“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfilment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious“. Vince Lombardi.
I have participated in many fun runs, ranging from 8km all the way up to 42.2. For me, the emphasis has always been on the “fun” part of the endeavour, as opposed to the time taken to complete the “run” part. The atmosphere, the camaraderie, the scenery, the opportunity to pace behind a foxy female runner with exquisitely toned legs and mesmerising pony-tail sway… how can one not but have fun in such a setting!
However, there is one thing that completely ruins the fun and makes me sulk like a sissy after a race. It is when, having passed the finish line, I know deep inside that I could have pushed myself harder, that I did not give my all.
The funny thing is, I have felt this way more often after having posted a PB time than a piss-poor time. And by far the most common cause of that feeling is how I dismally negotiated the last 1-2km of the race, how I failed to close the show.
The scenario typically unfolds like this: I approach the mark that signifies there are only 2km remaining to the finish line. Instead of marshalling any remnant reserve of energy to finish those last 2km strongly, I dwell on the energy already spent pounding the distance to that point. Instead of finding the resolve to crash through the pain barrier, I dissolve into a puddle of doubt before it. Instead of closing the show, I let the show close on me.
Whenever such a “failure” happens, the feeling of regret after the race lingers much longer than the fleeting pain that so totally consumed me during its last stretch. And that, of course, makes it that much harder to get over the disappointment.
The good thing about running races is that the chance for redemption is never far away. And so I keep on testing myself, pushing myself in those last km’s trying to exhaust every last ounce of energy I have left. The subsequent exhilaration you feel from doing so, from closing the show proper … well, putting aside pacing behind that foxy female runner, what could be more fun than that!
Keep on pounding.
I feel that way sometimes. It’s actually happened to me twice now, where I get to mile 2 and I just want to walk whats lefts of my 5K. Granted, what you run is much longer but it ends up the same. I try to find someone I can beat, someone I can slowly but surely pass and then find another person. Then, I gloat in my mind of how if I just did that I can pass anyone and that pushes me just a little harder.
Look forward to reading what you do on the next race to beat that.
That’s a neat trick which I use as well. But sometimes I feel like I’m the Guinean pig with a target on my back, with runners passing me left, right and centre during the last stretch!
Have you tried doing intervals? Maybe that helps. My trainer insisted I really try them out.
Yes I have and it does help. However, I think most of my problem is mental, rather than physical.
i often remind myself that no matter how slow I feel I’m running, at least i’m RUNNING 🙂 better than sitting on the couch 😉 just keep moving…
I don’t think anyone can argue with that philosophy!
At least you show up for the fun. I don’t even try. I’d love to run but I always claim I’m not a runner. Really, my body cramps up and nothing works properly. But I guess that’s what training is for, right? So good for you for getting out there. And if I ever do try, now I’ll never forget that some guy could be checking out my behind. Thanks.
Mmm, I may have turned off many aspiring female runners with that confession of mine. But I’m only revealing what every middle-aged struggling male jogger does in a race, right? Right guys? Hello?!
It’s OK. Us almost 40-something moms need some reassurance from time to time. I think most of us would agree that we wouldn’t look the other way if something nice caught our eye either.