When Your Demons Come Out To Play

“Everyone has demons. You can let them take over you or you can tell them to fuck off.”

Today was just not my day which is a far cry from where I was on Thursday when I had run the fastest in my training, like ever. I surprised myself when I ran 3 miles in 23:17. My intention was to run an 8:15 minute mile as I had been pacing 8:20 in the treadmill, which I hate to admit was tremendously difficult. I was honestly starting to doubt my ability to hit a sub 8 min mile. I kept thinking to myself if I was was struggling with 8:20 for 3 miles, how on earth did I expect to run a sub 8 for 13.1???? After Thursday’s run I had gained confidence back that I can do this. To say I was ridiculously excited is an understatement, but then today happened.

I woke up after a shit night of sleep, had breakfast, stretched and checked the temp. It was 6:45 am and it was already 65 degrees and muggy. Yikes. Up until now the temperature for my long runs hasn’t gotten above 64 and it has not been muggy in the slightest so today was a shock to the system. I did my warm up jog and decided that I would pace around 8:45-8:55 minutes per mile for 8 miles. According to my Garmin my first mile was 8:19 (I think it was wrong) which didn’t feel hard at all. In fact, I thought I was going much slower than that. The second mile was 8:34, which also felt good and the third mile shit just hit the fan.

I honestly don’t know what happened but at around 2.5 miles my body and my mind just shut down. It felt like it came out of nowhere. My Garmin was bouncing all over the place with my pace and my average pace which was messing with my head. What I felt was a fast pace was slow as shit and when I tried to pick up the pace my legs just wouldn’t work. Everything started to bother me. Then my mind wandered to the race in 2 weeks and that’s when my demons took over.

I tried to repeat my affirmations but nothing worked. I completely fell apart and because of that my body, my mind and my run suffered. I was ready to quit at 4.5 miles. In fact I did, but only for a moment. I told myself to just make 5 miles, then 6 and at 6 I would quit. Just keep moving. You can do this. No you can’t. No I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this. Why is this so hard today????? I almost started crying.

As I cruised back into the Seaport from my Castle Island loop, I stopped again and almost completely quit at 7 miles. I told myself that it was enough and it wasn’t worth hurting my body or my mind by continuing. But then the psycho athlete in me refused to do anything less than what was scheduled so I picked up my feet, which felt the heaviest they’ve ever felt, and I finished the 8 miles. I felt defeated. The entire time I was running I told myself that my demons would not win today, that I would fight through but today was just not my day.

Now, there have been times where I have wanted to quit before but I knew that it had all been in my head and that my body could keep going. This time, however, it wasn’t just in my head, it was in my body. My body just shut down. It didn’t want to move. I looked back at my pace per mile (I stopped looking at my Garmin during the run) when I got home and was shocked.

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Somehow I managed to stay on track but it felt like absolute shit, like the worst you could possibly feel during a run. I managed to pace an average 8:58 for the run but it felt like the hardest thing I have ever done. I suddenly lost all confidence that I could actually complete the half marathon in my goal time of 1:45:00. I immediately called my Mom to not only wish her a Happy Mother’s Day (Happy Mother’s Day again mom!) but to talk about the run.

Not every day is going to be perfect. Be easy on yourself. Taper. Take it slow. This half marathon is not the end all be all.

Next I texted my girl Erica who’s been helping me out and this is part of what she said…

Temperature makes a difference for sure. And there’s always shitty runs, some days it’s just not happening. I’ve had plenty of runs where I took a cab home and did cry. Some days your legs just don’t have it.

I’m not sure if it was my legs or my mind that didn’t have it today. If we look at my splits and my average pace, it would seem that it was my mind that just didn’t have it. The minute I started to feel like shit was the minute my mind shut down and started to doubt everything. My mind and my body are tired, but more so my mind. All I think about is this race. I am putting an extreme amount of pressure on myself to accomplish this goal of 1:45:00. Maybe that quote below is true but what if the mind is the tired one?

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I guess now I can think about today one of two ways:

1) Demons took over: I felt like shit and completely fell apart emotionally, in my mind, in my confidence, in my body and it was the worst run of my life and I am not going to reach my goal

OR;

2) Fuck you demons: I was within seconds of hitting my goal average pace for today even with the increase in temperature and humidity and even with the influx of negativity in my head, the pressure on myself and the subsequent sluggishness in my step. Not to mention the number of times I wanted to quit but didn’t. I am accomplishing my goal

Earlier today I would have taken option 1 but now after writing, I’ll take option 2. I crushed that run today. I finished the 8 miles. I did it. It was ugly, but I did it. And for today, that’s all I can really ask for. Tomorrow is a new day.

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