New York Spirit

“Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic.” – Tim Noakes

In the current edition of Running Times, the magazine takes a look at Meb Keflezighi’s amazing Boston Marathon victory.

Since the magazine’s arrival, it’s been sitting next to the couch until today when I stopped home during my lunch break. After turning a few pages, I stopped to read the article on Meb, whose story has always intrigued me. It includes a priceless quote from Bernard Lagat, another inspiring and amazing runner: “We believe we can still run hard… And we believe that it is actually up to (us) to decide what (we) want to do.”

The quote, while intended to describe elites, really is more universal.

At least I believe it can be applied to runners of all ages and levels.

Within the past week, I’ve come to believe my prior running form is once again possible. For most of the past year, I’ve lacked that self-belief for several reasons: sidelined by injuries, straddled with a lack of fitness and feeling the weight of life’s demands.

At some point, my running turned the corner. I knew that lost fitness doesn’t come back overnight. In fact, I read that it takes 3 weeks to regain fitness lost from a week off. Those types of numbers meant it could take some time to regain my form. Medical tests, chiropractor appointments, switching back to my old shoe model and lots of consistent training has bolstered my confidence that I can climb – slowly – back into condition of running marathons my way.

In part, the 30 Days of Running campaign really helped. It helped me commit to running every day – without excuses. I told myself that if I could make it every day in June, then perhaps the entire summer would be possible.

There were a few days I missed. But I’ve run every day in July, and instead of feeling tired and worn out, I’ve gained strength, stamina and determination.

It’s the law of momentum: It’s easier to maintain momentum than create it.

Running the Red, White and Boom half on Independence Day didn’t yield a spectacular finishing time for me. It gave me something much more important: a race in which I managed the pain, experienced the joy of racing tactics again and the confidence that days and days of running are beginning to pay dividends.

It also renewed my spirits for the New York City Marathon and the training needed to go there and compete to do my best.

Since then, I’ve also come across this gem of a statement:

“Lack of confidence leads to anxiety and tension and reduced motivation,” says Cindra S. Kamphoff, Ph.D, Director of the Center for Sport and Performance Psychology at Minnesota State University, in this 2013 Running Times article. “Confidence is one of the most important predictors of running performance. When I talk to runners, I tell them, ‘Confidence is up to you—you and your mind.’”