Monday, February 14, 2011

Home Girl & Tricky Six

Home Girl's New Blog
I've created a monster!  My home girl Michael (literally, she lives in my home), has started her own awesome blog ...
Michael blogging ... Jack sleeping,

If you haven't already, please check it out and while you're there please ask her nicely to ... LET ME USE THE FREAKING COMPUTER!!!  We've been talking about getting another laptop for a while, so I guess this will push us over the edge.  Seriously, how sad are we that we have to buy another laptop to support our new blog addictions.

She's training for her 4th Triathlon, and a half-marathon ... so along with being drop-dead sexy, she's pretty much a Triatha-stud!  I'm sure you'll enjoy her page.  But I've gotta warn ya - this is the same girl, who just yesterday bent down to pick something up off of the floor and hit her head on the counter top - like one of the "Three Stooges" or something!  It left a knot on her head, so I don't know if today's post will make sense.

Tricky Six
As I get ready for the Austin Marathon this week, I would WELCOME ideas on any little "mind games" for mastering the final six miles of the marathon.  (Or the last 3 of a half, if you've never ran a whole) Everyone knows the old saying "The marathon begins at Mile 20!", and I have found that to be completely and utterly a myth TRUE!!!

I usually feel great 'til about 21-23, but then morph into clinically insane for the last few. I've been seen talking to myself, and dropping cups of Gatorade because my hands all-of-the-sudden forgot how to close.  After a marathon, Michael will sometimes ask how I enjoyed Indianapolis, Louisville, etc.  I tell her I loved it, "but 24 minutes of it about killed me!"  Maybe I start a little fast.  Maybe I don't fuel exactly right.  Or just maybe it's because the marathon distance is ingeniously diabolical and intended to challenge you like few other races.

Sometimes on long runs, I try to "trick my mind" into thinking I'm running further than I actually am.  At about mile 16, I'll start telling myself, "Okay, this is mile 20!".  Then 17 is 21, 18 is 22, etc.   It's a little visualization method I use to convince myself on race day that I've ran 24, 25, & 26 in training ... but unfortunately my body knows my mind is lying to it!

The truth is, there are probably no short cuts.  It's a grind that you just have to get through, with whatever means possible.  But for some reason, getting over the mental hurdle at the end of a race is as big of a challenge as the physical one.

How about you ...
What is your crashing point in a race?
What do you do to get over the mental hump?
Do the last 6 miles tax your mind or body more?
... be great today!


  1. I dont' have any really good tips to help ya. But I will try and think about and get back to ya.

    Have a great day!

  2. I always dedicate the last 6 miles to people. It could be someone close to you who has died and you think about that mile remembering him/her. It could be someone who helped you get through training. I did all the last 6 miles last time for my cousin who is fighting cancer and has worked much harder at it than I ever will at a marathon. In my first marathon I really felt my mother (who has died) helped me get through a very hard mile. If the person is living I let them know through a card, give them an approximate window I will be running the mile I am dedicating to them and ask them to be sending positive thoughts my way.

    This may be more than you want to do but it truly helps me.

  3. Well, considering the longest distance I've tackled is about 4 miles....I don't have any good advice for you. Here is some questionable advice though:
    - imagine the guy behind you has a knife
    - make a side-bet with Michael: she gets an extra hour per week on the laptop for every minute you go over your target time
    ...okay, I'm done. ;)

  4. I've only ran 1 marathon, so I don't have as much experience at them as you do, haha I didn't hit the wall until the start of mile 26, when it felt like my body could go no further. I thought that having a pacer with you the last 6 miles helps out a ton (not sure if this is possible). Or maybe following a pacing team, because then it feels like a team, and everyone on that teams cares about the people running with them. I like ajh's idea above, I like to think about all the people that got me to that point, and it inspires you to do it for them.

  5. i am seriously lacking in mental toughness, and am deathly afraid of what kind of mess i would turn into during a marathon.

  6. Count how many people you pass in the last 6. Out loud if you have to! :)

    Seriously though... I wish I had better advice, but I always just try to catch one person. And when I go, I pick another. Makes the miles go a little faster! Best of luck!

  7. My only tip is to start thinking about one thing specifically. Like--lengthen my stride--and just focus on making your legs stretch a little bit longer or focus on a runner ahead of you and "staying with them" or passing that one person, then do it again etc. I haven't run that far in a long time but even in shorter races it seems to get my mind off the pain. Even just counting helps me. Count how many times my right knee comes up. My brain is too tired to do much else.

  8. pure unadulterated mind-f is how you get through those miles.

    'Those who can do, those who can't QUIT'

    Tell yourself that at that point and watch your cadence pick up. If you are a competitor, and you are, being told to quit will only fire you up to move faster and get 'er done.


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