Why I Need My #SistersInSport

Prologue/Preamble: If you want to know more about what #sistersinsport is all about or more about Believe I Am, check out this blog written by Ro, co-founder of Believe I Am. 

My prior post made me sound uber confident about the upcoming NYC marathon. And, to be honest, at that point, I was. My long run last Saturday had given me a healthy dose of confidence and looking back on my cumulative training did even more so. I’ve had no interruptions. I’ve had better workouts and long runs than before. All signs pointing to good marathon, right?

I told the RC on Sunday that I felt confident that this should go pretty well for me, barring some unforeseen circumstance (which is very possible with a marathon) or a stupid tactical move (also highly possible). Monday, I wrote in my training journal that “the only thing standing between me and a good marathon is race execution, not fitness, which relies upon the correct mindset.”

Proof I wrote this, in case you thought I was lying.

If you notice, I didn’t mention specific times that qualify as a “good marathon,” besides my 10 minute window of 3:35 to 3:45. I guess “good” in those moments of confidence meant a marathon in which I did the following: 1) ran up to my potential; 2) ran smartly (and #1 depends on this); 3) avoided a death march at the end (also depends on #2); 4) took the race in and was present in each moment; 5) had fun.

I even tried for about a half hour on pic monkey to superimpose the “present,here,now” Believe I Am visual cue upon a picture from last year’s NYC marathon to serve as my overall NYC marathon visual cue. I want to take in the course. Rather than trying to dissociate from the pain I’m feeling with music/distraction games/etc, I want to associate with whatever I am feeling – pain, joy, etc – and use it to fuel me all the way into Central Park (and on further to the nearest 16 Handles, ideally). I’ve been living here for 9 years now and rarely go to the outer boroughs. Perfect opportunity to take it all in, right?!

I am technologically behind, but you get the picture – present, here and now amidst the chaos of 1st Avenue. Taking it all in.

This whole little “excited, confidence, ready to have fun” mindset was temporarily derailed by the doubt demons. Looking at an excel spreadsheet and seeing that I may be running a lot of miles at 8:0x for a 3:35 marathon made my heart rate rise at least 10 beats per minute in no time. Worrying that I’ll feel good, yet be running out of my fitness level in the first half and then subsequently be doing a death march for the last 10 miles sent me into a panic. Worrying that I won’t enjoy it made me scared.

My Erica Sara bracelet…like my own personal dementor to fend off the doubt demons.

While running is often perceived as a lonely or solitary sport, I’d argue that it takes a village for even us mere “commoners” to achieve what we want in running. I used to term my running friends and mentors as my “running brain trust,” but now I like the term “Sisters In Sport” better.

My sisters in sport help remind me of my toughness, of what I’ve worked for, of what I’m capable of. My sisters in sport help me to enjoy training more. My sisters in sport are my sounding board for ideas and, most importantly, doubts.

Without Erika, I wouldn’t be a runner.

First “race” in May 2009

Without Jocelyn, I wouldn’t have gotten up a lot of mornings to run, wouldn’t have dared myself to dream a bit bigger (thanks to emailed articles!), or learned how to train hard and make light of it at the same time.

“This is going to hurt!”

Without Lauren, I wouldn’t have believed that running confidence and belief in oneself isn’t given, it is something you must work on and develop…and that I could do that (still a work in progress, but I think I’m a lot better than a year ago or two years ago).

One of us just won our age group! And, one of is a 2x USA 5K Champ. Just slightly different. Ok, way different.

Without Laura and Megan, I wouldn’t have run PRs in the 10K or half marathon.

Thank you Laura Running Sherpa!

Thanks for doing the math each mile, too, Megan!

Without Jen, I wouldn’t have had a sounding board to bounce many ideas off of.

[sorry Jen, no pic of us together…must change that!]

Without the RC, I wouldn’t be nearly as calm about running as I am today (you people should have just seen when I started with her – total neurotic nutcase pace obsessed monkey).

Me + RC

Without Courtney and Jess, I wouldn’t have had med school running buddies and learned how to race (“racing is not fun, it is painful”).

Two now doctors and I!

Without Gia, I wouldn’t be running this marathon and thinking it could go well.

Gia is a mom of twins!

Without Susan and Jaime, I would think that making time for exercise in medical school was not productive for my career.

#sweatsquadders over a year ago! Time flies. Susan, Maria, Kelly, Me, Ali, and Megan.

Without the Oiselle chicks, I wouldn’t be trying to embody “go fast, take chances” in races and wouldn’t think that this little weekend warrior could have a place in the “real runners” community.

