Things on my 18 miler last Saturday were never going “well.”
Chief among the many problems being that my breakfast just wasn’t sitting.
Considering the fact that it took me until the end of July to make a breakfast breakthrough in the first place, I think we can all agree that I’m more than a little bit Out Of Time as far as going back to the drawing board is concerned.
Miles 1-12 were a re-enactment of The Mediocrity Bowl. But at mile 16, I had to action a run-walk situation because it honest-to-goodness felt like I had ripped an abdominal muscle.
I wanted to salvage the wreck. I really did.
For the first time ever, I stopped mid-run and attempted to stretch. I tried adjusting my carriage. I tried running faster. I tried running slower. I hydrated. I snacked. I got spiritual.
Nothing. At the end of 18 miles, I had strong legs, and a non-permanent body malfunction.
The reality I refused to accept is that my body was not physically capable of moving forward…or anywhere at that point.
As I hobbled over to the area where I had called for Marcus to pick me up, I had a moment that gave me pause.
A scenario that I have been trying to avoid thinking about at all costs is the one in which I get to mile XX during the marathon and cannot physically move my body forward anymore. Where the very idea of walking paints a rosy picture.
It’s not that I’ve been hoping for a bad run. Really, I haven’t. Every Saturday morning, I pray for strong legs and an injury free run.
Isn’t that what’s really at the heart of what we all do?
But for me, the mental preparation has been an uphill battle. I am my own worst enemy, slave driver and cheerleader all rolled up into one.
In some ways, I want to avoid the Worst Possible Scenario At All Costs. And yet, the other half of me is BOLTING towards the mouth of the beast.
Because I feel like if I experience it now, then at least I know the unknowable.
Or as we learn from Icarus, you can’t possibly know how warm it’s going to be unless you dare to fly too close to the sun.
As I tried to kill off the Ke$ha that was blaring from my iPod, I had a revelation. I was walking and I wasn’t ashamed. I didn’t feel less-than or like a failure.
Was I completely perplexed by my body? Absolutely.
But the world didn’t come crashing down around me.
Which is a step in the right direction.
How do you work through a bad run?
How do you mentally prepare yourself for challenging situations?