve posted a few times about how I read Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence,
which encourages you to train your mind to think positively just as you
would train your body. I haven’t been consistent with that training,
and with my goal race two weeks away, I need to get serious about it.
committing to a minimum of ten minutes of daily meditation to visualize
a positive race experience. I’ve been doing this at the end of the day
right before bed. I ran the race last year, so I can visualize every
aspect of it–parking my car, picking up my race bib, taking the shuttle
to the start line, standing in the port-a-potty line, crossing the
start line, walking through water stations, and crossing the finish
line. I’m visualizing myself before the start feeling calm and relaxed. I
am seeing myself taking deep breaths if I start to feel anxiety. I’m
feeling confident, excited, ready. I’m feeling myself holding back on
speed at the start, where you run down a hill and can easily pick up
speed. I’m imagining the pretty fall leaves, the little waterfall beside
the trail, the smattering of cheering spectators when the trail crosses
the road, and the volunteers handing me water at the aid stations. I’m
smelling the crisp fall air, enjoying the cool weather, and feeling the damp fall leaves under my feet. I’m feeling
myself settling into my goal pace and being consistent with each mile.
The first half of the race is gone before I know it. I am seeing the
marker for mile 6 and hearing my breath, a little ragged now that I’m
halfway through, in my ears. I am not panicking. I am not thinking I
can’t hold the pace. Instead, I’m feeling strong and in control. If my
form starts to weaken, I straighten my spine, relax my shoulders, pick
up my feet. If I start to feel any nausea or pain, I allow myself a
brief walk break to shake it off. If I find myself slowing and am tired
and feel like quitting, I focus on my breathing, stay calm, and maintain
my pace. I do not give in. There goes 10 miles, then 11. I am feeling
good, feeling strong. I’m almost there! I pick up the pace slightly.
Mile 12. I call on every last ounce of energy I have and pick up the
pace more. I give the hill just before the finish line all I have. At
the top of the hill, I see the last downhill section and the finish
line. I fly down the hill. As I cross the finish line, I have a huge
smile on my face.
I will do this every night until the
race. Come race day, I will have already run the race in my mind many times, and I
will already have finished successfully. On race day, my body will achieve what my mind already did.