June 13th 2017
Today I rediscovered why I love running. It’s because it’s one of the very few things in life that makes me feel something. We’ve got a company 10k race coming up soon, and they’re trying to figure out who gets the last spot in the ‘fast’ team. That person should be able to run a 45 minute(ish) 10k. Because I can run a 22 minute 5k, mathematically they assumed that I’d be able to run a 45 minute 10k. You just double it and add a bit, right?
Well, it’s not always as simple as that. I’ve never actually run a 10k at race pace before, so before today I had no idea how fast I could go. But I enrolled Ross as a pacer, and set out to found out.
I was kind of aiming for 46:40, which is 4:40min/km. For the first 5k I was quicker than my target. My pacer had to keep telling me to slow down, and he repeating to me ‘you’re saving seconds there for when it hurts later’. It hurt later.
Around kilometre eight I decided that I couldn’t do it anymore. There was a little ember burning between the toes of my right foot, and I could feel the beginnings of a stitch near my right hip. My pace became erratic, and went up and down and up and down.
Ross kept warning me that I was losing time, that I was behind my target. Part of the run included a huge loop, and the fact that it seemed never-ending was getting me down. He kept lying to me and repeated ‘the end of the loop is just round this corner‘. I knew what he was doing, but it helped somewhat. I got a second wind, then dropped.
I wanted to scream out loud. I wanted to stop. But I didn’t. And that’s how you get better. I ran for 15 seconds with my eyes closed because it hurt so much, and just followed the sound of Ross’ footsteps. Inside my head, I was trying to give myself a pep talk. ‘It’s only four minutes away,’ ‘Just think how good you’ll feel when you’re finished’.
And it did feel good.
I watched my watch tick over to 9km and we reached the end of the loop and it seemed achievable. I picked up a second or third wind. The last kilometre is always easier psychologically. The eighth was really hard. I had enough left in me to really pick up the pace for the last few hundred metres. I waited for my watching to hit 10.1 and then I collapsed (figuratively) in a heap on the floor (literally).
Immediate joy. I was happy with myself. Proud of myself, even.
And then… disappointment.
‘Well… it could have been better.’
‘I could have got under 46 minutes.’
That’s exactly what running does to a person. It allows leaves you wanting just a little bit more, thinking you could have done just a little bit better. This morning I didn’t even know that I could do that, but I finished it thinking that I could have done better.
That’s what running does to me. It’s never good enough, and it could always be a little bit better. I guess it’s what keeps you motivated. It makes me feel something. Pride. Desire. Disappointment.
And I need that. I need heaps of that.
Until tomorrow, keep going.