Hope Despite Setbacks

My gut was knotting up. It started as a small hello and now my stomach was beginning to complain loudly. After reaching 9 miles of my 14 mile training run I didnít want to have to stop. The clock was ticking as I ran towards my goal only to be sidelined by my erroneous choices.  Most marathons offer aid stations every two miles. Logically I thought I would run my long training sessions drinking every two miles and then I would alternate the miles between with a solid supplement like GU gels, blocks or sports beans. However in the past I had always diluted my Gatorade in half with water and this time I did not.  I ran another half mile turned and headed back to a porta potty on the trail. Nope, my stomach was not going to tolerate all those carbs at once.

There was a miscalculation. When I realized this was not working I stopped at a drinking fountain and diluted myself drinking plain water. Then I added water to my bottle and slowly began running again. At first I wanted to call it quits. I had doubts. I didnít want to start again and work to complete the scheduled session. This was one of those times when it helped to barter. I decided to go slow, to walk here and there if I needed to, but in return I was not going to stop. No matter how I did it I was going to complete the 14 miles. Funny thing is that after a while I felt better.  I finished the entire 14 miles with a pace that pleased me.

Now what I havenít told you is that prior to this I had spent a few weeks ramping up my training. The Santa Rosa marathon is on my schedule with the hope of running fast enough to qualify for the Boston marathon.  I kicked my training efforts up a notch and I had been monitoring my training times expecting to see a corresponding improvement in my running speed. But I wasnít getting faster.  Multiple running sessions had left me disappointed with my pace. Iíd look at my average pace and question why I wasnít faster because I was working hard. Was chasing after a goal that would be impossible for me to reach?

Finally I ran a pace that reaffirmed the possibility of me achieving my goal of a BQ (Boston Qualification.)  Not only that but I did it with the weird little stomach issue.  Now hereís the interesting part, I felt enthusiastic about my training. Oddly enough I felt more excited about my life in general and I realized that it was because I had hope.  I could push hard, feel pain, and stick with the training plan for another day because I had an inkling that success was achievable. I could do this.  I had hope. 

ďHe (Scott Jurek) comprehends in a way most people don't how greatness can only be measured over long distances, along paths marked by setbacks and little defeats that only become crushing as they pile up. He knows that, but still, knowing is one thing. Pain is another.Ē -Steve Friedman