I started to walk just before mile 20. A woman on the bike who was leading the way said to me
" You're not going to stop now are you? You are in the lead and will win this marathon. You have at least a four minute lead on the second woman."
I was in my zone when I was running and I did not even realize I was the first woman. I had been running alone with no one around me for the last ten miles. Then it hit me, " Wow, I could really win this thing... win my first ever marathon. I can do this!"
After about three minutes of walking I started to run again. The woman on the bike gave me a smile and continued to lead the way. I started to feel better and I saw 6:30 pace on my watch.
The crowd started to thicken as I approached the finish. People were yelling and cheering for me. As I turned the corner I saw the finish line. I ran through the finishing tape. It was the best feeling ever and I was only a little over a minute off my Chicago PR. I did it!
I am proud that I have never quit a race or walked off a course. In order to achieve our highest level we all must overcome the negative thoughts that try and take over when we are at our weakest. Preparing mentally before the race will allow you to fight back and achieve your goal.
There has been a point in every race when I wanted to quit. From the 5k to the marathon I always have that moment when I felt I want to walk off the course or slow down. So how do I get through this rough spot? What works for me is focusing on my goal pace and remembering the times in my training I have successfully run that pace. I tell myself I have done this before and I believe in my training.
Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to 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 morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were
younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired...You've always
got to make the mind take over and keep going."
- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General and 1912 Olympian
The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong.
You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet.
It is the will to succeed."
- Jacqueline Gareau, 1980 Boston Marathon champ