I gave up perfectionism a long time ago. I’m reformed. Perfectionism is just code for being riddled by disappointment for your entire life. Or never actually doing anything. Devious bastard.
Conditions in Melbourne were set for a perfect run. It’s fast, it’s flat and the weather was cool and overcast with a teensy bit of shower every now and then. Perfect.
My lead up – not so perfect. I’d struggled with recovery from the last run in the three weeks in between and I in no way felt ready or prepared and I’d told myself to be prepared for a slower time. But secretly I wanted 2:10.
A few things went wrong with my run, somewhere in the early stages around 5kms I got a stitch. When does that happen, EVER?! Stupid. And around 18kms I got a funny belly. No doubt from the insane amount of caffeine I’d consumed in the gels. But minor detail because they make a huge difference. So I wasn’t able to sprint through the last few kms like I wanted to. And while I was right on track at the half way mark for it got away from me in the end.
I kind of new that it would in the last 5kms. I’m not a strong finisher at the best of times. I had that moment at the 15-16km mark where I knew that if I wanted that goal I was going to have to really push myself. I decided not to worry about it and have fun instead and just see what happened.
And it was a whole lot of fun. In Sydney I hit a wall at about 18-19kms where I was fairly certain I was going to die. So it was kind of amazing to run a race and not hit that wall, not feel like I was running on empty.
A rather prominent personal trainer said that if you think exercise is fun, you are doing it wrong. Well, I think maybe she’s doing it wrong, because that was absolutely a whole lot of fun. Not just how I felt at the end of it. The whole thing.
5 weeks ago, my best time for any kilometre whether it be a sprint or on a long run was 6:14, so the fact that I ran an entire half marathon at that pace (give or take a few seconds) hasn’t really sunk in yet.
You put in the work. You teach your body that it can do more than it thinks it can. And then you just run.
When Kate and I were originally talking about our planned pace for the half marathon we agreed that a 6:15-6:30 pace was impossible and if we could get 6:45 that would be awesome. She obviously smashed the hell out of that. And I guess I did too.
Then you go home and set a new goal. You might not make it. But you’ll have fun trying. And you might even teach yourself and your body one or two things about what’s possible. You’ve already done the impossible. Now you just have to run.