Saturday, November 24, 2012

The demon named doubt

 This is going to be a very running centric post.

 You know when your alarm clock goes off and its freezing cold outside and still dark outside but you still shove those covers out of the way and put your running short pants on that's you kicking Doubt right in its balls.

 Today's run was brought to me by the letter U. U is for ugh. I felt awesome at the beginning of the run. My first crack in the armor was at the halfway point. I had just eaten a gel and I think it was giving me a Tummy Upset but after about 15 minutes I was back to feeling like a million bucks so onward and upward.

 I didn't feel any real pain until around the 13 mile mark and the only pain was from my legs freezing up as we waited for traffic to wane so we could cross the street. At the final crossing I knew that I was cooked. Even though i only had 1.7 miles left they felt looooonnnggggg so a path that I have run hundreds, that's probably a little high, dozens of times so much so that I know the terrain incredibly well and being that its a nice descent it's usually a great stretch of trail to finish up with.

 Not today Ladies and Germs, When I am exhausted I start looking for familiar markers and during the final mile and a half I was looking for every marker I could find. After you cross the little stream there is one mile to go, when you get to the intersection just past the dog run/ archery field there is 4 tenths of a mile to go. The last great marker is the Carousel, once you can see it through the trees you are just a sprint away.

 So where does Doubt enter the picture you ask? I'm glad you asked. Next to the little stream is an old chimney this is a big marker so it's one I always look out for even when I am feeling good. Today though I was staring ahead begging for that chimney to appear. The voice that says "You're done, start walking" was screaming in my head but I figured If I can get to the chimney than the rest of the trail is flat and easy. I crossed the stream and willed my nearly frozen legs to keep moving. I knew that a series of very crude wooden bridges were coming up and that voice was back telling me to walk at the bridges. "Don't you feel that pain? That is your legs telling you to quit."  Again I pressed on, by this time my form has devolved into some odd tribute to Igor from every Frankenstein movie ever made. I couldn't keep my head up for longer than a few seconds then it would start flopping around again. This time it wasn't the voice in my head telling me to quit it was my own inner dialogue telling me to duck out at the archery range instead of finishing that last 4 tenths of a mile.

 When all you have left is 4 tenths of a mile how do you not finish it? That was the voice in my head that won the debate I was having with myself. Doubt though wasn't finished quite yet. During that last little stretch my body wanted to stop, my mind wanted to stop and Doubt was screaming at me to quit. "Why continue? what is there to gain? You've done enough." I shut out every voice, ignored my screaming leg muscles and finished. When I was done I was exhausted. At least I could head right home, shower, eat and recover.......oh yeah i had to go to Costco and get garbage bags. Going to Costco with blown out legs is not a fun experience.

 The point of all this is that i knew i wanted to run the entire 25k course and i did. The voice of Doubt can be overwhelming at times but all of us have the ability to ignore it  and bust through it.

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