Mind Games

Our minds are truly remarkable little critters.   They have such power.  They hold the key to our success and failures with mere words spoken silently.  My mind hasn’t been terribly helpful to me lately, and this week marks the beginning of the end of that.  I am taking control back from it.

I haven’t blogged in several weeks.  It has been a busy summer, it seems the harder I try to “slow down”, the faster and faster I spin.  And, not really in good ways. I haven’t been to yoga in six weeks. My training has been off, long runs have been beyond terrible, shorter runs not much better.  And, I really let it mess with me.  No more.

I love to read motivational quotes.  I am on several e-mail daily quote and devotional lists, one of which is from “Runners World.”  The quotes are always interesting, sometimes helpful, other times funny.  The ones I really love I usually print out and stick on my refrigerator.  Early in my marathon training this year, I got a quote that really spoke to me.  It was: “Marathoning. The triumph of desire over reason.”  How apropos.  My marathon will truly be a triumph over reason.  But, my reason keeps getting in my way.  A more recent quote that I love is “It is the illusion that we can go no faster that holds us back.” (Kenny Moore, athlete & journalist)   Substitute the word “farther” for faster and it’s still true.  In fact, you could substitute a lot of words for faster and that statement would still be true.  The statement means that the only things holding us back are the limitations we place on ourselves.  Our pesky minds.

On a recent trip, I had a conversation with a fellow runner about this very topic.  She is very new to the sport, and is hampered on runs by the feeling that she needs to hold back, reserve her energy for later.  Her mind keeps telling her legs, “Take it easy, guys.  We have a long way to go, don’t get carried away.”  So, she slows down.  I struggle with that, too.  Now, don’t misunderstand.  Walk breaks are fine.  My marathon training is Jeff Galloway’s run/walk program.  My problem is I let my mind talk my legs into taking it too easy.  So, I’m retraining my mind.  Beginning now.  This week’s long run is a 17 miler, and I am only going to allow positive thoughts about my running program to enter my mind.  Reminding myself that I CAN do this, I AM ready, the heat WILL NOT defeat me.  I intend to overcome the illusion that I can go no farther.

Over the last few weeks,  I have been immersed in all things “Harry Potter”.  I’m listening to the audiobooks (for the fifth or sixth time), and Gary and I are re-watching the movie series in anticipation of going to see the final installment at the theater.  It’s wonderfully entertaining, an epic battle of good against evil, and occasionally it is profound.  In Book 2 “The Chamber of Secrets,” Professor Dumbledore is counseling Harry about the differences between him and the evil Voldemort.  He says, “It is our choices that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”  One of my all time favorite book/movie quotes.  Because,  faced with the limitations of my ability, I’m afraid I would never get out of bed in the morning.  Choosing to push myself beyond my current ability is what will get me to mile 26.2.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. 1 John 5:4

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