By Janelle Morrison
It’s mile 18. Your heart’s pounding exhaustively, your breath is heavy, there’s tightness in your shoulders and with each step your legs are beginning to move further into the “cement block” feeling. You still have a little over 8 miles to go…
You pass an aid station and squeeze the little dixie cup of water, but fine motor movements are starting to fail you and although you manage to get a few droplets of water in your mouth, most lands on your cheeks and even in your eyes.
Your mind feels like a fog, but the thoughts that you are aware say things like, “Why am I even doing this? Ugh. I can’t wait until it’s over. Where is that finish line?”
Although you’ve been excited and preparing from his race for 6 months, at this very moment the last place you want to be – is where you are. Pain has a way of doing that. And racing a marathon, as joyful and exhilarating as it is, has its painful moments. There’s no getting around it.
If you’re racing a marathon pain is going to happen and it makes sense to be prepared! So what to do when the going gets tough?
Do the one thing that you naturally want to avoid: Stay Here Now.
Your mind will always want to escape pain. It’s natural. So you’ll want to disassociate with what’s happening by daydreaming about the finish line. Don’t do it. This is what feeds the pain and makes it bigger.
Instead stay with it.
When you avoid what you’re experiencing you’re resisting what’s so. What you resist – persists.
It’s what we as humans do much of the time. When you and I are bored we reach for our iPhones. We listen to music to distract us during a long work out. In traffic our inner dialogue reprimands us over and over about how we shouldn’t have taken this route. Lost in our mental complaints we cause stress in our bodies and invite more of the same of what we’re resisting. The cycle continues.
Resistance is futile and it does nothing but get you more of the same. Stop pretending that the finish line is more important than where you are and be with your experience.
Be with your burning quads.
Be with your cramping calves.
Be with the sticky gel on your chin.
Be with the tightness building in your shoulders.
Be with the desire to be anywhere but here.
Be with your searing lungs.
Be with the wind in your face.
Be with all of it.
Do this and you experience the joy and miracle of the aliveness you are. You give the pain space, and when you do this it turns into something else.
Take this very moment for example. You may have lots of things on your mind and yet if you presence yourself to this experience now – something else is possible. Really be with your experience as you read this. Notice what’s in the room around you, sounds, the feeling of your back against the chair, smells in the air, the thoughts in your head.
Notice the perfection of all of it. There’s nothing to escape – everything is fine just as it is.
The best part is, you don’t have to wait until race day to practice this. You can practice in your training runs and daily life. Notice the desire to think about when you’re going to be done your run, when the work day is over, or when you’ll get through to the checkout in a long grocery store line up. Bring yourself back to the present moment and be with the immense power that you have when you do so.
The power that you are.
Your presence gives you the capacity to deliberately deal with what’s so in the moment. You take better care of your nutrition. You adjust your cadence. You make the necessary alternations to get your to the finish line as fast as you can – by being in the moment.
Keep practicing and you’ll BE the tough that gets going when the going gets tough on race day – with ease.
“Pain in the working body is its music. Intense pain is its music. Enjoy the symphony.” – Mark Allen
Written by Janelle Morrison, a GameChanger, Consultant, Transformational Speaker and Life Quality Catalyst.
Racing as a professional Ironman distance triathlete, and overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds along the way after a near-fatal car accident, Janelle required a tool box of determination, courage and audacious commitment. Janelle knows what it takes to achieve the “impossible.” She also knows that results, finish lines and accolades don’t equate to self-worth, peace of mind or fulfillment.
Janelle believes that we all deserve a quality of life that lights us up from the inside out – and that we are all capable of achieving it. We ARE it. In this moment, and the moment after that. Check out her website:www.janellemorrison.com