By Brandon Penny | Oct. 08, 2015, 9:59 p.m. (ET)
Tatyana McFadden competes in the 800-meter race at the ParAthletics Grand Prix on May 30, 2015 in Nottwil, Switzerland.


It’s been said that marathons are 10-percent physical and 90-percent mental. If there’s anyone who can vouch for that, it’s Tatyana McFadden. The four-time Paralympian has mastered both the physical and mental aspects of the marathon.

She is the first person of either gender, able-bodied or wheelchair, to win the grand slam of four world marathon majors in a calendar year. In fact, the last time the 11-time Paralympic medalist did not win a marathon she entered was in April 2012, completing two grand slams in that time and is now halfway to her third.

The one accolade missing from McFadden’s resume is a Paralympic medal in the marathon. The 26-year-old will compete in the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials for Marathon this weekend in Chicago, part of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, in hopes of earning a spot on her fifth Paralympic team and moving one step closer to her third grand slam and, potentially, a Paralympic marathon medal.

McFadden shared with TeamUSA.org the 26 thoughts that typically go through her mind during a 26.2-mile marathon.


Mile 1: It’s go time!

Mile 2: Have a good start

Mile 3: Get with the lead pack

Mile 4: Relax

Mile 5: Stay focused

Mile 6: Have fun

Mile 7: Time to sprint

Mile 8: OK, relax again

Mile 9: I’m almost halfway

Mile 10: Watch the potholes

Mile 11: I’m having fun!

Mile 12: Not exhausted yet…

Mile 13: Only halfway there

Mile 14: I’m getting hungry

Mile 15: Water yet?

Mile 16: Stay relaxed

Mile 17: Have fun

Mile 18: I wonder what’s for breakfast…

Mile 19: Bacon sounds great

Mile 20: OK, my arms are a bit tired

Mile 21: I’m almost done

Mile 22: I trained for this

Mile 23: I feel accomplished

Mile 24: I’m so excited

Mile 25: Water??

Mile 26: YES. Finished.