Just a little over a month ago, the day after I posted my last blog expressing a great amount of DOUBT in myself prior to the Chicago Marathon, I had a pivotal conversation with my current coaches Benny and Kevin from Runners Edge.
Benny is a very experience coach and runner himself, he not only gave me very specific guidance for the the Chicago Marathon route, he looked back on his spreadsheets to some interval workouts we had done in the months before, hand calculated some numbers on a sticky note and proceeded to tell me:
“you are capable of running under 3:25″
I responded with “WHHAAT?” No way! I listed my excuses… I packed my bags still planning to run a 3:35-3:40 if that…still with those words above ringing in my head….
Winston and I travelled to Chicago and absolutely fell in LOVE with the city. We did all the “wrong” things like walking ~20k around the city 2 days before, indulging in Happy Hours and eating rich, delicious food.
Then morning before race day Winston and I were eating breakfast and the infamous Bongo Room (with what seemed like the rest of the 45,000 Chicago Marathon runners)….and came across THE ABBOTT WORLD MARATHON MAJORS, achallenge of running 6 major international marathons: (Tokyo, London, Boston, Berlin, Chicago and NYC).
My eyebrows raised and I instantly placed this new item on my bucket list. 2 and 2 added up – the qualifying time for a guaranteed entry to NYC Marathon was under 3:26.
Then and there I decided to try for the pace Benny said I was capable of running. I would set out and hold between 7:40-8:00 min/mile pace for the first 15 miles and reassess there. With no fear of failure. On the sidelines, chasing me around the city was my very supportive fiance, Winston and what felt like the entire city of Chicago. I never reassessed, I…Just. Kept. Running.
The race itself ended up being surreal, it was a spectacular crisp fall day with bluebird sky. Little went through my head, but these three things, (and NYC marathon)
- Benny’s words: “you are capable of running under 3:25″
- A focus on swinging my arms parallel and not across the midline of my body
- And this image of feet moving circularly from the book the Chi of Running
After 5 years of being a coach myself, I had sincerely forgot how truly powerful words are. Words have the ability to either positively or negatively to be the catalyst to great action. I have had a lot of coaches in my time back in my rowing days. The effective coaches are those with the ability help realize self belief.
“You can have all the tools in the world but if you don’t genuinely believe in yourself, it’s useless”. ~Ken Jeong
How many times can we all look back in life and say – “I wish I believed in myself more?”
All too many I am sure. Lesson learned, the 2016 Chicago Marathon for me was about belief. Next time you are doubting yourself, maybe ask a mentor, friend or coach – I bet they believe in you more than you can imagine.