After writing a blog post a day, every day, for the last two weeks I have to admit that I am a bit mentally tired. This exercise has been very rewarding but like anything that stretches you - it requires a lot of energy and therefore can tire you. Looking back on some of the content I have produced, I am happy that I have embarked on this exercise and now am at the half-way point.
It reminds me a lot of some of the mental challenges that I faced when training for and competing in long distance races. I have had the fortune of being able to run 3 marathons, 5 half-marathons, and number of 10K races. John Frappier said that writing is much like a marathon - and I certainly see the similarities. If you don't train to do it, you can peeter out quickly. You can let the energy of the day trick you into going out of the gates too fast, but ultimately it will catch up to you if you are not true to your pace. You need to get the miles in, yet it also very important to rest. Eventually you will hit a wall - but at what mile will that come and how will you handle it?
One of the best parts of training that prepares you physically and mentally for the race ahead is the Sunday Long Run. In most long distance training plans, this is the run that you work up to all week. Most of the time this does happen to fall on a Sunday, hence the name, but the important thing is it the part of the weekly training in which you run the most miles, but you run them at a slower pace. A nice slow long run. A time to get the body acclimated to running distance. A time to work also on the mental aspect of the race, which will inevitably prove to be very important.
If you have conditioned properly and stayed true to your training plan, then your body is typically capable of finishing, and it becomes a mental battle. The mind is both working for and against you. On the positive side: 'You are doing great', 'Just 2 more miles until the next water break', 'Just about half way there'. On the not so positive side: 'What are you crazy?', 'It isn't too late to stop', 'You really have done enough.' To be honest, some of those same thoughts are starting to creep in during my writing as of late.
I can look back on each race I have run, and pick the times when the mental battles started to wage. I can also look back at each race and know what it was that helped me overcome some of the battles. More often then not, it was the support from the outside that pushed me forward. In my first marathon is was seeing my wife, daughters and newborn at mile 9 that gave me the uplift I needed to mentally the next 17 miles. During my first half when I was struggling with only 1 mile left, it was seeing an man in his 70's pass me by. In my last race with my daughter it was her encouragement to simply put one step in front of the other and in her words 'Not ruin her pace'.
For this writing exercise it has been the community that has been my help pushing forward. We are not physically running side by side but are, 140 characters at a time, giving each other some motivation to keep moving ahead. As Melissa stated - Well all got each other! Stronger together than apart. #community
It is also the joy of sharing that encourages me to finish. I do believe there is value for many out there in the content being produced and that fuels us all. So we are half way. I have lots of great new ideas to share and I know that even if I 'hit the wall', somebody will be there to support me across the finish line. Please let me know if you need a shoulder to lean on. Looking forward to finishing together. After all - it's just another Sunday Long Run.