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Think Like A Champion

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I want to thank Buffed Stuffed for the quote from Muhammad Ali: "Suffer Now and live the rest of your life a champion" and her call to “Release your Inner Champion”.

It was a call that I needed to hear. Too often I don’t think like a champion, too often I treat myself with a lukewarm mindset and am just happy with average. But am I average?

Do I deserve to think like a Champion? I say a resounding YES! But how does a champion think? What goes on in their mind? Maybe I can use the some of the words from a song that Paula Radcliff, the world record holder for female Marathon distance, has said that she plays before her races.

I am a mountain, I am a tall tree, I am a swift wind sweepin' the country
I am a river down in the valley. I am a vision and I can see clearly
If anybody asks u who I am just stand up tall look 'em in the face and say
I'm that star up in the sky. I'm that mountain peak up high
Hey, I made it, I’m the world’s greatest
I'm that little bit of hope when my backs against the ropes
I can feel it I'm the world’s greatest

I am a giant. I am an eagle. I am a lion down in the jungle.
I am a marchin' band, I am the people. I am a helpin' hand, and I am a hero.
If anybody asks u who I am
Just stand up tall look 'em in the Face and say.....

In the ring of life I'll reign love and the world will notice a king
When all is darkest, I'll shine a light and use a success you'll find in me
I saw the light at the end of a tunnel
Believe in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow
And faith was right there to pull me through, yeah
Used to be locked doors now I can just walk on through
Hey, uh, hey, hey, hey It's the greatest.

Since my mindset is not usually one of a champion the key words used in this song give me an idea what a champion might think. They are strong words, powerful, self- affirming words.


Just prefacing these words with “I AM...” can alter my posture, it can cause me to stand a bit straighter, hold my chin a bit higher and smile a bit broader. Those simple, yet powerful words can cause me to take better care of me. Yes, I am working on releasing my “Inner Champion” and to see what I can become. I will see the light and the end of the tunnel and believe and unlock the doors in-front of me.

To help me alter my thinking I have taken each of these words and put them on separate cards. Each day I will pick a different card and that will be my daily mantra. Slowly, I will develop, and see what it is like to think like a champion!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUFFEDSTUFF 5/28/2008 10:38PM

  Oh how I wish You could borrow my eyes for a moment and see yourself for the champion you really are. All you have to do is walk in it. Look at you, you are a strong, woman who hasn't realized her own value yet.

When you race you feel the power, you connect with the real you the champion. Learn to celebrate yourself my friend.
because you are what you are....a champion,never deny it just flow with it emoticon
now stop sabatoging yourself and give it your best.

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    Inspiring as always !!! Thanks for the post and the wake up call!!! I will take these words with me on my next run!!! Jackie!!! emoticon

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The Best Laid Plans

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I’ve wanted to get a new entry here and today I’m finally getting around to it.
Planning to do things is something that is not natural to me. I’m not a born organizer. It is work for me to get things accomplished without going out on a tangent. (Finding other things that need my attention when I wanted to complete the task at hand. Guess that would be “sidetracked”)

There are however times when I set forward a task and complete it. It does make me feel good. Here are my goals for May:
1. Run 125 miles for the month
2. Plan my food and Eat Clean
3. Weigh 3 pounds less than I did at the start of the month
4. Have half the work completed on the current cross stitch gift
5. Present at least 2 talks to employees
6. Keep using the flylady website and control journal to be organized around the house

I have taken the time to prepare my running calendar for the summer and then into marathon training. I have already outlined the races I want to compete in during my training. This helps me to feel organized, when I feel organized I feel less stressed. When I am less stressed the world is a better place.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRHAMRICK 5/7/2008 11:31AM

    Sounds like some great plans to me, Mary. I'm hoping to plan some races and related-training myself. I even sent you a sparkmail requesting your advice.... Coach!


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Again...and again...and again....and

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It's been over a week since I've been back from London. The glow of the day, the event, the accomplishment is now logged in my memory. To be brought out at any time I wish. But, I'm not about to stand still and just look at the pictures, the medal, or my race number.

It's time to move..to literally put one foot in front of the other, and do it again and again and again. Yesterday I took my first post marathon run around these well trod local hilly roads and how they reminded me I had been away from them for too long! London was just 9 days ago and it is a pretty flat course. This is where I live and train and it is NOT flat!

So I have brought back out my monthly calendars, planned how many miles to do this week. Looked ahead to the 10K on May 11 (Mother's Day over there in the USA) and the training I need to get on these legs before heading down to Liverpool.

