Finding a Mantra


I am not a runner. I don’t really enjoy running in any way. For the first 30 seconds to a minute, I’ll think “Hey, this isn’t so bad.” After that I’m usually miserable. I’m pretty confident I’ll never experience that mythological feeling known as a “runner’s high.” My body doesn’t feel good when I run. It feels more like an addict going through drug withdrawal.

Unfortunately I have to run to train. The Tough Mudder website recommends that “at a minimum” you run three to four times a week and build up to running five to seven miles. I can run a mile fairly easily. I’ve even run more than three miles in a 5K (although I wanted to quit about halfway through, Joe kept pushing me). Running five to seven miles is not going to be easy for me. I think marathoners are mentally imbalanced so convincing myself to run anything beyond a 5K means I really have to push myself.

Since a 10K is equal to about 6.2 miles, I figured that was a good goal to work toward. Today I started week 3 of that training. That meant 56 total minutes on the treadmill alternating running for 90 seconds (10 total cycles) with walking for three and a half minutes. Around the sixth cycle of running, I was feeling tired and my knees ached a bit. I hadn’t been on the treadmill since Sunday (bad, but things came up and I did do some weight work on Monday and Wednesday) so I probably struggled a little more than normal. I did push through it though. That sounds wimpy since I wasn’t really running that much but I was feeling it today.

Earlier today, the Tough Mudder Twitter account asked followers how they pushed themselves. I responded by saying that whenever I’m feeling I tired, I just start chanting “Tough Mudder” in my head. That’s true. When I was doing weights and felt like I couldn’t possibly lift my weights one more time, I said it to myself. I did the same on the treadmill today. It’s a good way to remind myself that there is a goal to this training. I’m not just doing it to lose weight. I’m doing it because I want to conquer that thing. They actually retweeted my response and I got a couple of other tweets from fellow trainers. That made me feel motivated. I constantly tell myself that if Bert the Conqueror can finish the Tough Mudder, then I can too. But I don’t want to just finish it, I want to dominate it.

I do have a little extra motivation on my water bottle, courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps. It says “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” That’s a good way to think of it. Even though it hurts, I’m a little bit closer to being where I need to be. Every day I’m a little more prepared than I was the day before. So that’s it. Chanting “Tough Mudder” and “Pain is weakness leaving the body” are going to be my mantras for getting through this.

Days to Tough Mudder: 86