We all know that training will only take you so far during a marathon. A runner must be mentally and physically prepared for the challenge of 26.2 miles, and the right mindset can make or break a run. I have been thinking a lot about my brain fuel for Sunday’s Cleveland Marathon – what I will use to carry me through when things get tough or when I just need a little boost. I have a combination of things that will be on my mind during the race.
Let’s start with the positives. My kiddles. I use them for inspiration on every long run, and I always carry something that makes me think of them. For my first two marathons I wore a shirt that they decorated (with help from my mom), and my third marathon, I had a good lucky charm on my shoe. This year, I will be wearing a hair bow that they made for me…gotta look good, right?
Miles 2, 3, 4, and 5 are always dedicated to them (miles 1 and 25 are mine). When I am running, I think about each of them separately and what makes them special and unique. I try to remember funny things that they have said or done over the years and experiences that we’ve had. I also think about what it felt like to be in labor with them, because I know if I made it through natural labor three time, including a set of twins, I can finish this damn marathon.
Another group of people that I always think of are “my fam” (Mom, Dad, Stevie, Tracy, Sarah, Rhett, Sophia, Susannah, Savannah, Mackenzie, and Raymond…he is included, too). This number has grown over the past few years, and I am happy to run a mile for each of them. They are always there for me and have supported my running endeavors.
My grandparents are a special group, and I dedicate a mile to each of them. I am fortunate enough to still have my Grandma and Grandpa Lesco, and they are one of the cutest couples I know. I just love when Grandpa refers to Grandma as his “beautiful bride” after more than 60 years together. Not too many people get to experience that much together. My Grandma and Grandpa Gielink are living happily in heaven, but they are always on my mind during a race. I miss them both terribly, but I know they are watching over me. My hardest miles (usually 22-24) are dedicated to them.
Negatives will help fuel my race, too. On Sunday, I will be thinking of those that I refer to as snakes.
They are the insidious people who slither through society, poisoning it just by existing. You know these people in your own lives. The ones who feel better about themselves by bringing down others. The ones whose egos are so big they can’t fit through the door. The ones who never quite graduated from middle school antics although they are well into adulthood or are at least old enough to be considered adults. The ones who are quick to point out others’ faults without acknowledging their own shortcomings. Why will I be thinking of them on Sunday? Because with every step I take forward, I will envision myself crushing them. Their hate makes me stronger.
What will you use as brain fuel for Sunday or another big race?