100 Mile Challenge: Miles 40.5 – 42.53 – Excuses

I went to bed last night thinking I would run five miles this morning. Instead, I ran just two miles. While they were a really good two miles, I was disappointed in myself afterwards.

Miles Run: 2.03
Time: 20 minutes, 40 seconds
Miles to Go: 57.47
Days to Go: 96
Average Miles Per Day Needed: 0.60
Pounds Lost: 3
Pounds to Go: 32

I got about 5.5 hours of sleep last night, interrupted several times to take care of the puppy and then take Benjamin over for a 7 AM cross country practice. On our way over there, it started raining somewhat lightly, but was heavy in spots. I had a slight headache that I think was caused by dehydration and I had a bit of pressure in my gut that warned me not to stray too far from a restroom. All of this became more than enough reason to not run the five miles I had planned.

Except it was not. I woke up not in the mood to run five miles. Plain and simple. So, my mind cobbled together a string of minor hassles and created a series of empty and convenient excuses for me to be lazy and allow me to feel okay with being lazy and not running the five miles.

Stupid excuses. Lazy excuses. Not even creative excuses. Last week I ran five miles on less sleep. The rain really was not that bad and there were at least 20 other joggers in the park this morning, in addition to Ben’s high school team, putting up with a few drops of rain. Dehydration may have been the lone valid excuse, but even that…the headache was gone by the time I started running and I had plenty of water with me. Finally, if the concern over my stomach was really that much of a concern, I would not have left my car at all. So, it was all just a bunch of stupid and convient excuses I designed for myself to get out of running five miles.

And this is how my mind works a lot. My whole life when it came to exercising, eating the proper foods and doing the things I know I should be doing, like writing, I always had an excuse.

A rough day at work.

No time to prepare a proper meal.

I don’t feel creative.

I have too much going through my mind.

It’s too late.

It’s too early.

I am too tired.

I am too hyper.

I have too much to do.

I just want to watch the end of this episode.

I was good yesterday.

In 47 years of life I feel like making excuses to not do something is one of my strongest skills. And I hate that I continue to do it despite being completely aware I am doing it. And when I did it again today and realized it, it made me feel pretty low.

Obviously, I wasn’t completely negligent in what I should be doing this morning and I decided to at least get in two miles. And while I was at it, I decided I would see if I could push the pace I was running at a bit higher. My ultimate running goal is to run a 5K in under 30 minutes and most of the time it feels like I might as well set a goal to have a picnic on the moon. My last 5K was done around 34 minutes and shaving off that kind of time seems impossible. It feels even more so because my current pace for anything over 3 miles or more is about 12.5 minutes a mile.

So, with my lazy two miles today, I decided to push it, which did not feel like a good idea after about a quarter mile. I was hurting. At a half mile, I realized I probably should have warmed up and stretched a bit. At three-quarters of a mile, I realized that I would never be able to break 30 minutes and that I hate running.

When I got to one mile, my phone told me my pace was 10 minutes and 30 seconds, which wasn’t bad, but it also felt about three minutes longer than the pace my broken down body felt I had just gone. However, at the same time, I started feeling very comfortable and actually felt like I had a decent amount of energy in the well to pick up my speed. So, I did.

I knew the second mile of the run was more difficult than the first. There were three short but steep hills along the route that I knew would hurt and the finish was at the top of the third hill. I felt really good though and really pushed hard.

When I got to the 1.75 mile mark, I realized that I might be able to complete the second mile in under 10 minutes. It was also the point where I got angry at myself for not running five miles. The weather was fine, my stomach was fine and my energy was fine. And it pissed me off and I knew I had already used up too much energy to change focus and attempt the five now. So, all that self-anger surged into my legs and I picked up the pace a bit more.

I crossed the two mile mark in 20 minutes and 23 seconds. The second mile was done in nine minutes and 52 seconds. I should have been pretty excited about that result. My muscles felt fine and I don’t think I damaged anything in the attempt. However, I felt awful and felt like I had let myself down.

However, I plan to try to redeem myself on Sunday and run the five miles then. Andrea has a long run as well, so I hope to do part of it with her. At the end of this day, I feel that is really all I can do…plan my redemption. A nice and relaxing day after the morning run made me realize I can’t let it lead to self loathing. All I can do is try to break the excuse habit and plan to make it up to myself at another time. So, I look forward to running tomorrow and getting on doing better for myself.

As for the goal to beat 30 minutes for a 5K, I am moderately encouraged. Yeah, two miles in just a bit over 20 minutes is awesome, but I was left with very little in the gas tank at the end. It was a huge effort for me to do that and I’ll need considerable more training and fitness to accomplish this.

On a final note, it turns out one of my excuses was validated…sort of. Ben was suppose to practice for 90 minutes. I started about five minutes after he did and the five miles would have taken me and hour and then about 15 minutes to walk back to the car. Due to the threat of rain, Ben’s practice was ended after 70 minutes and it started raining hard soon after. Had I run, Ben would have been left standing outside my car getting poured on, as would I have on the walk back. Of course, it doesn’t excuse my excuse, but, there was something to it.

Andrea found this challenge online to run 100 miles between now and the end of the year. I have been wanting to run more consistently and have also been wanting to write more often, so I thought it was perfect. I figure I could run and document it here in my blog.

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