Preview: Beyond the mantra

The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.’ – John Milton, Paradise Lost.

At mile 19 of a marathon, exhausted, a little voice in my head whispered that it wasn’t meant to be. I was pushing for 3:30, a time I’d been chasing for years. It was a cool day and a flat course. Prime PB conditions, save for the voice in my head. ‘You’ve done your best,’ it said in a calm, caring tone. ‘It’s OK to slow down.’ I dropped to a shuffle and my 3:30 slipped away.

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