Hours Later, Failure Tastes Okay

“How in the ^&*#@! hell do I get back to the car from here?”

Today, Friday, is my traditional long run day. I got a bit of a late start today, but I was on the trail by 0545, headlamping it through the woods, freezing my bejeezus off. It was super cold in my book, so I overdressed, and so, I steamed up. Then it got windy. Then I got bleh.

I didn’t sleep well the night before and I have what my wife hates - the dreaded “general malaise” - which I use as the catch all for when I can’t explain exactly how I feel. I had gotten a flu shot earlier this week, and the doctor told me feeling “bleh” was possible. In this case, general malaise equals bleh.

All my runs are out and backs. There is less chance to cut it short, because on the way out, I feel pretty good. In fact, I normally turn around when I start to feel not good, given I don’t have a particular distance in mind for that day. Today I pushed to the end of the trail, but from there I unraveled pretty quickly.

I walked a bit. I cussed myself out. I shuffled along and then promptly blew up once more. I walked. I shuffled. I talked to myself and the words were not for these pages. I certainly looked pretty ugly out there. I was about four miles from the car when I considered making the call of shame and pleading for someone to come pick me up.

I did not. I could not. I was freezing. And bleh. Damned bleh was all over me.

But I could still walk. So I walked for a few minutes.

My outlook changed. I started shuffling along again. I walked a minute and then shuffled five minutes. After some time, I started jogging the fives again.

I don’t recall the short drive home. I just wanted a hot shower and something to drink. As I remember it, I was never so happy to see the car.

But as I sit here now, hours later, all is well. I understand knowing what it feels like to go beyond my comfort level and then reel it back in to some degree. I learned some things and the more I reflect on it, the more I appreciate doing it today and not on race day.

Failure stings something terrible at the time, but I’m okay with it now.