In running, if it’s good, it’s amazing, and if it’s bad, it’s experience.
But in the teeth of disappointment that theory feels like utter bollocks.
Here’s the thing though. It actually isn’t.
Firstly let me say this. In the grand scheme of things, how you feel as a runner has no consequence.
There are FAR more important, life changing, difficult and desperate issues and challenges facing people in the world.
But running can give you moments of realisation. And I had one this week.
The race started well. Dumbarton 10k is my PB course. A fast, flowing route with a quality field of club runners. You race with people you recognise to the extent that you know how you are getting on just by looking around you.
I was running with the amazing West End Road Runners and specifically with Shona Doherty, a fabulous and talented runner finding her legs again after London Marathon.
It’s been a busy few months at home and at work but I was excited to be racing again. Privately I’d targeted something just under 40 minutes.
At around the 4k mark my legs threw the towel in. As hard as I tried I couldn’t move them. And my group, one after another, moved past me and off into the distance. For data nerds, it looked like this. I finished the race in a time which I wouldn’t have been proud of 5 years ago. A full two minutes below my PB.
Not training hard enough? Nope. Pushing too hard at the start? Don’t think so.
So what gives?
Obviously a period of barely concealed panic.
Then some rational thinking, provided and offered by people who know me and know running.
Analysis of the data from Colin Thomas, and others who I trust, respect, value or love.
And they all told me the same. That balance is important. That complaining about being tired shouldn’t be ignored. And that right now I need to recognise this.
My moment of realisation.
So today I get to write this blog, go for a haircut, walk the dogs, spend time with my family and tomorrow maybe run an easy few miles.
I also get to go to the record shop where I can buy unlistenable synth music from the eighties.
Next week I’ll eat, sleep, run and work better.
And Get the Balance Right.