On the other hand, when a run goes bad, I just want to forget it as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, that's not always possible; the memory of it keeps nagging at me, annoying me, reminding me that maybe I am not quite as good as I thought I was.
Case in point: last Friday, I drove out to the canal, excited for a long run. The weather was lovely, I had the day off from work, and I was pumped. I was sure I was going to run further than I ever had before, and that I would maintain a good pace while doing so.
Six miles in, though, things started going wrong. Ultimately, I ended up cutting my run short by 20%, and my overall pace was one of my slowest on record. All of this was especially disturbing because the day before I had just signed up for a 50k. So, how to deal with it?
First, I kept reminding myself that any run is better than no run. 18 miles is nothing to be ashamed of - even if it is slow, even if it is not as far as I wanted.
Next, I started trying to figure out what went wrong. Once I started thinking about it, it was easy to figure out. First, I had been invited over to a friend for drinks before. I shouldn't have joined. Several beers the night before a long run is not a recipe for success -- because of the beer, but also because I only ended up getting 5-1/2 hours of sleep. On top of that, I didn't eat nearly enough breakfast - just a small bowl of oatmeal. And despite all of that, because the weather was fine, I took off too fast out the gate.
So, those were all factors within my control. Things to learn from. The bad run was because I made bad decisions, not because my body randomly quit on me.
Having figured all of that out, I knew I had to make some good decisions and set myself up for a good run, so I could get back on the right track. So, early this morning, with the temperatures hovering at a cool 68 degrees, I loaded up my iPod with some power songs, then took the car and drove to a course along the river, where I could blast out three miles without worrying about traffic crossings or other runners. I'm proud to say that I blew away my previous personal best, running the three mile course at an 8:02 pace. Sure, that's not going to win me any awards, but last year at this time, the best I could pull was 8:48. I'm pretty pleased with myself, and I don't mind bragging a bit about it.