“4K is good enough – I mean I did get up early this morning to run this crazy race while most normal people are still sleeping all cozy in their beds.”
“There is a chance I might not make it to church on time if I do the full 8K…I should probably stop at the 4K – I don’t want to cheat Jesus of my time this morning.”
“My breathing is rough and I have crud stuck in my throat…if I keep going I wouldn’t be being nice to my throat.”
Those were my thoughts as I completed the first loop of the 8K Kahtoola Mountain Run held at Pine Knob, a local ski resort, this morning. I had the option of running a one loop 4K or a 2 loop 8K. I’ve skied PK plenty of times, I know the terrain, I’ve been all over that place. Just never on foot. I didn’t think it would be that bad. I mean…its just a hill – a converted trash dump. I’ve raced cross country at Michigan Tech in the UP where there are REAL hills – so Pine Knob…let me see what you’ve got – was my thought going into it.
Pine Knob gave it to me. I think outside of the top three finishers there wasn’t another runner out there that completed the whole race without walking. Dan asked me in the morning how far he thought we (me and the other runners…not him, he was the camera and support team!) would make it up the quarter mile run before walking. Inwardly I was thinking…I’ll make it, it will be tough, but it can’t be that bad…I’ve gutted through long hills before. Well, I walked. And not only did I walk on the quarter mile I pretty much walked most of the uphill portions (there were three on each loop)…but so did everyone else, so I didn’t feel that bad. But as I reached the top of the quarter mile run – the longest uphill portion – where my hubby was waiting to take pictures I told him I was going to bail at the 4K…because we needed to make it to church.
On my way downhill toward the finish line I began to think, “that wasn’t so bad and really Teresa, all your excuses are crap…you know you’ll make it to church, your breathing is just like everyone else, and you are just being a punk if you think you will be happy later today with yourself after stopping at the 4K…suck it up and do the 8.” Then to top it off I even asked the guy standing near the finish line where the 4K’ers end and the 8K’ers repeat, “how much suffering do I want to put my body through – should I be nice and stop now or do another loop?” To which he replied, “It’s a nice day, you have to go for it!” So I bypassed the finish line and began another loop.
I knew I wouldn’t be content or happy with myself if I bailed and did only half of what I set out to do. I think deep down, even when I told my hubby that I was going to bail that I wouldn’t. I can’t. I’m a competitor – not necessarily with the field of runners, but with myself. Was I going to complete the challenge or was I going to throw in the towel just because it was hard? If I expect my clients to give more than they thought they could give, how can I not expect the same from myself…especially when I know I am perfectly capable of completing the last loop.
I did finish, just fine, even passing a few people on the second loop as I had a better idea of how to run it. I think it shows just how much of our physical fitness is mental. Every time you complete that last weight set that you knew was going to be tough, complete those last few miles you set out to run even when it began to pour, or pull yourself out of bed before work to do a 20 minute workout DVD it is a mental victory and brings you one step closer to your goals, toward setting a good example for your family, toward feeling strong and confident all week. Find a way to talk yourself mentally over those barriers and move forward…because you know deep down that you can do it!