In the immortal words of Yogi Berra…



Yeah, I know he was talking about baseball, but honestly, running is the same way. At least it is for  me. I’ve run two half-marathons and zillions more miles in training. I’m not fast and I won’t break any records, but I know I have the physical ability to finish a 5K or a half-marathon.

But it’s not the physical ability that gets me. Okay, so my legs were a bit sore toward the end of today’s eight-mile training run (thank you, hilly stretch over Highway 183-A) but I wasn’t incapacitated by it. No, it’s that voice in my head–I’ll call her Fred–that looks ahead, calculates that I have three miles to go, and points out that I can’t possibly run all of it without a walk break. Or when I’m at mile 12.9 of a half-marathon and I tell myself to power through that last hill to the finish, and Fred chimes in to tell me I can’t. Imagine having the offspring of Siri and Marvin from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in your head, and you’ll see what I mean.

I feel like I have two personalities in there–the one who wants to push harder, run further, suck it up, and finish strong, and Fred, the counter-productive naysayer. And while sometimes I can drown Fred out with Maroon 5 or distract her with an episode of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, more often than not, especially on longer runs, Fred manages to barge in and shake my confidence.

I’ve developed a few strategies to stifle Fred’s voice, but I have yet to silence her completely. Sometimes I bargain with myself–run to the next street light/corner/mailbox. Or I switch songs on my ipod. Or I focus my vision on a tree or a building or the sunrise/sunset off in the distance, sort of a “Nyah nyah, I can’t hear you!” gesture. Sometimes I literally say out loud, “Suck it up, Princess” which usually comes out louder than I intended, thanks to the muffling effect of my headphones. 😉



But I’m not one of those people who loves running, who can zone out and just go, who runs double-digit distances for fun. I like being done with my run, not the run itself. Many days, every mile–hell, every step–is a challenge. Clearly I need to add some mental exercises into my training regimen–but how? I know how to improve my physical endurance, but I don’t have a clue how to deal with Fred. My phone has a Do Not Disturb function–too bad my brain doesn’t.


2 thoughts on “In the immortal words of Yogi Berra…

  1. I could’ve written this post! I totally know how you feel. I like telling myself how proud I will make my fiance if I tell him that I ran x amount of miles without walking! Sometimes that helps, sometimes it doesn’t 🙂


  2. I feel exactly the same! I do the same thing: bargain with myself. If I’m on the treadmill, I think just make it to the end of this song or the next five minute mark or the next quarter mile. If I’m outside it’s let’s make it to that tree or mailbox, like you. Glad I’m not the only one!


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