The Physical Training Tapers Down, The Mental Training Heats Up…

So here I am, 13 days out from running The Kentucky Derby Marathon (my 2nd Marathon , and 2nd time running this one) and I notice a change in my attitude and overall demeanor. This is probably the only time I allow myself to be a little selfish with my thoughts. For that 1% of the 1% of the U.S. Population who has completed a Marathon , you know what I mean. For the majority, let me explain…See, when you run any race, 5K, 10K, 5 Miler, 10 Miler, Half Marathon, Marathon, Ultra Marathon, etc, there is a certain amount of violence your body goes through, plain and simple. When you get up in the miles for your race, that violence translates into things the average person doesn’t realize a Marathoner has to deal with: HEAVY drop in immune system during the race (it is not uncommon for people to have sudden colds/cold like symptoms once the race is over); the muscles that tear (yes, they will repair themselves with proper rest and recovery) in the over 58,000 steps taken; the constant balance of not getting too full and not getting too ravenous based on refueling on the sudden increase in calorie burn. And all of that is just a glimpse of the physical requirements/demands on our bodies.

The mental preparation is such a personal/private journey. If you’re a 1st timer, trying to visualize yourself crossing the finish line, or hitting the wall, or holding that precious medal. If it isn’t your first time, getting back in touch with the part of you that believes in you. Knowing that the miles will come, knowing that you’ve put in the training, now it is time to enjoy the tow.

In this time, I notice I am much more quiet, not only in the face to face sense, but also in the social media sense. I am more guarded in my thoughts because I feel almost foolish in opening up. Like my immune system during the race, my psyche is more vulnerable than usual. I keep my thoughts to myself, because there is less likely an opening for someone who either means well, or is just taking a passive-aggressive dig at what I am about to do, to make a comment that completely derails me or has me not believing in myself. And every Marathoner I know, will tell you, when The Wall hits, it is COMPLETELY how you process everything with the right frame of mind, that helps you push through, or quit.

When you begin your training program, you are wide open with anticipation on embarking on this journey. When you’re in the thick of your training, things like farlteks, 20 mile runs, hill repeats, Yasso 800’s, and many others, are common words in you vernacular when talking with your running and non-running friends. For that small time period, after tapering of your miles usually start, you are left very much alone with your thoughts. Unless you know someone who is running the exact Marathon as you, this is when you feel most alone amongst everyone you know, because no one else is going through this in their training.

Every quiet moment is spent with me thinking about crossing the Finish Line. Every time I am around people, I want to shout that I am going to run my Second Marathon on my Second Anniversary as a Runner (Runnerversary, if you will). I will watch “Spirit of the Marathon ”; “Rocky 4”, “and anything Superman I can, a million times. I will listen to “You’re Never Over” by Eminem; “Invincible” by MGK; “Courageous: by Casting Crowns; “Hell Yeah” by Rev Theory; “Hero” by Skillet; “Victory” by P. Diddy feat. Biggie and Busts Rhymes; Half of the Soundtrack to the movie “Sucker Punch”; “You’re the Best Around” from the Original “Karate Kid”; “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour; and a few others, multiple times daily. I will go over, re-write, and re-write again, my “plan of attack” on how I will approach pace. I wonder how much I will allow myself to wear my medal.

I am not even sure if this will make any sense to anyone. Nor am I even sure how eloquent this is. During this time, I feel like that last second that Bruce Banner is turning into the Hulk; or that split second when Clark is about to turn into Superman. But at the same time, there is a level of sadness, because you know this is it…trying to figure out your identity once you cross the finish line. Trying to figure out who you have become, when you look in the mirror. Wondering if you have earned the right to be proud of yourself for the work you have put in.

I am 2 Weeks Away from celebrating my 2 Year Runnerversary as I become a 2-Time Marathoner…Now, a Moment of Silence

-Until The Wheels Fall Off
-Corey “The Illuminati Runner”


  1. Wow~~~ You are an amazing man!! Just wanted to tell you that!!

  2. Well said, brother. On April 28th, we will face the yawning maw of Hell together!


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