should be nicknamed “the five letter word.” Lately, as my running continues to get stronger and stronger, so has the confidence I have in myself. It’s surprising to look back on the girl that ran cross-country in college, the girl that used to have SUCH anxiety about workouts before practice. I used to camp out outside of my coach’s office after eating lunch with the team and beg him to tell me what our speed workouts would be that afternoon because I just couldn’t handle the pressure. I’d drive myself crazy playing out all the possibilities:

Would it be a 4xmile day? Could I stay on pace? Can my legs handle it today? How hard will I have to push?

I would get so nervous and anxious that within the first 15 minutes of a workout I’d throw up… Coach started calling me “Ralph” (you get the idea). This was an internal battle I fought on a daily basis. Of course, my coach never told me what the workout was. He’d say “Campanaro, are you a distance runner or a candy ass?” (Translation: show up and show up mentally tough!)

Fast forward four years: I am amazed at how my attitude has started to change. How waking up for a six miler has become “an easy day.” How I know every Wednesday I need to get a speed workout in… and I get it in! I’m starting now see how I’m gaining a trust in my legs, my ability both as a runner and a person to cope with my anxieties. Nevertheless, doubt is a regular presence in my daily life and I find myself slip away and wonder, “can I actually run 26.2 miles?” This doubt would usually sit with me for about three or four days and my runs would suffer, I’d go to work feeling less than my best and I’d pull away from friends. My best friend/running guru Meghan told me before I started this process of marathon training something I’ll never forget…

“This isn’t about whether or not you can run 26.2 miles- you know you could do that now, no question. This is a test of how mentally tough you are and how committed to one goal you can be. It’s time consuming, it’s draining, it’s not easy but use this process to work on your mental attitude.”

Every morning is a struggle to put the pieces of my life together in the right order, but logging my miles day-in and day-out makes visualizing the finished product much more real… more attainable.

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