Running is mental.
I’ve been told that so many times, I don’t remember where or who I’ve learned it from nor who has said it.
But as a result of this meme being embedded in my mind, I always thought I could think my way out of running. I could think my way out of the fact that I was slow. I could think my way out of the way my legs felt like rocks. I could think my way out of the next 2 miles. I could think my way out of the fact that my legs were breaking down this very moment. I could think my way out of the pain.
I still think I could think my way out of the ever-present pain.
I bring to memory running tips and sayings over years of thinking about how to increase my speed and cut down on my time. I think of how one runner described his mindset as “a game of keeping [his] feet off the floor” to motivate myself to keep moving deftly and swiftly. I think (or will think of) Dustin Hoffman’s brisk little effortless-looking run in the Graduate.
When the pain increases, I think of the sayings “the finest metals go through the hottest fires” and most recently, the metaphor of “cutting it,” as in “this tool doesn’t cut it.” I think of my running body as a tool that can either cut or not cut something. If I run fast enough, I can cut it like a Cutco scissor can cut through a steel penny.
If I can’t, well…