Monday, February 18, 2008

Breaking News

Dean over at Zer0 to Boston just qualified for the Boston Marathon! Congratulations!!!

It's funny...he is in a completely different league than I will ever be, but I can relate to him somehow. I'm feeling inspired.

I hope Dean doesn't mind... I am copying something he wrote just before running his qualifying race. It hits home for me because I just signed up for my first full marathon and was surprised to learn that the longest training run is 32 KM, a whole 10K less than an actual marathon. My good friend (and mentor of sorts) Anamae gave me a good explanation. In theory, if I can run 32, I can run 42...physically. The last 10K is all mental. It's up to the brain, the mind, the spirit to take you to the finish. What Dean had to say kind of put it into perspective for me.

The mind can convince itself of anything, even that it is strong. But the marathon calls the mind’s bluff. It brings commitment and focus into stark relief. It forces one to confront the true nature of determination.

Worse, our brains are wired to work against us. In the latter stages of the marathon, every fiber of the body cries out for relief. The brain becomes a crisis manager, interpreting signals of exhaustion from the body as threats of imminent system failure. In turn, it sends out powerfully incessant demands to cease any unnecessary running.

And your brain can be quite persuasive.

It will actually send signals that mimic collapse before the actual point of collapse. It wants you to stop before you crumble. This is why mid-race you feel like death warmed over but somehow find the energy to “kick” at the finish. Your brain realizes you’re about to stop and allows a last burst of speed. This is real science, folks. Your brain tricks you. If you’re not ready for this clever cerebral assault, you will fold like a cheap lawn chair. on earth do I prepare myself for this?

ETA: Dean, thanks for the comment. I appreciate it! And I'm excited. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Thanks so much for the encouragement and the note!

Don't let my psychological rumblimgs trouble you.

The marathon is a great test, and you will love it. It's difficult to overstate how energized you'll feel when you finish. It's worth the anxiety, training, pain, and yes, mental gymnastics.

It's worth every bit of it.

- Dean