Today, Madeline, Alicia and I ran 9 miles. Our longest so far!
Over the past couple of runs this week, I had been attempting copy-catting some of the mantras the runners in the magazine said they use. They didn't really give me any extra boost. Some of them were things like "Go, go, go!" Others were more image-centered, some sounded like tough love, and others didn't make any sense to me.
What I realized on my run today, as I was fighting strong head-winds and some cross-winds (and lots of hills!), was that repeating something that was meaningful to me did it. I don't care what my body looks like at the end of this. I don't care what people think of me for doing this, whether they think it's motivated, crazy, or stupid. While I am really proud of going this distance for the first time in my life (26.2), what matters to me is how this is benefitting me in the long run.
I found myself forming a mantra without thinking about it. For a good 2 miles I kept saying the same thing, out loud, over and over and over again, and it kept giving me an extra shove to run through the pain. Here it is:
"Stronger heart, stronger lungs, stronger legs."
If I keep this habit for years to come, I'm improving my strength, endurance, health, and lung capacity. I'm not fast, I'm not particularly graceful, but I am healthy enough to do this! I could be doing it for washboard abs, toned calves, or the T-shirt at the end of the race, but the thing that makes me happiest about running and doing it to achieve a goal is how much healthier I'm becoming, and how much healthier I'll continue to be. For me, that's something worth running about.