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Running Mantras

Running Mantras

    My last few runs since returning from that exhilarating trip to the Mall of America have been full of both surprises and struggle. The weather has ranged from good to absolutely shitty, and at times I have found myself questioning my athletic ability and why I feel the need to run the same exact route (at least for the first 6.5 miles) every day. So, let's dive into that and more importantly, the mantras/phrases/mental cues I use to get through the tough parts of my runs. Because no matter how good/bad of a run you're having, there is going to be that moment when you really want to quit or you're really freaking out and totally not focused on the task at hand.

    Most people would absolutely despise running the same route everyday. I have certainly found myself falling into that category of runners, especially this past summer. I had a certain route I ran for my 2, 3, 4, and 5 mile runs respectively. But, all of the runs involved the same shitty hill at the start and they all involved the same start/finish stretch down the main road leading into Belle Plaine. Still, there was at least some variety in each route, and I felt that this variety helped keep me on my toes, ready for anything that might come my way. Well, clearly variety when it comes to running has not been the course for me. Way back in May I had that major fall that involved blood everywhere and scars on both my knees that will serve as a constant reminder of that fateful day. Then I dealt with hip problems that had me sidelined for awhile from running all together. Not good for someone who is as addicted to running as I am. However, once I found a route that I could comfortably run in the dark this past August/September, I have had little to no problems with injuries or falls. So, I've pretty much stuck with this route ever since. Yes, there have been more than a few surprises/instances where I have found myself hitting the panic button and running like a crazy person with terrible form so as not to be seen my someone when I am driving the freaking struggle bus. And yes I'm sure there are people who don't necessarily appreciate the fact that their house just happens to be on my route and that I don't run with headphones. But, at the end of the day, it really is all about running smart. And for me that means being able to hear traffic around me while listening to my music and sticking to a scheduled route so I can prevent any and all falls. Whew. Now that that explanation is out of the way, onto the mantras!

    I'm sure there are some runners out there who don't even need music, let alone some phrase/quote that they repeat to themselves periodically throughout the course of a run when they are lacking motivation or find themselves really struggles to push outside of their comfort zone. However for the other 99% of runners who find themselves struggling to push past mental barriers and being okay with being in pain/uncomfortable, mantras are a must, especially when it comes to hitting time and distance PRs. Running with someone else or having someone drive around your route yelling at you could also be viable options. Unfortunately there is no one crazy enough in my life that I can envision doing this at 5:30 a.m....so mantras are my go to.

    1. "ARMS"/"COME ON BIG ARMS": I will be the first one to admit that I don't have the best running form. This is especially true when I get tired mid-run or am super sore from the get go. Or when I decide hitting the panic button is a great option because OMG I just saw someone I know and they saw me running and OMG I just know that they thought I looked like a complete idiot. Anyway, I use this phrase the most when I am going up a hill. It helps me to really focus on my form instead of how sucky it feels to be running up freaking Mount Everest.

    2. "PR"/"DO IT FOR THE TROPHY": This is a new one that I just found myself using yesterday and today on my 6.5 mile runs. It's so weird/random because normally I just run to run and don't set out with the goal of hitting a PR...I just sort of wing it. Well, I have come to find out, that literally the only thing that will motivate to run super fast when I am super tired (besides this and my other mantras, obviously) has been whenever I hear a dog barking...even when I can't see it. Like the minute I hear that first bark my first thought is either "you are running for your life right now" or "see even that random dog knows you're slacking and not running as fast as you should/could be." The whole trophy thing is in regards to the little trophy icon that both Garmin and Strava have on their websites. There's just something about that damn thing that motivates the Hell out of me.

    3. "FASTER, FASTER": As much as I hate hills, I love, love downhills just as much if not even more. It feels like I am on a roller coaster...only I have control of how fast it goes and I guess control over whether I crash and burn. Anyhow, when I am repeating this one to myself I am 100% sure I have a big goofy grin on my face and anyone who saw me would probably think I was on crack...but hey, you have to enjoy the downhill and use them to make up for all that time you lost dragging ass on the hills.

    4. "I AM FORREST GUMP...EXCEPT I AM NOT AN IDIOT": If you are a fan of  'The Office' you would be familiar with that quote. And if you are not, I question why you are even reading this blog. I find myself using this one at the same point of my run every time; when I am just starting lap 2 and running downhill past Casey's. And before you even ask, yes I have seriously thought about just running and never stopping...I don't think I would make it all that far before I would get tired or my legs would give out.

    5. "PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY": If you have ever set foot in the high school weight room, you are probably very familiar with this quote. I find this mantra particularly helpful for any run over 6.5 miles...the ones where everything hurts and you just can't imagine making it one more block...let alone 1-2 more miles. This also help when you feel like you are moving so, so slow and getting literally no where. Then again, I find myself questioning this quote when things get really rough, "If pain really is weakness leaving the body then damn it I shouldn't have any weakness left!"

    6. "SMILE": Aka "Fake it till you make it." This is definitely more of a treadmill mantra, but also works for outdoor runs when you feel like shit and are one second away from bawling your eyes out. By smiling, I feel like it tricks my brain/body into thinking thing aren't actually as bad as they are and that I am having fun. Or maybe I'm just telling myself to smile because I'm pretending that T-Rhett is at the finish line or I'm pretending that I'm running with some bad ass runner like Kelly Roberts and having the time of my life. Either way, it's hard to not enjoy even the toughest run when you have a huge fake smile plastered across your face.

    7. "GET IT GIRL": This one is just me, being my own biggest cheerleader when things are going good or bad and I know damn well that there ain't nobody gonna cheer me on as hard/enthusiastically as I cheer on myself. I mean, I am the only person who know just how much of a struggle it has been for me to get to the point where I actually enjoy running some of the time and can regularly run 6-8 miles without too much difficulty. It is by no means easy, but it is something the old Caitlyn never would have envisioned herself doing.

    So, there you have it, the mantras/sayings that get me through all of my runs. Though I must say, waving at someone you know or even just having one person yell something positive at you as you run past them beats all of these mantras put together. But, like don't yell too loud or I will for sure be hitting the panic button thinking something like that clown form 'IT' or that creepy doll Annabelle is out to get me. Alrighty, that's all for now. Next post on Thursday (or Friday...still haven't started that damn paper)!!!
Running Long & Having Fun

Running Long & Having Fun

MALL OF AMERICA

MALL OF AMERICA