Yesterday I got a notice that they would be turning the water off in our building from 10am to 2pm. At least they gave us advance notice this time — a few weeks ago I found out the water was out only when my washing machine gave an error message halfway through the cycle. For most people who work in an office building, like Stephen, having the water turned off for 4 hours during the day has no effect whatsoever (aside from that sudden surge of water that comes out that never fails to scare the crap out of you even when you’re anticipating it). But for someone like me who works from home and usually takes a post-run shower around 1pm, it’s a huge nuisance. But since I knew it was coming, I could plan for it. I filled my Brita pitcher up to the top at 9:30am and decided I would do my usual morning routine of breakfast, work, run, I’d just have to push the run back a little bit so I’d return home after 2 to shower. This seemed feasible. But at around 12:30 I started getting really hungry. I ate a Belvita breakfast biscuit but it didn’t help much. I didn’t want to eat too much and be weighed down on my run, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I would be starving come 2pm.
I’ve heard many times by many runners that running is mostly mental. Sure, your legs, feet and lungs can hurt, but it’s your mind that can really hold you back. After today I can attest that this is 100% true. When I left my flat I told myself I would do 5 miles — I’m slowly trying to up my weekly and daily mileage and the 5 miles I ran yesterday went well. I had a course in mind and an audiobook playing through my headphones, but there was a voice in my head that couldn’t be silenced: “You’re gonna be hungry. Are you hungry yet? You ate breakfast awhile ago. There’s no way you have enough energy to do 5 miles. Are you feeling tired yet?” After mile 2 I gave in and listened to it. Suddenly I felt completely drained, exhausted and hungry. The voice was right — there was no way I could do 5 miles. Unfortunately I was still 2 miles away from my flat. I trudged along doing a run-walk mix, walking because I was tired, running because it meant I could get home to food faster. The cold wind whipped through my Thanksgiving Day Race shirt and I almost felt embarrassed to be wearing it — people who run 10K in under an hour don’t hit the wall after 2 miles.
Except of course they do. Every runner has bad runs, caused by everything from the weather to diet to their own state of mind. I’m guessing what separates the good runners is how much they dwell on their bad runs. As Alexander would say, some runs are like that, even in Australia (or a sunny day in London).
As soon as I made it home I made a beeline for the bag of mixed nuts I was saving for our Valentine’s Day chocolate fountain. The mix of salt, fat and protein really hit the spot, even if my insatiable hunger was half mental. To be honest, a bad run like that questions my ability to ever run 13.1, but I just have to remember to shake it off. (And take tomorrow as a rest day since the water will be off again).
Speaking of 13.1, I haven’t quite bitten the bullet yet and registered, but I’m considering the Richmond Half Marathon in September. It’s a bit further from me than Hyde Park, but running through Kew Gardens and Old Deer Park would be pretty awesome. Now I just gotta work on my mental (and miles) game…