If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am training for my first marathon, the Columbus Marathon, in Columbus, Ohio. Last week, I ran 13 miles as part of my training for it; I finished my first half marathon last year.
I Once Broke a Bone Training for a Marathon
One thing I don’t think I’ve mentioned is that four years ago I trained for a marathon as well. I was doing pretty well, and I had gotten up to doing 14 miles for my long run, and in fact, had run that distance three or four times over the course of a month. I had not attempted to go further, because I wanted to feel comfortable there and attempt to decrease my time. That meant I was trying to run faster.
I suppose it was too much for my body at that time, because I ended up breaking my ankle—not a complete break, really just a fracture, but it was a 2/3rds fracture and ended up keeping me from finishing my training for that particular marathon. It took me a long time to feel comfortable to run long distances again without fearing that I would break something. And since then, that number “14 miles” has always been in my mind as the longest I’ve ever run, and it has always been associated with a broken bone.
I Broke My Personal Record
Today, I went out and ran 15 miles. This meant that I broke my personal 14 mile barrier—without breaking a bone. I consider this quite an achievement for myself—not that I didn’t break a bone, but that I ran this far. And it’s a distance I have never gone before. I broke my personal record.
Something happens when a person breaks a personal record, especially a personal record that they have held at a plateau for a while. This morning, after doing this, I felt that I had entered new territory in some way. It’s the same thing I felt when I graduated from high school, and then graduated from college.
When you’ve been working really hard at something for a long time, and then you complete it or achieve it, there’s this sense of breaking away. It’s as if you are now released to discover new things, you are on higher ground, you suddenly expect more from yourself—and it’s not an empty set of expectations that just causes stress, it’s more of an understanding of who you are and what you are capable of achieving. In my mind, it’s the inner weakling that wakes up a little and says, “oh, you did it. I guess you can do that. I’ll shut up about that now. I will no longer tell you that you can’t do it.” In other words, you are breaking away from self-doubt, your inner weakling.
How to Break Away From Your Inner Weakling
It takes persistence, daily effort, and the ability to learn to ignore the inner weakling in you. I remember watching a movie called A Beautiful Mind. It is based on the true story of the life of John Nash, a renowned mathematician, who learned to deal with his mental health issues and eventually triumph over them in an very inspirational way. John Nash suffered from schizophrenia, and in college, he makes several friends over the course of his life who influence him to do things. Later, you find that these friends are really just a figment of his mind—they are not real, they are part of his schizophrenia. But they influence him to do things that eventually hurt himself and his family. Out of love for his wife, he learns to ignore his “friends,” and function in society despite the fact that they follow him around daily, and despite the fact that they were once his very best friends who he felt loved and accepted him. It’s quite an inspiring movie, and if you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to do so.
Recognize Your Inner Weakling for Who She Is
I am not schizophrenic, and I “see” no “person” when I talk of an inner weakling, and so I can’t imagine that my struggles with my inner weakling are as difficult as John Nash’s struggles with his friends who manifested to him as real. I understand that my “inner weakling” is simply my own self doubt. But oh, how powerful self doubt can be. Like the character in A Beautiful Mind, our inner weaklings may even be our friends, or at least a voice that we know and are accustomed to. I know for myself, self-doubt has afflicted me for as long as I can remember. She has always been there to tell me that I shouldn’t even bother to do something since I couldn’t anyways, ever since I was a little child. I recognize her voice. I know her. And all along I thought that she knew me. How wrong I was.
Like the character in A Beautiful Mind, you have to recognize that that voice is not speaking truth about you or who you are. Like that character, you may always hear that voice inside your head. But that just means you have to learn to ignore what the inner weakling says.
Do Something Everyday That Shows You are Ignoring the Inner Weakling
I train nearly everyday of the week for my goal. Even on days off, I still do things towards my marathon goal that are preparing me, whether it’s food choices, sleep choices, or even just the things I say yes and no to, I am involved in this marathon goal every day. And each day that I do something toward that goal, I am ignoring the inner weakling and putting myself one step closer to my goal.
Here’s the thing: during the week, I don’t necessarily feel like I’m getting stronger for my goal. But at the end of each week, when I attempt to go a little further than the week before on my long run, and then I do, it becomes evident in me that the work I put in during the week really was paying off. Each time I do this, I realize how little that inner weakling really knows who I am, and she loses just a little bit of her power over me. As I continue to do this, her voice becomes smaller and smaller.
Challenge: Break a Personal Record and Quiet the Voice of the Inner Weakling
Is there anything that you have wanted to do, but self-doubt has kept you paralyzed? I encourage you to take some of these concepts, realize your inner weakling doesn’t really know you, and make steps, small steps each day toward some achievement you have always wanted to make.
I guess running 15 miles makes me all inspirational inside.
Be sure to check out my Father’s Day message on my Facebook page!