Tag Archives: Scott Jurek

Training the mind

As I sit here typing away (with ice on my buttocks) I contemplate the week that was. There was no moping, there were no tears, nor were there questions of failure. It’s been a week since I last tried running, two weeks since I successfully completed a run. But unlike injuries of past, this one did not send me spinning down the rabbit’s hole of depression.

Sure, following last Monday’s failed run, there were a few moments of disappointment and anxiety, but honestly, those moments lasted all of a half an hour. In fact, my last blog post, the one all about suckage, was written in my head in that half hour while sitting on a bench outside. By the time I reached the door to the loft, though, those feelings had almost all but dissipated.

And yet, I’m pretty sure this has been the most painful, or at the very least the second most painful, injury I have endured. (The ankle stress fractures really sucked!) But this time, there was something in me, something that refused to give up, something that believed in my ability to overcome this injury. Not once did I believe this was the end of my training for the season. Not once did I think I would not be running my half marathon goal race in September. Not once did I contemplate throwing in the training towel.

Which brings me to what I’ve been doing for the last several months: Training my mind in tandem with my legs and core. I’ve been reading books – A Life Without Limits (amazing!); Eat & Run (inspiring!); and now My Life On the Run (still too early to comment.) – magazine articles, online studies, and I’ve also been talking to several runners in my life who inspire me every single day.


This training has mostly been centred around race day; training my mind not to give up when the race becomes more difficult, to keep going despite fatigue, belly issues, etc., to push hard straight through to the finish line. To refuse failure.

But the thing is, everything I’ve read is just as useful for injury as it is for race day. Triathlete Chrissie Wellington pushed through extreme pain in 2011 to claim her fourth Ironman World Championship title – just 14 days after a major cycling crash that left her with a pulled pectoral muscle and several other injuries! Ultra marathoner Scott Jurek ran an insane 100 miles, for 26 hours and 8 minutes, with torn ligaments in his ankle! They did not give up.

Nor shall I.

Tomorrow morning, I try my hand at running again…

Dude, you just got chicked!

For about 24 hours leading into yesterday’s 10 km race, I was questioning my sanity, and truthfully, I’m still questioning it. There’s no doubt in my mind I was suffering the ill effects of injury; nasty, painful aches in the pelvic/groin region. I couldn’t bend over, squat down, cross my legs, make any sudden movement, heck, I couldn’t even put my socks on without wincing in pain. So what the hell was I doing racing?

I told myself over and over it was a cycling injury, not a running injury. Dear Physio, who’s been extremely conservative in the past with me running with injury, would never have given the green light if he thought it bad. And then there was my stubborn, and somewhat insane, side refusing to wimp out.

Insert nervous smile here.

I warmed up for 20 minutes prior with a 5 minute jog, leg drills, and a whole bunch of 1 minute and 30 second speed intervals. I did a last minute re-lace of my shoes, had 3 shot blocks at the start line, kissed my Rings, and was off.

Even Little Ring was questioning the decision.

Right away my mental capacity was struggling, my belly felt hollow, my pelvis felt like it had a whole library’s worth of books stacked on it, and Negative Nelly had invaded my brain space: “Maybe you’re not cut out for racing? Why are you out here? If you just stopped, it would feel better?” But I knew I couldn’t stop. I knew if I stopped, I wouldn’t start again.

I tried to focus in on a line I’d read from Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run the evening prior. Jurek says he shuts his brain off when running ultras, he doesn’t think about anything else other than the moment at hand. I told myself not to worry about the finish, not to worry about total time, not to worry about the other racers around me. I told myself to focus on my run, focus on my pace, focus on my foot turnover.

130728stayStay in the moment.

I wasn’t doing too badly with pace at the outset, but as the out-and-back trail progressively got warmer, my legs got slower. I tried to tell them to shut up, I tried to force my bricks for feet to go faster, I tried to dig deep, but there just wasn’t much there.

With about 4 km to go, I got passed by a dude, who had instantly slowed as soon as he got by me, which kind of annoyed me, I mean, if you’re gonna pass me, pass me already! I figured it wouldn’t take much effort to get by him, so I sped up, but as soon as he saw me next to him, he kicked his pace up a few notches. Yep, he was one of those guys!

I kept him in my sights and gradually reeled him back in, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce. As soon as I saw a white tent up ahead, I thought for sure we were nearing the finish corral, and I dug so deep, I was running faster than speed interval pace, I had that dude eating my dust, all the while giggling inside. Dude, you just got chicked!

No! Wait! Where’s the finish line? No! It should be here! No! I saw the tent! Nooooooooo! I WENT OUT TOO EARLY!!! And despite my legs physically able to keep going at that pace with the short distance left, the stupid side of my brain won the battle. My pace slowed, dude passed. D’oh 😦

Finishing strong. (Note: the older couple behind me were 5 km walkers who wanted to finish strong with a run down the last 100 metre stretch :D)


  • 8:50 a.m. BG before: 6.4
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: 3 shot blocks (16 grams) no bolus
  • Time: 56:39
  • Distance: 10 km
  • Average pace: 5:36 min/km
  • Average cadence: 87 spm
  • 10:15 a.m. BG after: 9.0

Water well deserved.

It’s not a personal best this time, but I am proud of my fortitude to push through the pain and finish strong. Mind you, I’m still majorly hobbled today and feel as though my left leg is in serious need of a transplant – OUCH!