April 13, 2012

Finding My Strong

In 9 days, I will be toeing the line of my first international marathon. It will be my 4th time tackling the distance and my 3rd time racing it.

It's been nearly a month since I've written a "Training Tuesday" post. Between the stress of my thesis, my back injury, a stomach virus and some other things, my training hasn't been where I've wanted it to be and I haven't wanted to talk about it.

But looking back, sure, I've missed some runs but I've actually had a really great training cycle. I nailed all of my long runs and have really been picking up the pace on my shorter runs.

For the last few weeks though, I had resigned myself to the fact that I would not go sub-4 in Madrid.

Until yesterday.

When The Pilot took me to get some new running shoes on my  birthday, I had no idea what shoes I wanted. I tried on all of the big brands: Brooks, Asics, Nikes, etc. I didn't know much about Sauconys but had recently started reading more and more blog posts from runners that had started running in Saucony shoes.

I came home with my Sauconys and recently started adding a second pair to my rotation and for the first time, I've actually felt like my shoes make a difference in my running.

It's not shoes that I'm here to talk about though. Saucony launched an ad campaign around this time last year called "Find Your Strong." I had never seen it or, if I did, had never paid attention to it but lately, I've been spending a lot of time on the Saucony website. They've set up a series of challenges that allow you to 'Share Your Strong' for a chance to win Saucony prizes. Naturally, I've been entering each of these, but the amount of time I've spent on the website has led me to watch an absurd amount of "Find Your Strong" commercials on YouTube and to really start thinking about what strong means.

"Maybe strong is just what you have left when you've used up all your weak."

Right now, I'm reading a book called "The Power of One" an unbelievable story about a young English boy in South Africa who grows up dreaming of becoming the welterweight boxing champion of the world. I'm about 100 pages from finishing it but I'm going to go ahead and put it out there to say that this is the best book I've ever read. I know I haven't finished it and that the end could totally change that but I love this book. I've never experienced a book and come to know characters the way that I do with this book. It's an absolutely incredible story.

Yesterday, while reading it, I came across this quote: 

"The power of one is above all things the power to believe in yourself, often well beyond any latent ability you may have previously demonstrated. The mind is the athlete; the body is simply the means it uses to run faster or longer, jump higher, shoot straighter, kick better, swim harder, hit further, or box better"...It means "thinking well beyond the powers of normal concentration and then daring your courage to follow your thoughts."

This quote absolutely consumed me on my 5 mile run yesterday. I have never been so focused on anything on a run ever before. I could not stop thinking about this quote. "The mind is the athlete." "Believe in yourself beyond any ability you may have previously demonstrated." The constant thinking and analyzing that quote led me to start thinking about my race plan in Madrid - and for the first time, I wasn't thinking about if I would go sub-4 in Madrid, I was thinking about how I am going to go sub-4 in Madrid. I started thinking about my execution strategy and thinking about the course based on the video posted on the course website.

I came home from that run and looked into my bathroom mirror, where I posted the cut out from Runners' World that Morgan gave me last week reading 3:59:59 and for the first time since I've put that on my mirror,  I truly believed that I will see that number when I cross the Finish Line in Madrid next week.

My strong is the power to believe. It is the ability to think beyond the powers of normal concentration and dare my courage to follow my thoughts. 

That is the power of one.
That is my strong.


  1. Wow! Such an inspirational post. I remember reading that book in highschool, and I LOVED it. I wasn't a runner then, but that quote is phenomenal. I think I am going to print it out...thank you for sharing!!

    I am so pumped for your race-you are going to do AWESOME. Can't wait to hear about it.

  2. As I've said many times, you are destined for success! Loved that quote--I think that I'm going to share it with the students that I teach; perhaps it will continue to motivate them as they continue their studies.

    Best of luck on your journey to Madrid; looking forward to reading/hearing all about it. :)

  3. I LOVE that quote. The "Find Your Strong" campaign gives me such chills. I KNOW you will crush Madrid!

  4. wow...good luck on your race. how fun!


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