This year will be my third year running the 10K Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC. I started running when I was about 45 years old, which is not an easy feat to do. I really wanted to run the bridge. My buddy, Curt ran it every year and inspired me to run it too. The first year, my goal was to “just get over it”. My finish time that year was 1:17. Last year, I ran it with my friend, John in 1:07 and wrote about it here. This year, my goal is to run it in 60 minutes.
I have been following the FIRST training plan, which calls for long runs once a week. Today’s run was 8 miles. I decided that it was time to test myself to see whether I was in the ball park for my goal. I planed to run the first 10K at my 60 minute pace. I was sorely disappointed with my performance.
The first mile, I was right on pace. In the second mile, I checked my heart rate and it was spiking. I knew that there was no way I could keep that up, so I dialed back the intensity a bit. My legs just ached and argued with me. At the 3 mile mark, I had to walk a bit. Then I picked up the run at a medium pace. At 4 miles, I walked some more and beat myself up for not doing any better than I was. Ran through to 6.2 miles (10K) and checked my time 1:16. Ugh! I walked a bit and jogged the rest of the way in. Right now I am feeling a variety of emotions; disappointment, hopefulness, thankfulness, wishfulness and questioning.
- I am disappointed that I cannot run faster even after the training I have been doing. My expectations are apparently too high.
- I am hopeful that this was just a bad day for testing myself and that I really can run faster. I was running alone today and I wonder how much better I might have done with a buddy “pulling me along”.
- I am thankful that at almost 49 years old that I can run at all. I haven’t injured myself and my body still works well enough to run.
- I am wishful that I had started earlier in life and had years of training under my belt. Wishful that I could run faster.
- I am questioning what to do. What does one do when one has a goal and a good reality check tells them that they cannot do it? Do I give up? Take what I’ve got? Just run the stinkin’ race and see what happens? Keep telling myself that I can do it even when the evidence says otherwise?
As I wrote that last sentence, I remembered something that I read just yesterday. In Good to Great, Jim Collins, describes one of the difference between great companies and merely good ones. He speaks of the Stockdale Paradox (named for Vice Admiral James Stockdale), which is fundamentally retaining faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties and at the same time, Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be. Applying Stockdale to my situation: I will prevail. I will run the bridge in 60 minutes. I had a really bad run today. I have a lot of training yet to do. What can I learn from my run today? What can I do better next time? How can I overcome what I must in 6 weeks to reach my goal?