Okay. So, we’ve all been there, done that and got the t shirt. And the medal! THE run from hell. The run that questions our ability drains our confidence and leaves us with a taste worse than a red wine hangover in our mouth!
For me, it was the Scottish Half Marathon in 2014. When I finished, I was never running again. Done. Dusted. Trainers in the bin and a new keep fit regime being planned. I’ll spare you the gory details. Suffice to say, I have never been closer to phoning a Granny Taxi (aka my wonderful Mum) to pick me up at Lidl in Prestonpans as I was that day.
Regardless of whether it’s a 5k training run or a full blown 26.2 race, sometimes, just sometimes, it’s not meant to be. We are a funny breed, where our bodies dictate what happens both physically and psychologically, sometimes without any explanation whatsoever. Is it physical? Psychological? Or even both? I guess we will never know. But sometimes, we all have runs that just don’t go according to plan.
For me, I could list my thoughts as to why September 2014 made me feel like the worst athlete of all times. You will be able to explain your reasons too. Injury stabbing your leg like a needle in your bum. The dreaded runners’ trots, meaning all you can do is clench. Or even the unmentionable blood blister, throbbing through your trainers like, without being wholly inappropriate, a young loves heart in a beat of passion.
Regardless of the reason, our heads go down and we lose the battle. We struggle to the line, sometimes in tears, and feel traumatised at “that” time. Or we give in. We don’t cross the line and call on our personal equivalent of a Granny Taxi. We beat ourselves up about being rubbish. About being unprepared and unmotivated. Why did we think we were ever good enough? Why did we even start in the first place? Again, the reasons are plentiful. But none are realistic. We feel like we feel because we care and we are human. We get disappointed. For various reasons, every now and then, we go out and have a nightmare run. Nothing clicks. The breathing and the legs are like strangers in the night. The pace is off the radar and our heads are in the clouds. It just doesn’t happen on that run. And it hurts like hell.
Since 2014, I have returned to running. I have run a couple of other half marathons and a few 5k and 10k races. The pain eases. It’s like ripping off a plaster – it hurts like mad at the time, but the pain doesn’t last long. You will come back and you will run again. The body works in a funny way. It plays tricks on us, just to confuse us. But you will come back and you will run again. Anyone who is reading this will be a runner in some form. It doesn’t matter what distance you run or what time it takes. Set your own personal targets and don’t let that brain of yours play tricks. You can run. And you will run your best. If you have a bad run, don’t dwell on it. Just go out the next time and enjoy it. The more pressure you put on yourself, the more room there is for disappointment. We are human. We have good days and we have bad days, like everyone else. Above that, we are runners. And for every bad run you have, you will have a dozen good ones. Bask in your own personal glory – you deserve it! And the bad runs? Well, I can’t even remember my last bad run……………….!
….Pamela McIntosh – October 2016