In 2016 I completed a full marathon. This was one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. Most people think that the hardest part is the toll it takes on your body, but I strongly disagree.
I trained for this race for 6 months, entirely by myself. I find that running is a great time for me to self-reflect and get lost in deep thought. However, as the miles went on and on in my training I had to continually talk to myself and give myself positive encouragement to keep going.
My training process was much easier than I anticipated and gave me great satisfaction after each monumental mile. When race day came I was extremely nervous. Though I had ran 22 miles two weeks prior the 4 unknown miles shook me to my core.
I started the race too quickly, overwhelmed by the number of people passing me, unable to find my pace. I tried to stay with different pace groups, struggling to adjust to their cadence. By mile 13 (half way done) I was completely wiped. I had lost all confidence in myself and my ability to keep running. I began walking and heaving, choking back tear after tear.
At this point I had allowed the monkey on my back to take over. Words of hate, disappointment and failure filled my head to the point of wanting to give up. This continued for the next 10 or so miles. I would try to run more and then become completely overwhelmed and walk.
It was not until the last couple miles that I found my stride. I found my positive voice. Telling myself to keep going and that the end was near. I told myself it is not about the time, but about finishing. I told myself I was good and brave.
The end was glorious, I ran in sobbing with disbelief that I had done it. I had preserved despite all my negativity. However, it was the small voice telling me to keep going that got me to the finish line.
I use this method of positive self-talk when I run or work out all the time, but I still manage to say mean things to myself in other areas of my life. Imagine what we could do if we told ourselves “good job”, “you got this” or “it is not about how you run the race, its about how you finish”. We would be so much happier and kinder to others as a result. Kindness starts with how you talk to yourself. Fill your mind with love and grace and you will find you too can finish the race.