“I’ve failed over and over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” — Michael Jordan
Okay, so I’m not Jordan Hasay instagramming you some #MondayMotivation. But I do have a story about why this quote has struck a chord with me lately.
Last weekend, as I mentioned in my previous post, was overloaded with track meets. So many. In reality there were two, but “many track meets” actually makes you feel exhausted, which is how I felt. So so many…
I had no time for a long run, so I decided that running 20 miles on Monday morning in an urban location was a swell idea. We went down to a bike bath that follows alongside the beautiful, serene LA River. (If you live here you get my sarcasm.)
I also find it charming to run 20 miles during the Boston Marathon. I don’t know why but I do. It’s a tradition. I check the results as I am huffing and puffing along.
So there we were, one of my training partners and I, at the head of the LA River bike path at 9 a.m. on Monday morning. Temperatures were predicted to climb into the high 80s, and as far as we could tell, it was already getting close.
We ran about 1 mile on the path before we were re-routed over a freeway. I had visions of falling into traffic; balancing on a skinny piece of cement whilst angry drivers speed along below you is invigorating and also terrifying. I did not like it.
A few miles later, we found ourselves climbing over a chain link fence, which inspired all kinds of silly jokes about possible injuries to areas that I won’t talk about. Yes, women can sometimes be crude; I hate to disappoint you.
Soon we found ourselves circling dirt trails in Griffith Park, stripping off unnecessary clothing, and burying water bottles in piles of leaves. And we were only at about 5 miles.
Our pace was already far off what it normally is, and our attitudes were in the hole.
“God, I hate running,” was a familiar refrain that day.
“Why are we doing this,” was another.
“Let’s abort this run, damnit,” was a good one.
For some reason I played the saint that day, and said, “no, no we can’t give up.”
By mile 17 we were no longer sweating, and we were 3 miles from our cars. Things were feeling dicey, a little too risky health-wise for my liking. Still, we pressed on. We have a tendency to get through hard things, us runners.
“This is so much worse than the marathon.”
“So much worse.”
At mile 18.25 my right side was cramping and I couldn’t go on.
“We’re done,” I said.
My training partner sighed in relief. “Thank God.”
I fished my shirt out of the back of my sports bra, shook it out, put it on and marched across a grassy field that led to a museum, where an older gentleman in a suit stood guard.
“Water? Do you have any water?” I asked.
“Yes, you can go through the courtyard. It’s right over there.”
We drank just enough to help us find the relief we needed to walk back the rest of the way.
Defeated, our heads hung low, we gave up. Completely. It wasn’t our day. The weather was horrible, our nerves were shot and our bodies refused to cooperate with the plan.
The rest of my week was a disaster. Trying to fit in a long run on a weekday? Not such a good idea.
By Thursday the physical ramifications of becoming depleted had caught up to me, and I was forced to take an unplanned day off. Well, not forced. I needed it. I needed to catch up on life, and let my body recover.
I worked my way through a tough workout on Wednesday, took Thursday off and then ran another workout Friday.
In the back of my mind, though, I still felt like I had failed. I didn’t lose any sleep over it, but I did feel a sense of trepidation about botching another long run, and a little extra doubt about marathon day. It’s natural.
Training last week:
Long run: 18.25 miles @8:29 average
Workout: 1.5 miles MP alternating with 800’s at Steady pace x 5 (I have been slowly building up to the volume, so it wasn’t as bad as it seems)
Extra day off: Yep
Track: 2 mile, 1.5 mile, 1 mile, 4 x 300’s
Long run: 22 miles @7:51
Oh the irony. I have the best long run of my life just 6 short days after my worst.
The strangest thing about the 22-miler, to me, is that you can’t really identify the giant hills in this run by looking at the splits.
I had to do a double take, because in the past, the long climbs are always in the low 10’s or high 9’s.
Even an old lady can have a good day after a few really bad ones.
Even if she wears outdated sunglasses and has a friend who wants to be cropped out because of bad camera angles.
Don’t give up. Keep pulling each other along.
Failure is a part of the journey.
Have a great week!