Preparing the Mind to Marathon: Damn you Ozzie!

Leave the first response June 2, 2007 / Posted in The Running Mind

Thanks R. Walter wherever you run in the world.

In pursuit of knowledge,
Everyday something is acquired by the runner
In pursuit of wisdom,
Everyday something is given up by the runner

Lao Tzu speaking at a Running Clinic recently

I have a lot to give up.

As R mentioned we need to let go of the people that bother us.

The truth is, I don’t know if the comment is a smart ass comment or one that as a few mentioned is some good advice that carries a message that one can learn from.

When someone bothers me, all I know is that I am giving them control over me by me making a judgment about them and then expounding on my position against the one I have judged.

If they demeaned me, or marginalized me, or depersonalized me, or diminished me, then my response at the same level has put me in their control.

With an attitude of attack or blame, I know how I will respond when my body needs to finish 6 more miles of the marathon. My mind will be at the finish line or my mind is sitting by the side of the road throwing a tantrum and whinning about how tough it is, or that it (the mind) can’t go on, or blaming the weather, the shoes….

All that I write says everything about me and in my mind’s eye nothing about the person, event or thing on which I write. In those moments, I go unconsious and rale against a projection I have cast upon the person, event or thing I allow myself to be bothered by.

In all my years of training marathoners, I look for those moments when during a training run, I can hook the individual to lose focus of what they are doing and let their thoughts and anger get the best of them.

“Goddam it Ozzie, you said it was only going to be a 21 miler and by the time we get back it’s going to be at least 23 miles. ”

Ah myth! Ten years later: “That damn Gontang. It was suppose to be a 21 miler and when I went back and measured it with my car, it was really over a 24 mile run. Damn, I can’t believe he would do that to us. He should have known. I must admit that with all his stupid massaging and rolling the quads and calves s*** every few miles, when we finished it sure didn’t feel like a 24.”

“When are we going to stop doing these repeats up this stupid hill? I’m sick and tired of Ozzie saying: “Let’s do one more.” That was about 10 reps ago. This is really dumb what he’s having us do. We’ll never have any hills like this during the entire marathon.” Sally Byram nudges him and tell him to shut up and let’s go back up the hill. From past years she knows when the group starts back up the hill and there are no complaints, we’re ready to go home. The old timers don’t tell the new marathoners-in-training. They know from their own experience. At 22 or 25 when a gigantic mental hill is in front of them, it’s only something to overcome to get to the finish. They know these newbies will be prepared for anything their mind creates and throws at them.

I prefer not to mention the trolls or name the trolls or kill file the trolls. It’s the old adage: Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. They are the hills I have people do repeats on. When people get it, hills, trolls, crazy drivers, inconsiderate people, people who…, are breathed through. One is not banged about by their emotional wake. The empty boat is avoided because screaming at it or shouting or cursing at it has no resolution. The mind inquires what is it that I need to be doing. I focus on what I need to do to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. Mindfulness. Mindful running. Mindful living.

Some truisms I often have to say to myself.
Reality always wins, our only job is to get in touch with it.
All conversations are with myself, they just happen to involve other people most of the time.
When the knife is in my back, why are my fingerprints all over it.

There was and is a great deal of truth in the responses to Andrew’s original post.

Rec.running for many is about endurance running or making running a lifestyle commitment and a way of doing things. No matter what, these people are here and will be running as long as they are able.

When I am upset or bothered by anything, I can look at it as a mirror. I am given the opportunity to look inside and see that it’s all about me. The only power anyone has over me, is the power I give them and allow them to have.

Victor Frankel in Man’s Search for Meaning talked about the freedom one can have even in the worst concentration camp. The heart and the mind of man cannot be chained.

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