More Marathon Musings... Finding the Right Mindset

Something occurred to me earlier this week as I was on the treadmill. My running coach Marisa had sent me a beautiful e-mail, telling me she knew I was disappointed with my recent marathon time but she thought that in time I would come to see this race as a major accomplishment. That being able to ignore feelings of pain and wanting to stop showed me my true capabilities. 

I was thinking about her words as I ran (And her arms. Marisa has the most awesome sculpted arms. I covet them.) What I was thinking was that I wasn't quite sure if she was right because, frankly, not finishing the marathon was never an option. Literally. It would just never occur to me in a million years to go out there and not finish a race. I'm there, I'm running, it may take me longer than expected and I may hurt, but one way or another, I'm crossing that finish line. It's not determination, it's just fact. That's what will happen.

What occurred to me is I need to figure out how to take that "it's just a fact" mindset and apply it to other parts of the race. Like not stopping running when I'm tired or in pain. Right now, stopping is still an option. Walking is an option. Griping about how much my feet hurt is an option. 

So what do I need to do to switch the "Quitting is not an option" mindset to encompass every portion of a race, and not just the finish line? I think you have to train yourself for it. No quitting during training runs, no easing off, run through it. Easier said than done. 

Any other ideas? I'm open for suggestions.