Birds take Seattle!

And, there are many more of my #sistersinsport to name, but I can’t as it is nearing my bedtime. But, you get the picture.

After spilling all of my recent neuroses to some of my sisters (whoa, that sounds like a bit like a sorority girl now, doesn’t it?), I’ve been encouraged to really forget about pace and focus on energy managment. Encouraged to focus on not 2nd guessing myself in the 1st half  as too much mental (and, in turn, physical) energy is wasted thinking “is this too fast? too slow?” Encouraged to believe in my toughness and strength in the 2nd half. Just stick with Gia, take it all in, think about the what ifs later (or never).

First half = “flow, focus, enjoy”

Second half = “smooth, strong, and steady”

But, there are still 10 days to the race. Let’s think about this later and more about what nail polish color I should wear and if I should order Ryan Lochte’s “Hardcore” video tomorrow (I think, yes).

Yes, I think I should order.


Until next time…


16 thoughts on “Why I Need My #SistersInSport

  1. I loved this post and reading about all of the positive women in your life. You have a wonderful support system and people who are there for you everyday. It made me think about who is part of my support system and all of a sudden I felt really lucky too. It is great to be surrounded by awesome people. I think that someone that I have become really close to you is a lady that I used to workout with everyday. She runs marathons too and she is what sparked my motivation last year to get my rear in gear and train for CIM. Without her I probably wouldn’t have had that huge spark lit inside of me.

  2. You rock. And totally nailed the importance of having a “family” of support to not only help push you, but realize that you can push yourself. I’m so excited to see you kill nycm, and love every (well, maybe a majority) step along the way. SEE YOU SOON

  3. What a great post, Meggie! I love your current marathon plan and enjoy chatting with you and beings sisters in sport! Yes, we need to get a pic together!

  4. love this, Meggie! The whole sisters in sport movement is amazing and I think it’s so great for lady runners/athletes to unite together and make each other better. Your mindset this time around is perfect and I think you are going to rock NYCM! I wish I had more of a chance to run/hang with you guys because I am lacking in sisters in sport at the moment! But my coach (John) has been my “coach/brother” in sport and really helped me through this whole training cycle.

    After NYCM, my reward is going to be one of Erica’s bracelets and a Believe I Am journal 🙂

  5. Great post!! I am forever amazed at people who struggle with all of the thoughts that go along with running a marathon outside of running a marathon! I think anyone who can train and put that much time and effort into even considering running 26.2 miles deserves all sorts of major props and a huge sense of accomplishment!!
    That bracelet is awesome. So simple, so to the point, and so true!! Love it!

  6. Hi Meggie! I’ve been following your blog for a while and love that you can articulate your thoughts about running so well! I’m trying to BQ at the MCM this weekend and all of your thinks have been incredibly helpful in battling my own doubt demons. I’m also worried about race execution and having enough energy for the finish. I’m actually really curious about your race plan because I was thinking about following the pace group, but that might be too ambitious. Would you mind sharing your race plan?

    • Hi Sarah! So, I don’t exactly have a pace strategy — the excel spreadsheet I was referring to is one that takes into account the NYC marathon course (bridges, etc) and the pace range for it was a 9:05 slowest mile (first mile, up the verrazano bridge) and then 7:52 fastest mile (down the Queensboro bridge) with most miles in the 8:0x range due to some slower miles (8:30 up Queensboro bridge and up 5th ave hill) on bridges and the 5th ave hill towards the end. My overall strategy is to feel somewhat conversational through the Queensboro bridge and then its ok to put the hurt on after that. Sorry I don’t really have anything specific! As an aside, I don’t usually like pace groups, as I find the either start out too fast or are too crowded or cause a lot of stress if you speed up or fall behind. I’d just say make sure to start out feeling good and almost too comfortable. When I ran the NJ Marathon in May 2011, I started with the pace group and our first mile was 8:09 – way too fast! I was pretty dead towards the end. Good luck!

  7. Probably my favorite post ever from you. It totes takes a village (sometimes a couple of villages). Nice runner panel…Nice group of people you have put together 🙂

  8. Thanks for the shoutout, and your residency application essay would have been nothing without running! (I mean, kind of literally…although I’m sure you would have written about something else.) Let’s run together soon…you can even use my shower. And then we can eat 16 Handles.

  9. Pingback: Sisters In Sport: Check In Numero Dos and Revised Goals « The Thinks I Can Think

  10. Pingback: Sisters in Sport: Check Out « The Thinks I Can Think

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