It's what I do, I run. It's not a hobby, or a pastime, or a lose weight plan, nope, it is my lifestyle. It is what I have become... a runner. And I will get out there, again, and again ..and again...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LANC92 4/28/2008 11:42AM

    I happened on your page through one of those crazy Spark surfing moments... so glad I did. I love how you say, "It's what I do, I run. It's not a hobby, or a pastime, or a lose weight plan, nope, it is my lifestyle. It is what I have become... a runner." That's exactly now I feel as well. I also read your race report and you have instilled new hope in me that I just might make the 4 :45 time I'm looking for. Just keep running!

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BARBIET65 4/24/2008 7:08AM

    Its your HIGH girl!!!

You do it! And do it forvever!!!!

Its WHO you are now!!!


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It WILL happen, Just Keep Believing (race report)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

On Sunday 13 April, it was more than just belief; it was determination, drive, preparedness, passion, pain, grit, stamina, exhaustion, elation, perseverance, and persistence that made it happen! All of the above and more got me to the finish line of the London Marathon.

Preparing for a marathon isn’t easy, but running it is even harder. I had a goal time in mind and I wanted with all my being to make that goal.

The ride down to London went smoothly and getting to the expo on Friday allowed my husband and me a bit of “look around time” before it got really hectic. The excitement started to build when I went to sign for my number. Then it was getting my timing chip and browsing/shopping the exhibitor’s stalls before heading back to the hotel located right off mile 19 in Canary Wharf in the Isle of Dogs, Docklands part of London.

Saturday morning was brisk and mostly sunny. I went out for a quick 2.25 mile run through the glass high rise office building area of Canary Wharf. I knew I would be running partly on the marathon course and sure enough overnight the marathon crew had painted the “blue line” that would be guiding the thousands of runners in just over 24 hours. I ran lost in thought of the world class athletes who would be leaving their foot strikes in this very area. Stunned I realized that I was running much quicker than I anticipated. I turned around at mile 18 and completed my run back to the hotel in a shocking adrenaline pumped time.

Sunday morning arrived quickly. I had prepared the after race bag the night before and my race clothes were laid out. I filled my camelback with race fuel and made the finishing check to all that was needed before showering, eating a light breakfast of muesli, skim milk and fruit and getting changed. My husband’s procedure was much the same as mine and we were ready to head to the Docklands Light Railroad station right outside our hotel for the short ride to Greenwich Station. From there it was like watching some sort of migration as other runners joined the procession to the start area not quite a mile up the hill.

We entered the Blue Start area and found a place to sit and wait with the thousands of others before making the final preparations to our running gear and turning our kit bag in to the proper truck to take down to the finish area. Then with a kiss, a hug, an “I Love You”, and “Run Strong” I walked in the opposite direction from my husband as I went to my pen and he to his 6 higher then mine! (The speed demon he is!!) Standing in my pen, the nerves were kicking in big time and it wasn’t any different for the others standing around me.

Then suddenly, the pack started to move forward, although I didn’t hear it, the gun had gone off and the race had started. Getting closer, I increased the speed of my walk to an increasing faster run and crossed over the starting mat with the strange electronic sound of my timing chip engaging. I was now in the race!

It was partly sunny, the air was crisp, and the crowds lined the roads and were cheering us along. My heart was elated and I watched my breathing. U2 were softly playing in my ears and indeed it was “a beautiful day!”

I had prepared a wrist race band to keep watch of my split times. I didn’t want to go out too fast but I wanted to run so as to give myself a time cushion towards the later miles when I knew my legs would be reminding me of how many miles I had completed. I was already being swept along by the other runners and by the end of the first 10K (6.2 miles) I was 5 minutes up on my time.

The crowds were fantastic and continued to urge me on to keep my pace steady. I was now passed the Cutty Sark and heading towards the Tower Bridge and the half way point. My legs were tiring slightly and at 10 miles I took a short walk break and my first sport gel. This is when the grey clouds that had now blocked the sunshine opened up! It was a downpour and not just rain, but hail as well. It felt strangely good and refreshing. Then it was a right turn onto Tower Bridge! The cheering crowds were deafening and the site amazing!

Approaching mile 14 allows runners the opportunity to see other faster runners approaching from the opposite direction. It was there that I spotted my husband, running like an engine at his mile 23! We yelled encouraging words to each other and then resumed focusing on our respective tasks. He only had 3.2 miles left! I was only just over half way!

The sun had come back out and the crowds were in force again as I approached the Isle of Dogs area and where last year I nearly crumbled with pain in my left quad. There was evidence that the distance was taking its toll on many a runner. I cautiously made my way around a runner lying in the pavement covered with a space blanket, an oxygen mask and being attended by the ambulance crew. I had to bring my focus back to myself and do a body check to see how I was feeling. Other than a slight twinge in my quads I was feeling good.

