The Battle Between I CAN’T and I CAN

It’s week 12 of my 18 weeks of marathon training. Six weeks from this Sunday I will run the Chicago Marathon. It will be the third time I will run 26.2 miles. When I woke up before dawn this past Saturday morning for another long run, I jotted down the way I was feeling. Here’s what I wrote.

“This is the point in my marathon training when my brain starts to try to convince the rest of my body that I CAN’T actually do it. Or that I don’t WANT to. It’s when the little lazy minions in side of me who aren’t totally on board with this goal begin to wage war with the rest of me. It’s when I begin asking “Why did I decide to do this?” It’s when the battle between I CAN’T and I CAN begins.

Now is when I begin to feel guilty and selfish for leaving for two, three or more hours on Saturday morning to run. It’s when I want to sleep in past 6:00 in the morning, and not eat my breakfast in the dark or tip toe around so I don’t wake anyone up. It’s when my head starts saying things like, “Just stay here and make pancakes for the kids and lay around in your jammies until 9 am.” It’s when I begin to say things like, “Just have another glass of wine for dinner tonight. So what if you have to run 18 miles tomorrow? Run another day.”

But then I come to my senses and I remember that these are the moments that “separate the men from the boys,” the ladies from the women, the weak version of me from the strong version of me, the ordinary me from the extraordinary me, and maybe the sane from the crazy. I realize these moments are the ones that matter most and if I give up now, I have lost. When I’m not fighting this battle I wish I was. These are the times I remember why I do this. Not to tell someone I ran 16 miles today, but to win the battle raging inside of me and quiet the voice that whispers, “You can’t do that.”

Yes. I. Can.

For me, running isn’t actually so much about running. It’s about life and what I’m capable of in it. It’s about proving wrong the doubters, the naysayers, the haters… in my own head.”

And then I went out and ran 16 miles.

5 thoughts on “The Battle Between I CAN’T and I CAN

  1. Sally Adkins

    I am 8 weeks from my 1st marathon …. And yes these are the exact thoughts on my head ! Thanks for clearing this up; I am not crazy or maybe I am. Lol I feel the same way s out life and running its self disciple for me and self control !!!


  2. Paul Avenoso

    Awesome pace for a 16 miler! Best of luck in Chicago. I’m hoping to maintain my 10 minute mile pace for the full 26.2. Preferably without pain, like my first marathon (Chicago being my second)


  3. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes

    I’m right there with you. I have a really lofty goal for MCM in October and I keep telling myself that I can’t hit my goal. Well you can bet I won’t if I keep telling myself that but I’m not sure how to turn that around!


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