January 28th 2019
Today I accidentally beat my 10k PB. And I say accidentally because at the beginning of the run I had no intention of going that fast. It was advertised by the organiser as a, and I quote, “gentle trot” and that, as it turned out, was a lie. It was immediately obvious from the start of the run that it was not going to be a gentle trot, and it remained obvious for the following 11.3k that it was not going to be a gentle trot.
We were averaging somewhere between 4:30 and 4:40 min/kms, and at some point around the 9km mark I started to fall back from the rest of the group. I suddenly had a feeling that I couldn’t keep up any more. For a couple of hundred metres, I let the distance between us grow steadily, as I started to lag further behind.
But then, given my isolated state, I took a bit of time for introspection to try and figure out why I had a feeling that I couldn’t keep up any more. My legs didn’t hurt. My lungs didn’t hurt. My breathing was fine. My heart was fine. It was just my brain that was telling me that I couldn’t continue. I’d never run that far at that quick a pace before, so my brain just couldn’t compute that it was even something of which I was capable. But I clearly was.
I clearly am.
And so I picked up the pace, because there was nothing stopping me. It didn’t hurt. And I could do it. I’d hit a mental wall, not a physical one. And once I’d broken through that wall there was nothing stopping me. I apologise for how wanky that sounds.
But anyway, I picked up the pace, caught up with the rest of the group and I was the first one back to the office. My last kilometre was quicker than any of my first ten.
It didn’t really occur to me that I might have actually been in PB territory until about five seconds after I’d made it back to the office. I couldn’t remember what my previous PB was off the top of my head, but I knew it was somewhere around 46 minutes. When I loaded my GPS data to Strava, it showed that the latter 10k of my 11.3k run took 45:58, which knocked 31 seconds off my previous PB. Accidentally.
I’ve said this a lot over the last few weeks, but at the moment, running for me is just about readjusting my understanding of my own capabilities. It’s all in my head. I just have to get it out of my head and into my legs. Because my legs aren’t stopping me, but my brain is.
Until tomorrow, I just need to tell my brain to shut up.