Weaving through the other runners and around the Canary Wharf area I remembered Saturday’s run and how different it was now being surrounded by thousands. Passed mile 19 and the place were I received assistance for my tired and aching quad a year ago. Then it was on to the highway and another deluge of rain!

I was aware my pace was slowing slightly, but with fatigue setting in and mile 23 approaching I was starting to take a few more walk breaks. Each time I hear my name being called by a spectator I gave them a thumbs up and an inner smile urged me to press on. I now was entering Blackfriars Tunnel. It’s a lonely stretch with no spectators and no crowds to cheer you on. It’s dank, dark, and sticky from lucisade and the low point for me. But I knew that when I emerged, I would be on the Embankment with just about 2 miles left to run.

Oh how my legs were tired, my body was aching, both my quads wanted rest and my mind just willed Big Ben closer. When I crossed the 40K mat I knew it was less than 1.5 miles and I knew also that even if I walked the entire remaining distance I would have a massive personal best time. But, to walk that was NOT an option. The finish line was just 3 right turns away, there was a medal with my name on it waiting and I wanted to get there as quick as I could. I wanted to be able to stop running, I wanted to find out how my husband had done, and I wanted to sit down! So I kept running. I made the first turn at Big Ben and now on tree lined Birdcage Walk I saw the 800 metre sign ahead! I took a final couple walk steps and then ran! The 600 metre sign approached and mentally I figured that was just 1.5 times around the track! I kept running. Buckingham Palace was coming up on my left; I didn’t look as my eyes were focused on the blue banner across the road which said, “Just 385 yards remaining”.

The slight turn to the right, then the final right turn and there in front of me were the long awaited yellow finish gates. The way was lined with spectators cheering and Union Jack flags attached to the poles. I heard the announcer say my name as my eyes focused on the finish clock and the waiting gate. I swung open my arms and embraced the finish line. I had completed my second London Marathon 24 minutes faster than last year! My time was a well deserved 5:46:37. I had obtained my goal; I at last had broken the 6 hour mark that for the previous 3 marathons I was unable to do.

The timing chip was cut from my shoe laces, a finisher medal was placed around my neck and I posed for a commemorative finisher photo. After collecting my kit bag and making my way to the meeting area I was reunited with my husband and to hear his marathon story. He had run his second fastest marathon of 3:22:54, and a 2 minute improvement from his 2006 London Marathon finish time.

So what now? First a week of rest with gentle walks, then slowly easing back into running. I have 10 weeks to enjoy running some off road, a couple of races, and then the marathon training starts all over again!! Yep, NYC awaits on November 2, 2008! Just 200 days!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRICOTINE 4/21/2008 3:50PM

    emoticon You did AMAZING, Mary! I am SO PROUD of YOU!!! emoticon
I love the photo too! ♥

Comment edited on: 4/21/2008 3:50:17 PM

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BLONDE_RUNNER 4/18/2008 4:55AM

    Hey Mary, Fantastic Blog and emoticon on the time!!!

I was watching on Sunday morning (I have to admit lying in my bed....but after I ran to the gym, worked out and ran home again!!!) - and I was thinking of you running, especially when the rain started!!!

It looked awesome on TV and reading your report I can imagine how it must have felt on the day - I was welling up watching on TV just thinking of the emotions of the runners and definitely reading your blog!!

Hopefully I can someday come and blog about a marathon run and with people like you to inspire me I might just get there.

Sarah emoticon

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KRHAMRICK 4/17/2008 12:18PM

    Oh Mary... I am so proud of you! I love this blog. Tears of joy are welling up in my eyes. I feel like I was there. I'll be thinking of you this weekend while I'm skating in my "Stick It to Breast Cancer" tournament. Thanks so much for your inspiration.


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HISARTIST 4/17/2008 8:31AM

    This is an incredible blog!! I can really feel the excitement and I can see how you were able to take 24 minutes off your PB. As a runner who has only recently started thinking seriously about 10K races, and who has only been running for about 3 1/2 years, the idea of completing a marathon is almost unfathomable. However, your story is a definite inspiration and helps me to see that with determination and perseverance anything is possible. Thank you and congratulations!

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SHANSTORES21 4/16/2008 3:48PM

    Thank you so much for posting this race report! It was amazing and inspirational to read! You did AWESOME! Congrats on beating your old time by 24 minutes! That's incredible! You Rock!

