When I got up this morning I thought I could run 40k. (Not!) I also thought I could do this by running the same 10k loop around my neighbourhood four times. (ABSOLUTELY not!)
I think a big reason I failed was because of my own cockiness, which seems to be a recurring stumbling block when it comes to my running. For the past several weeks I have been increasing my mileage little by little and I’ve been breaking my own records almost daily. So I thought: 10k loops? No problem.
Firstly, I didn’t get to bed as early as I should have. Which means I didn’t get up as early as I wanted to. Which means I was running in the sun instead of the shade. I didn’t lay out my clothes. I didn’t prepare anything the night before. I didn’t get my breakfast right because I was out of groceries.
I had a hard gym workout on Monday and I was a little sore yesterday and a LOT sore this morning. I stretched a bit and just figured I would run it out. I had never heard of anyone “running out” stiff muscles on a 40k, but apparently I was going to invent this as a new stretching technique.
On the run, my pace was off. I started too fast and then kept fluctuating, unable to find a steady pace. A few of my planned water fountain stops weren’t working (thanks a lot City of Toronto), not that it really mattered because after one loop I was cramping up significantly. I stopped to stretch and refill my water bottle, but for the life of me I could not mentally bring myself to run another 10k loop.
Note: Running a 40k distance is NOT the same as running 10k four times. Someone told me that Japanese athletes train with these kinds of loops to improve their mental strength. These people must be mind-gods because this is what you feel after one loop when you realize that you still have to run three more: overwhelming hopelessness.
I still think I can do this someday. But clearly not today.
I would probably need to run a marathon first. In a straight line or in one big loop, and feel comfortable with the distance. Currently, part of my motivation when running a long distance is telling myself that it’s faster to finish the course than to turn back. But that’s not the case here because I would be seeing my house three times – and consciously leaving it three times.
I can’t trust myself to do this (yet).
I imagined that after I had run 40k today I would come back and talk about how strong my mind was. Ordinarily, with a failure like this one I would be beating myself up right now. But I’ve learned that is not very productive.
Tomorrow I’m going to the beach for some swimming and some soccer. I know that my body will enjoy the change. Then I’ll regroup, and try this distance again another time with the proper preparations and a more realistic route.
I’m feeling a little weak minded right now. But mentally, I know I’m improving from where I used to be. I may not yet be at a stage where I can loop 40k, but I think that I am at least learning how to take a failure, learn from it, and grow.