A tale of two runs

Five miles to run isn’t far.  I remember when my long run day was 6 miles and I was so exhausted afterwards I walked into the wrong house.  That was embarrassing.

On the other hand, sometimes a five mile run is an eternity.

One day last year I was running 5 miles and it wasn’t going well.  It was hot, I was tired from a long week and hurting physically.  I tried to keep with the run to master my body and make it my slave, but in the end, I stopped and walked home.  I made it 3 miles and couldn’t take another step.  Oh, and did I mention that this was 2 weeks before my first marathon?  My thoughts went to, “I’m running a marathon in a couple of weeks and I just stopped a 5 mile run 2 miles early”.  To say I was a bit worried is an understatement.

Two weeks later I ran that marathon.  I completed 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 15 minutes.

I learned from that run.  In fact out of all my training runs for that marathon, that 3 mile failure sticks out the most.  I can even see in my mind where I stopped and claimed defeat – or was it defeat?

Yesterday I mimicked that run.  It was a 5 mile run and I wasn’t doing well.  It was hot and I wasn’t feeling well (sore, tired, etc).  I stopped a time or two to make sure that I wasn’t overdoing things and also I wanted to make it through my run at whatever the cost.

NOT

I stopped.  I stopped at 2.46 miles.  Not even an even number.  I just couldn’t run any more.

I could have pushed myself.  I have pushed myself in the past and have been pleased that I persevered.  This time was different.  I knew that if I continued, I could hurt myself.  I can’t explain why I knew this time was different.  I guess over my years of running I have developed a sense.  But just as when I had the 3 mile run while training for a marathon, I stopped and walked home.

Ultimately I count these runs as success.  Everyday before I run, my Lovely wife tells me to run fast, have a good run and be wise.  I think I was wise back a year ago and wise yesterday.  Success in running isn’t always pushing harder and making the goal.  Success in running (and life) is knowing when keep going or when to stop.  Stopping isn’t failure, getting hurt if failure.  Pushing through or stopping early, we just need wisdom to know how to proceed.

Today is another day.  It is going to be hot again, but Saturday will be sunny and in the 60’s as a high.  Wow – Fall weather is coming and I can’t wait.

Until next time…

Tom

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15 thoughts on “A tale of two runs

  1. It took me some time to believe that it was smarter for me to truly take things easy on some runs. I used to feel like if I wasn’t “giving it my all,” I was cheating somehow. But the truth is, knowing when your body needs a rest and taking it is the best way to keep running.

  2. It is sometimes (= often!) difficult to be wise…I also try to listen to my legs, and go for it when they feel like it, and keep calm when they don’t, but it is very hard to do indeed. (This buggers up any kind of training program, but that’s another problem.)
    Well done for keeping yourself under control!

    • Thanks. It is very hard and disappointing to walk home from a run. It doesn’t happen much in the cooler weather though so I am looking forward to that. I’ve taken about as much heat as I can take running.

  3. Ha, I did this today. Actually right now I am really lacking motivation and ready for a break. And that is okay to feel like that. It is important to dedicate time to fast runs, slow runs, easy runs, and hard runs. They all do something great for us. We are about to release our race schedule for our charity soon and there are a few great races that I think they will be adding. I might hit you up when they are released. We provide coaching (virtual) as well as some pretty cool other amenities throughout training and on race day. I think having our online community has really been an awesome draw and perhaps something you might enjoy if you are still looking around for a full.

    • Hmmm. That sound like something I’d like to check out. I think the hot summer has finally worn me out. I’m not as confident about a marathon in December, but there is one in March in Virginia Beach I’d like to run. Get with me when you can. Thanks!

  4. It must be going around. I had the WORST run this past Sunday, (had to stop at mile 6ish of an 11 miler), and walked the rest of the way home in tears. Where I had a total breakdown on my poor husband. I thought I had FINALLY beat this blasted ITBS after 2 years, but alas, it does not seem to be the case. At least I knew enough not to push it, (as though I could), which I would have done in the past just because I am that concrete-headed! I think we can only be grateful for these reality checks, accept them for what they are, and move on.

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