When you want to quit
When you want to quit
So, on Wednesday last week (4 July) I ran the Nice Work Bedgebury 10k. I turned up and it was a beautiful evening, nice and cool but no breeze and the setting was perfect for a trail run. It promised to be a good event with less than 100 people taking part across both the 5k and 10k races. I will review the race separately as I want tell you about how I almost gave up running completely after that race!
This summer I was really looking forward to getting out in the sun most days and really knuckling down with my running, improving my speed, increasing my distance and really enjoying my 4 ultras in 14 weeks challenge. The reality is however that I cannot handle this heat and its destroying me mentally. I have been on a real downer about running and my Kent 50 mile topped it off as I am still classing it as a DNF even though I completed 50k.
Anyway, last night, 2km in, I was cruising in around 3rd position, Averaging around 4:30km per km I then started heavily breathing, sweat was dripping off of me and people began overtaking. That was it for me, I slowed to around 5:00min per km and was overtaken by several other people. For the next three kilometres, I want to quit! I was beaten, I was down and out, I had made the decision to stop at 5k. I saw every person ahead of me turn into the 10k route so I knew that if I went on to complete the 5k, I would win it. I would come first overall and that gave me even more of a reason to stop at the 5k. However, I turned right and decided to chase down the people ahead.
So what changed? Why did I decide that finishing the 10k was more important to me than winning the 5k? Currently, I am not in the running game to win races. I am in the running game to help with my anxiety and depression. I am in the running game because I want to help people realise that running does more for people than simply ‘getting fit’. If I wanted to win races I would be getting coaching, training with top teams and athletes, but that is not what it’s about for me. Not currently anyway but that could change in the future. However, what changed for me at the 5k point was beating my mental attitude! My brain was telling me I couldn’t do it but my body was saying I could! My body felt good, I wasn’t ready to give up. I decided that this was a mental battle that I have faced before, in fact I have faced much harder battles and won so I wasn’t about to be defeated this time.
Then I realised I have the Action Challenge 50k coming up in two and a half weeks (21st July). I looked at myself and decided that I was stronger than this negative attitude and I wanted to prove that we can all do anything we want to if we put negative emotions aside. What changed for me at the 5k mark was my mental attitude! A negative attitude can only last so long for me. I realise now that I have to get to a certain low point in my mind before I turn around and say “F*** you, I can do this”. I continued to run and I finished the 10k! I was so happy to see it finish.
I still won
Ok, I actually came 12th in the 10k and I didn’t chase down a single person in the second 5k but I won. I defeated my own mental attitude and showed that I won the battle but I am still in a war and I have learned a bit more about how to finally win this war. It only occurred to me last night that I have to get to a certain level before my mentality changes. I still struggle on a daily basis with negative thoughts and beliefs but this was an important lesson to learn. I won last night and I will continue to win these little battles that will finally enable me to live a live with limited negativity (I don’t think you can have a completely positive life).
Do I still want to quit?
Absolutely not! I may not be having the summer of love with running that I wanted but this will not stop my love of running. You just wait for the winter months when I actually prefer running. Those who know me best know that I will continue to run in shorts and a t-shirt no matter the weather! I am happy with last night’s result, very happy actually! But what I am most pleased about is the fact I won a more important battle, the one with my brain!!