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Month: May 2023

7 Critical Things I Tell Myself Before A 24-Hour Endurance Event.

These are 7 of the things that start going through my mind the week before an event. You are trying to align your mind with what your body is about to do. Mental prep is vital to success, so self-talk leading up to a race is critical.

1) You get what you get and you don’t get upset.

Training is done, there’s nothing more to do.  You will wish you had more time.  I rarely get to the starting line feeling 100%, more like 75-90%. You rarely perform the perfect taper or get great sleep the week of the event.  Everyone has a life outside of running, unless you’re a pro, that will put additional demands on you.   If you can get to the starting line be grateful. 

2) Today Will Not Be Perfect

The event will not be perfect.   Know that things will go sideways and I hope they do!  Odds are I will fall, run out of water, get injured, and be extremely tired.  The list goes on and on, expectations should be low then I will be pleasantly surprised if it goes well. Prepare your mind for adversity!

3) Keep Your Mind Busy

Take some photos, talk to strangers, or plan your aid station meal. From the book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” keeping busy eliminates suffering and pain. We are single-track-minded, and we really only do one thing at a time.  Keeping your brain busy with something helps distract from the pain. It can’t focus on a task AND pain, so make sure you get busy with some tasks to distract from the pain.

4) Insecurities Come and Go 

Get ready for the highest highs and lowest lows.  The event will have times you feel like you are on top of the world, then wish someone would put you out of your misery.  It will bounce between these two extremes, realize they pass just like a fast-moving storm, and you just need to acknowledge it and keep moving!

5) Fix Minor Issues Early

Be sensitive to irritation. If something is annoying you in the slightest way, stop and take care of it.  Tell your crew to get whatever you need to fix it, ice or lube if there’s a hot spot.  You can’t put things off. Small problems balloon into major issues the longer the event. Your mind will keep nagging you if you don’t, until is screaming to stop.

6) Always Be Eating (A-B-E). 

Constantly fuel your body and brain. Unlike training, it’s something I remind myself in a race. Set a timer for every 30 minutes and keep eating or drinking your calories. You should also change what you are eating as to not get sick of it.  The stomach is slow to digest and you are going to be doing this for a long time.  ALWAYS BE EATING! You think this is simple to do, but it is not. The brain gets lazy with remembering when to eat, and the stomach stops craving food.   

7) Smile 

Our brains are so dumb that if you smile it will ease suffering. If you can find joy or fun in what you are trying to accomplish it will make it easier.  Happiness is contagious, be a source of fun and joy to those around you.  I carry a picture of my family to remember why I am doing this and what is most important.

That’s it. These 7 tricks help me get through my events. Just enjoy it because it’s over before you know it. If you have any mental tricks I would love to hear them in the comments below!

-Patrick Durante

20 Years Of Broad Street – America’s Largest 10 Miler 

Broad Street was my first jump in distance.  The transition from 5K to 10M, then half marathon, marathon, and the rest was history.  It was a gateway from the casual 5K/10K to a “Can I even finish?” distance I took on 20 years ago.

What went right?

I had a blast!  I didn’t have any goals for this race.  I ran to the best of my ability for that given day and course. I had just raced the Philadelphia Trail Marathon the week prior and felt the effects.  I would never miss one of these limited events with my family as we are near the “tail end”.  The doorway is beginning to open with my children. Both my son(7) and daughter(10) are signed up for their first 5K.  They are about to embark on their running journey.  In the podcast from Derek Sivers, I was really moved by this one section where he talks about the importance of raising his son right:

If you do this right, it passes on for many generations —A kid that’s raised really well can pass on that generosity of spirit, you know?  Somebody that’s raised ignored might pass on that scarcity of spirit, you know?  

Derek Sivers – Tim Ferriss Podcast

My parents have been great role models for me, and I hope to pass on the lessons they’ve taught me to my own children. They’ve shown me the importance of perseverance and hard work, no matter what challenges may arise. These are valuable lessons that can help shape the character of future generations.

What went wrong?

I had a marathon the week before that I cared more about than this race.  I gave 100% effort in that race, and this got about 80% effort.  I mostly recovered but knew that it would limit my output. I was tight in my hips and could still feel it, but I still felt nearly recovered. It must have been close to 10 years since I last raced back-to-back weekends.

What I would have done differently?

The best race will be when you don’t care about the outcome.  Future me will try harder to remove myself from outcomes.  I know I have the best performance when I don’t care about time. It’s not like I didn’t try, but I just know my times will fade as the years add up.  I won’t break records as I get older.  I am fine with that.  What I can do is make better videos, live in the moment, inspire my children, and motivate them in their fitness adventures.  The finish time could be 1 hour or 2 hours, how fast you get down broad street really doesn’t matter, or make you any more interesting of a person.  The race is set up to reward those in the front to start first, but that’s it.  I don’t want things to go faster, I just want to experience them deeper, or differently. Maybe I should start with the pink coral? 🙂

The more time goes on the more I detach myself from outcomes and connect myself with those I can share the experience with.  If you focus on outcome you could miss out on the sights and sounds of the race.  If you watch the video I shot I cared more about the feel of the race vs time. Honestly, I don’t think I couldn’t have gone any faster anyway.     

I look back on 20 years of racing with fond members of my family, pre-race dinners, subway rides, and bib pick-ups.  I won’t boil down a race to seconds on a clock when there is history and emotion that runs down Broad Street.  Mile 8 is my street, Ritner, the street I grew up on, and 2 miles from the finish.  I hope I have 40 more finishes, a few more with my family, and my children.  To some, it’s just another race, but to me, it was that spark that lead to a lifetime of adventure.  

Here was my PoV video from the race. My camera died right at the end…