“But” Problem #2

(A series on lessons learned from running this year)

The second first-time experience this summer was less concerning but equally worth learning.

Two weeks after the shower incident, I let another “but” lead me to another result even more frustrating on a personal level.

I wanted to get in a 12-miler with two friends. The challenge was, they wanted to run early. Really early. Like 4AM early. They do this all the time; me, never.

So not only was I going to get up and run 12 miles in Florida humidity with my crazy friends, I was also going to pretend to be a morning person.

Unfortunately for me, not only that night but also the night before I got less than six hours of sleep. One night might be okay; two, not a recipe for a successful 12-mile run.

The alarm sounded at 3. And I said to myself, “Why am I doing this? But I want to get in 12 miles. Just have fun with it.”

True to our form, we actually started at 3:40AM. We were up; might as well hit the pavement.

I knew I was in trouble after the first mile. I learned several summers ago that my first mile on a long run needed to be easy. Something like a 10:30 pace. There was no doubt we were running faster than that. When I looked at my watch, we’d ran mile 1 in 9:26.

So not only was I pretending to be a morning person, I was also pretending this pace was doable. I told myself, “Just relax. Back off when you can. Stay with it.” And I did, as every mile got even faster.

In December, that’s fine. This wasn’t December. It was 75 degrees, hours before the sun decided to wake up.

At the mile 6 stop, I knew I had to tap out. Pretending gave way to reality. Twelve wasn’t going to happen. Too fast…too tired…too humid…too early. They went on to get in six more while I did two slower miles to get back to my car. Eight miles done; four miles short of the target.

On the drive home, it hit me. I hadn’t been pretending. I had been lying to myself. All the “buts” of why this was a good idea and that I could get in 12 miles hid the truth. I don’t run at 4AM. I don’t run long runs in humidity at a 9:15 pace. I missed my target because I lied to myself about who I am.

Lesson #2: “Buts” lead to lies. Lies lead to unrealized potential and missed targets.

Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

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