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RHYNIC 4/16/2008 3:39PM

    Mary what a great race you just ran. Congratulations. And your husband...what a trooper. Congratulations to him also. You guys were fantastic. Just fantastic. I loved reading your blog. Hopefully in October you will get to read my marathon blog. Today I went on an 18 mile long run. It just felt fantastic. I was tired during that last mile...but it has given me the confidence. I do believe there is a marathoner in me also. thanks for sharing you marathon experience...you truly are an inspiration...one of my heroes. love gail

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BARBIET65 4/16/2008 12:46PM

    Oh Mary, this was truely worth the wait!
Just like your last race, it gave me goose bumps.
Mary I went to the link and did get to watch an hour of the race live, it was around 4am in the morning here, they kept flashing back and forth to the men & women leaders. Once or twice the cameras went to the general runners. I looked for ya! LOL!
I am proud to know you my dear virtual friend, and will lokk forward to reading about your next blog 200 days from now!
Much love,

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TLB513 4/16/2008 11:58AM

    (((MARY))) You are simply amazing! Your writing takes us on the journey with you... each step of the way. I thank you for that!!! NYC!!! WOW! I wish there was a way I could make it but, unfortunately, it's just not feasible. :o( You know, however, I'll definitely be there, in mind and spirit... cheering you on! emoticon

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OUTOFCONTROL 4/16/2008 11:26AM

    Congratulations! What a fantastic marathon!

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SANDYC17 4/16/2008 8:16AM

CONGRATULATIONS! I've been waiting for this blog. I feel as though we ran that marathon with you, through you, and it was certainly a pleasure - THANK YOU! You should be so proud of what you have accomplished. Team Sassy is proud of you!

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WANDAH3 4/16/2008 8:06AM

    Congratulations, and thanks for taking me along on your run. You are amazing.

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    Auntie Mary!!!!!!!!!! I am sooooooo excited for you and your sweet speed demon!!! Last year when I read your blog I followed along, this year I was able to run it step by step with you, because of you, I am a runner!!! I can only hope to be as strong and determined as you are when I start training for my next race!!! I love that you have a new Personal Best!!! Under 6 hours is amazing and a 24 minute improvement and with an injury!!! I knew you would be FANTASTIC!!! I love you and thank you for sharing your life and your passion with me!!! emoticon

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CEEBEE200 4/16/2008 6:57AM

    Mary!!!!! 24 mins faster than your previous time!!!!! That. is. HUGE!!!!!!! Massive congratulations to you - your preparation, visualisation and positive attitude all came together in an incredible way! I hope you are enjoying a well-earned rest this week, and basking in the glow of your success - you deserve it!!!

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London Calling

Thursday, April 10, 2008

This is it, The final four miles today in my taper. Then it's down to London in the morning. Excitement to say the least! My bag is just about packed and the last of the food/fuel items awaits to be put into my backpack.

This is what I have trained 18 weeks for. This is what I have spent miles running in the rain, the cold, the wind, early hours, and late afternoons. Given up my Saturday mornings for, squeezed into my weekdays, and went out even when my mind was saying..." ahhhh you can skip it today".

This is what I ran the Liverpool Half for back in the beginning of March. Pressing on to run it to the best of my ability.

This is what I went to a physiotherapist for when my hamstring tear occurred. It's what I spent time stretching, hot baths, cold baths, hot water bottles, frozen packs of peas and applied countless rubs, ointments, creams and taken many an ibuprofen for.

This is LONDON! This is my fourth marathon. This is a test of my body, my mind, my soul. This is for me. This is to pass down a legacy to those that know me.

On Sunday 13 April I will lace up with my red laces, make my way to the Blue Start area and at 9:45 GT finish what I have prepared for all these months. This is satisfaction, living with a passion. Seizing the day and wringing it dry! Bring IT on!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RHYNIC 4/10/2008 12:58PM

    I don't know what to say Mary. I read your post and here I sit with tears in my eyes, and I am left speechless. In a short blog you have capture the past 18 weeks...your marathon just around the corner. I want to wish you luck, but I don't think you need it. I want to tell you to run smart, but I know you already know that. I want to remind you to run safe, but you know way more about running safe than I do. Mary, may the pain of running 26.2 miles be less than the joy of crossing the finish line, getting a new t-shirt and a medal around your neck. Love Gail

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WANDAH3 4/10/2008 10:13AM

    You can do it! Your passion speaks through your words. I'm cheering you on and looking forward to your end report.

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    I can't believe it is here already!!! London is calling and you are answering with Desire, Dedication, Determination and Drive!!! I love you and am sooooo very proud of you!!! Jackie!!!

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LILLIAN64 4/10/2008 6:18AM

    That sounds so exciting.

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