The Art of Staying in the Moment


The Marine Corps Marathon was a really difficult race for me. Over the past few months I’ve been trying to understand why it was so tough. During training I had my ups and downs. There were runs when after 10 miles I wanted to cry and quit and other days I felt fantastic like I could run forever. It wasn’t until I was flying down for the Princess Marathon and I ran into Erin ( on the plane. She ran the Marine Corps and noticed something and it really put things into perspective. The marathon was the day before Hurricane Sandy hit. Because the storm was coming, people were not in the moment; their thoughts were everywhere but the race. This was true not only of the runners but the volunteers and Marines.

She was right.

From the moment we arrived in DC our focus shifted immediately from enjoying the weekend with family and friends to dealing with the storm. Jim and I got found out our flight home was cancelled. I was tempted to throw in the towel on the run and just head home, but Jim thought that was silly. Since we couldn’t fly we worked it out with the rental car company to just drive from DC to Rhode Island.


This really impacted my run. Instead of enjoying the run, my mind was elsewhere. I was okay for the first half of the race. But then I reached a point where I was worried about sitting in a car for 8 or more hours. I ran the first 20 miles and after hitting the bridge, I decided to walk the last 10k. My mind was already on the car ride and I was thinking about how my legs would feel.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I had the same issue during training. It was still the height of surf season. The water was warm enough to not have to wear but a 2/3 wetsuit. During so many of my long runs, I yearned to be in the water. My mind was anywhere but the run. My runs suffered.


I find I enjoy running the most when I am in the moment, when my mind doesn’t wander off to worry about work, shopping, or bills. I focus on the steps ahead of me and continue to move forward. When I manage to stay in the moment, running is a joy.

My other love surfing is the same; you have to satay in the moment. The minor difference with surfing, if you lose focus on the moment, the waves can be very unforgiving.

Staying in the moment during a run (and in life) is an art I am still working to perfect. Once in a while I am truly able to eliminate distraction and enjoy just being. When I do, my stride comes easy and my breath is not labored. I had this feeling during the Princess marathon. While it was not my fastest race, it was so enjoyable because I was just enjoying running. Disney is fantastic for putting up great entertainment along the course, but I found it wasn’t necessary because I was in the present moment. I was simply enjoying running.


This is a work in progress. But because I had such a struggle with the Marine Corps Marathon, I am much more aware. Jim and I have the Newport 10 miler coming up in a few weeks. Let’s hope all of the mental training I’ve been doing has paid off and I’ll be able to stay in the moment.



  1. AMEN. I struggle with this in EVERY aspect of my life…I’m one of those people who can never just focus on the present, I’m always stressed out over checking off another item on my To-Do list or my next work project or squeezing in my next run, etc. etc. etc., and I do think part of the reason I was so drawn to running is because, like you said, you really do have to focus just on being in the moment — when I don’t, that’s when things start to get rough!


  2. Ok, first of all, is that guy wearing a Nemo shirt?!? I love that!

    Second of all, I 100% hear you as far as staying in the moment being difficult, this is definitely something I struggle with as well. We talk a lot about being in the moment in yoga and it was something I wasn’t very good at when I first started practicing, my mind was all over the place, but I found that over time I was able to draw my focus towards what I was doing and not be thinking about my grocery shopping, errands, etc. Now, trying to get that feeling off my mat is a different story that I’m still working on!

    I can’t imagine trying to run a marathon with the stress of a major hurricane coming…good for you for making it through that and for recognizing that being in the moment is something for you to work on moving forward.


    1. That’s my husband, actually he’s Marlin (I was Dory). But he accepted early on that day he would be Nemo.

      I did Yoga for years and it is fantastic for keeping your mind focused. I realized that I only did it in short bursts when I was actually doing Yoga, I wasn’t as good at applying it to other areas of my life. But like they say in Yoga you have to honor where you are at, and that was where I was at that moment.

      Hopefully you won’t have any major weather issues when you do the MCM. I decided to take 2013 off from Marathons, but I am planning on doing that one again. (And I still haven’t committed to the Dopey, but I really think I want to do it.)


      1. I love the Marlin shirt! Where did you get it? Or did you make it?? I was thinking about trying to do Dory or Nemo for a race but wasn’t really sure how to. I usually don’t do costumes, but I thought maybe for one of the Disney 10k’s or something!

        I registered for Dopey yesterday, I figure I’ve got to do it once! : )


      2. We made it. We got an orange t-shirt. Went to Michael’s and picked up some fabric paint, orange sheets of duct tape, and a sharpie. With a pencil trace on the eyes and circles, then we used the fabric paint to fill it all in. The fins were made with the sheets of duct tape. And the sharpie was for the outline of the fins.

        I am with you, I think I do need to do it once. And the first year will probably be insanely special.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s