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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cut and Run Later

The 20-miler has become my nemesis.

Last season, I created a 20-mile course that involved lots of twists and turns in order to keep the run interesting. Unfortunately, it also involves lots of hills, somehow seemingly more up the "up" variety than of the "down." I recognize that this is not possible, given that my course starts and ends in the same place, but at the very least, the uphills are more exhausting than the downhills are relaxing.

I have attempted this particular course three times now, always going in the same direction around my loop, and I'm fairly certain that I will never go for it again, having now twice failed to complete the course, and once made it the whole way, though with plenty of walking.

What really gets to me here was that I actually felt pretty good going into the workout. The point at which I normally have a great deal of trouble came and went, and though I was getting tired, I was not anywhere near the point of exhaustion. My problem was that I couldn't stop thinking about the run while I was doing it. When my brain can wander and visit other topics, the run itself seems far less demanding, and time passes much more quickly, but on this day, I could not get my brain off of the topic, "Difficult Workouts and Why, Oh Why, Do You Do Them?"

In a flash, I saw just how much more I had to run and I lost all motivation. I stopped off at a little grocery and got a small bottle of Gatorade, which I was sure would do the trick, and to be honest, it did. For approximately another mile. Then the gas began to leak again, and even though I was about to start my downhill return, I could not convince my body that it was a good idea. At 13.64 miles into the run, I called it quits for the morning.

Refusing to get behind in my mileage, I would complete the remaining 6.36 on the treadmill that evening, but I'm still frustrated about the workout. Perhaps I did not give myself enough mini-goals in order to get through the hours of exhaustion. Maybe the heat, quickly rising 15 degrees in two hours, had something to do with it. Or maybe, just maybe, I've got too difficult of a course. Time will tell, but it doesn't change Sunday's run.

It was one more disappointing occurrence in a disappointing weekend. And what made the whole thing worse was that there were many good things that happened, but they were invariably followed by upsetting events that wiped the good from my immediate memory. Looking back now, it really wasn't so bad after all, but I think that's mostly because of the end of my Sunday.

After the killer run, I went to a very productive, fun, and rewarding rehearsal. Then, while finishing my treadmill miles, I watched my favorite professional team win in exciting fashion. After that, having in some small way overcome my failure from the morning, I got some delicious dinner, and settled in to a relaxing evening. What had been a very trying couple days was mellowed out by a couple hours of happiness.

And there's a lesson there for me. In the same way that I too often let one bad thing ruin the mood from a full day of great moments, I can also wipe away a crap day with one or two little joys.

And there will always be another 20-miler.

Sunday's Runs:
68-83 Degrees / Sunny
13.64 Miles
1 Hour, 44 Minutes, 56 Seconds

Indoors / Treadmill
6.36 Miles
46 Minutes, 43 Seconds

20 Miles
2 Hours, 31 Minutes, 39 Seconds

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