One thing I’ve learned about myself through running is that I don’t have the mentality of a runner. What does that mean? Well, I started running for charity as an adult with no background in athletics or sports. I still haven’t actually timed myself on a puke-your-guts-out mile to see how fast I could actually go. I’m scared too. I’ve briefly (200 meters?) maintained a sub 8 pace according to RunKeeper. I like how that feels but then it starts to hurt and I gasp for air and I slow down because it’s uncomfortable. So, that is what I mean about not having the mentality of a runner.
Compare and contrast. I met Molly at the airport and she was on my relay team for Hood to Coast but she was in Van 1 and I was in Van 2. I was constantly hearing about how she was totally annihilating her legs and thundering into the exchanges with smoldering asphalt behind her. It wasn’t really until the ride BACK to the airport that I got to talk with Molly and learn a bit about her runner mentality.
At 5 years old she attempted her first 5 MILE RACE! She was an athlete in high school and college. She qualified for Boston even though she stopped to pee a few times. She actually won a half marathon. She loves the marathon distance and is excited to be learning about how to race a marathon, not just run a marathon or finish a marathon, but RACE it (insert the sound of my mind exploding at the thought). She knows how to push herself. She runs through the pain. She knows what she’s capable of doing.
Perhaps Molly had this runner mentality coached into her. Her Go Sport ID was engraved with the quote, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” Push through the pain. That’s how you get stronger. That’s how you get faster. That’s how you find out what you’re capable of…and once you know that…you have that mental strength to push to your threshold and maybe beyond. This is the mentality I recognize in strong runners.
As I listened to Molly talk about her running goals, it was clear that she has a very different mentality than I do. While I’d love to be as fast as she is, I think what is more interesting to me, is her inner drive to improve. I can FINISH a marathon – a pretty big step up from where I used to be. However, I haven’t broken through to “the next level” of running through the discomfort and developing speed. I’m not completely sure how, but I’m now more eager than ever to find out. Sometimes I wish I would’ve just done sports in high school with a coach and a team to push me beyond my comfort zone. Having a coach is part of why I’m really liking CrossFit right now. At any rate, my take away from listening to Molly is that my mind needs to be trained to push harder, not just my muscles.
What I loved about listening to Molly was how honest she was: she gets nervous and obsesses about how well she will do before a race and she considers stopping or slowing down mid-run (but rarely does). She may run at a different level than me but the thoughts that go through her mind aren’t all that dissimilar. And she’s still seeking the stronger runner within. I’m excited to hear how her upcoming races go!
You should check out Molly’s blog: Mollyberrie’s Hodge Podge.
Also, follow Molly on Twitter @Lightsoutstout