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.
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…