The decision to continue in the face of adversity is a mental challenge.

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I was 20K into the marathon portion of an Ironman-distance triathlon and had been racing for over 10 hours. I finished the first loop of the course and what lay ahead of me was two more 11 km laps around Clermont Lake, Florida.

As I approached the start of the second loop, my sister cheered me on. Her words of encouragement battled the darkening road ahead. I was exhausted. I knew that in my current state, I would need to walk most of the last miles. I started to jog, but within 200 meters, the thought of being out there…


Photo by Harry Cunningham on Unsplash

I refused to face the reality that I was overweight until I saw an unflattering picture of myself in a brown Speedo bathing suit, fishing by the side of a river. The protruding belly could not be hidden. This sorry sight was confirmed by a serious look in the mirror. The mirror told no lies.

I was not always chubby. I remained a slim active boy until we moved from a small town to the city. In the summer after grade 5, while my mother, a single mom, looked for a job in the new city, I was shipped an…


Moments that can change your perception of running and of yourself.

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For most people, life is comprised of the mundane tasks necessary to meet individual needs and desires. It is often a blur, a Groundhog Day of repeated actions. We can escape the daily grind through leisure activities such as reading, music, movies, going out, or gardening. When we immerse ourselves in our hobbies, we can reach a state of flow as described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, where we focus on the task at hand and get so fully engrossed that the rest of the world around us dissipates. Time stands still. Nothing else matters.

For us runners, our escapism or moments…


Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash

In high school, I was not aware of the process of setting SMART goals. Despite that, I did set a goal to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, in Cambridge, MA.

My mother influenced my desire to enroll at this famous university. Throughout my youth, she kept encouraging me to consider engineering as a profession. Initially, the term escaped my comprehension; I believed an engineer drove trains. As I read science magazines, I kept hearing about this top engineering school. I decided that if MIT reigned supreme, then I would make that my goal. …


Photo by Norman Marcotte

There we were, two ragged cronies lying on the floor of the closet trying to recover from a tedious workout. The run that day proved particularly arduous. It had rained the previous night, but our owner still insisted on taking us on the trails. We attempted to veer off towards drier paths, but his legs were in control. We were not too enthusiastic, so we dragged his feet. We almost drowned in the puddles a couple of times. By the time the ordeal ended, dirt-covered our eyelets, our tongues were black, and mud packed our grooves. Stuffed with newspaper, we…


When dealing with a running injury, patience is your strongest ally.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

As we walked the dog on that cold December morning, my spouse and I failed to realize how slippery the ground was underneath the thin white layer of snow. As we took a tentative step on a sloped part of the field, we both slid backward; my wife landed on her backside, while I fell sideways on my ribs. The second I connected with the solid ice, I knew I had cracked some ribs. I laid on my back watching the blue sky, contemplating the damage my body had just suffered. With the help of my spouse, I got up…


Relive your running moments with mementos

Photo by Jennifer MacDonell

February 24, 2021, marked the 30th anniversary of my participation in the mega-team competition of the Peterborough Half-Marathon. A cold winter day greeted a busload of eager runners from the local club as they drove the 90 minutes to the race site early on a Sunday morning. A mega-team consisted of 30 runners, of which at least five had to be women. Although the temperature reached below freezing, the streets were clear of snow or ice. After the last team runner completed the two loops of the course, we went inside for a warm cup of soup while waiting for…


Don’t trust your treadmill, it could be misleading you.

Photo by Kseniia Lopyreva from Pexels

In winter, when the snow, cold or icy roads prevent me from running outside, I fill up a water bottle and head down to the basement to run on the treadmill. I select either Netflix or YouTube and choose a video that will keep me distracted. I press the start button and jump on as I slowly increase the speed.

My preferred running distance is 10K. The duration allows me the opportunity to enjoy an episode or half of a movie, yet it is not so long as to feel tedious going nowhere. I follow the display to monitor the…


Gauge your racing fitness with a time trial

Photo by Des Tan on Unsplash

We had big plans for 2020. My spouse and I registered for five races where we hoped to achieve some post-40 personal bests. The distances ranged from 5K, 10K, a 10-miler, and two marathons. We had planned on travelling to a few of these races, with one of those trips being a family vacation.

Three days before the departure for the family vacation, the Airbnb host sent us a message indicating they were cancelling because of COVID-19. It devastated us. After the bitter disappointment of cancelling the spring break vacation and the scheduled 5K, the race cancellations kept coming. …


New runners: There are many resources available

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To reach your running goals, you need to develop an action plan that will direct your training. Developing a training plan requires knowledge that can be gained through experience. For newcomers to the sport of running, that experience does not have to come from you. There are different ways you can acquire the knowledge you need to define your running plan by capitalizing on the experience of other runners.

Books

Norman Marcotte

Writer, runner, mentor, dreamer. Author of "Take 10 and Reach the Boston Marathon" and the children's book "Frankenstein's Science Project".

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