Wednesday, 26 December 2012

What To Do When You Don't Finish

It was mental torment. From mile 4 my knee was niggling with the odd sharp twinge. My throat was still sore from a dirty virus that's been sitting in it and I just wasn't feeling my normal energetic self. Despite doing my best to ignore all of that, my mind was playing games; I couldn't decide if I was being a total wuss and needed to give myself a good talking to or if I should just stop before I make any of it any worse.

The internal debate continued. I was so distracted by what was going on both in my head and in my body that when I got to the feed station I wasn't very present at all. A chunk of chocolate was scoffed down along with half a banana before grabbing a swig of what I presumed would be an orangey-tasting beverage. It was brandy, and it didn't make me feel any happier.

When I saw the 6 mile marker my knee was really starting to hurt and my pace was already slowing down. I put on a brave face as I passed my support team for the second time, but in my heart I knew I wasn't going to be going much further. The next few miles felt like more of a limp than a run, and I was hating myself more and more with each step as I knew I was giving up, but nothing about the run was feeling right at all.

I walked a bit, and wondered what the slowest runner on the course would do, and if I could stay ahead of them. A few times I had a mini urge to try and get back to pace again but each time I did, everything started hurting again. I couldn't figure out what was worse, being really slow or giving up. Then I couldn't figure out if I was giving up because I felt like I was really slow. So many thoughts go through your mind, so many different scenarios. The instant I saw my support crew again I knew what I needed to do. It was time to stop. The emotion was really quite overwhelming; I felt like I'd let them down and I felt like I'd let myself down. 

Retrospectively, I hadn't actually let anyone down. What I had done was make a fairly sensible decision, albeit a tough one. It's difficult to see that though, when you've built up a goal in your head and all the time and effort you've invested seems to go to waste. Entering any sort of endurance event is a bit of a gamble; no matter how well you train, things can go wrong be it injury, illness or any life obstacle in general.

The training hasn't gone to waste though. Those long runs are banked in the legs and now I consider a "long run" to be over three hours, so popping out for a ten miler suddenly feels effortless in comparison. A twenty mile training run isn't some big scary thing that I need to build up to any more, it's been done. So when I've sorted my knee out and finally shifted this lingering virus, I'll pick another marathon and train for it, and it will be an even sweeter victory as I'll be even more determined. 

1 comment:

  1. Didnt see you on Sunday, kinda glad as i could have made you feel worse by accident. Its just a percentage game, the more you do, the more likely to stop or be stopped on one event. Mine will happen, i just dont know when. But it will happen, and stories like yours help me prepare for it. Big love and happy xmas to you my little Eggy friend. Jase Fatman x