RUN FOR: STRENGTH
I run to be strong. Strength is something physical but it is also something that comes from within. I run not only to be strong physically but I run to have inner strength.
In order to gain more physical strength, I have spent countless hours lifting free weights, performing core strength exercises, running up hills, cross training, and running miles and miles. Building physical strength makes my muscles sore after a long run. My muscles are filled with lactic acid after a hard speed workout or a tough hill climb. My body craves the release of my muscle roller to make my muscles relax. No matter how much sweat my body releases in all of the hard work, I always want more and to be even stronger.
“A runner who finds true success is one who can push through tough challenges with grit.”
But being physically strong is not the only thing that makes you a true athlete. As I have added more miles to my personal training log over the years, I have learned that to be a strong runner you not only need the strength of a mini-hulk, you need incredible superhuman inner strength. A runner who finds true success is one who can push through tough challenges with grit and courage that comes from the heart. A strong runner is one who can accept defeat with grace and choose to go back and face an opponent again whether the opponent is a lonely training run or a fierce competitor at the starting line.
As I run I am training my inner strength. Not every run is easy. Sometimes the weather is dreadful but you have to be willing to overlook it and go out and play in the rain, cold, or snow. Sometimes when I run, I feel as though my shoes are full of lead—the first mile seeming to go on for hours. However, you must dig deep and push through if you want to reach your goals.
When I was trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 2012, my training was on track for a PR at the Vermont City Marathon. The question was whether I would be able to meet the new qualifying standard of 3:40 for my age group. I went out too fast and did not stick to my plan. And with five miles to go, I saw my B.Q. slip away. I knew I could hang on through the finish line to claim my P.R. (3:45), but felt defeat at the finish line for having gone “off course” with my race plan.
At the start of the race I did not believe in my own capabilities and ran faster than I should have hoping I could put some time “in the bank” in case I needed it later in the race. Rather than continue to hang my head and feel disappointed in my finish I decided to feel proud of my accomplishment and to use the race as a learning experience to make me stronger. These tough experiences help you draw new energy to grow stronger and reach your goals.
“I trusted myself and I reached deep within and ran.”
After this race “flop” I continued to train hard and quietly. I knew that my goal of achieving my Boston Marathon qualifying time had to come from within. I picked a final qualifying race, The Marathon Around the Lake, and continued my training focusing mostly on my mental preparation. I needed to trust my inner strength on race day. I needed to believe in myself and know that I was strong enough to run the time that I wanted. I went to the marathon by myself and I was ready to run. I knew what I wanted and I had come to claim my B.Q. from the racecourse. I trusted myself and I reached deep within and ran. Finally around 10:30 at night I reached my goal. I ran through the finish line in 3:33 and it was a celebration just for me. I soaked in the moment and felt as strong as I ever had.
Running the Boston Marathon this year will require the strength of us all coming together to run and to heal and to lift each other up. It has been an emotional journey to get to race day this year after having completed the marathon last year within mere minutes of the terrible tragedy near the finish line. I will need strength and courage and determination to reach the finish line. I will run using my physical strength and my inner strength and I will run to be Boston strong with you.
I run to be strong. #WhatsYourWhy?
Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.
— Rikki Rogers
Sandra Laflamme lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where she works and plays! She is the social media manager for her family business Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs. When she is not working Sandra trains for marathons, trail races, and team relay races. She is currently training for the Boston Marathon in April. She is also a busy mom of two energetic kids ages 5 and 3 who love playing in the beautiful New Hampshire outdoor playground. If you want to follow Sandra’s running adventures you can read more on her blog, Organic Runner Mom, where she also shares tips for motivation, recipes, training tips, gear reviews and more.