When is it Okay to Quit?

Posted: January 16, 2011 in Motivation, Run, Training
Tags: ,
  • Long Run (click to see stats & route)
  • 10.31k (1:12:13)
  • Avg. Heart Rate = 143 bpm
  • Max. Heart Rate = 165 bpm
  • Avg. Pace = 7:00 /km
  • Max. Pace = 6:55 /km
  • Calories = 978
  • Temp = -8 º(-13 º w/ windchill)
  • SOTD: ‘Call the Captain’ by Steep Canyon Rangers

The wintery tranquility along Sulphur Spring Dr.

When do you call it quits?  This has never been an issue for me until today.  I was originally scheduled to run 21.5k which I was fully prepared to do come 8:00am this morning.  I awoke, had some breakfast, got dressed and headed out to no man’s land to make the best of the situation.  But what was planned to be a long, peaceful wintery run through snowy meadows and rolling countryside soon turned into an epic Quest for Fire type journey of Biblical proportions.  Some days you run for speed, some for distance, some for scenery and some it’s all about survival…..that was today.  I do enjoy the tranquility of running through beautiful winter landscapes as much as the next person, but ending up crushed between a snow bank and a city plow not so much.  I definitely had my moments of joy and profound contentment along the way as one might while running through Frosty the Snowman’s wet dream, but there was always that idiot driver up around the next corner ready to barrel into me to be wary of.

Fields along Holland Rd.

Winter running is proving to be a bit of an issue for me.  I much more prefer running out in the more scenic landscapes over the ‘ol ‘Dreadmill’ any day, but the poor road conditions make for some very difficult and often dangerous going.  Coupled with the fact that I also don’t own a pair of Yaktrax or any other fancy grip enhancing footwear for that matter (soon to be rectified), running becomes about as enjoyable as having hot lava poured down my pants.

Coincidentally, at this exact same time last year I was dealing with exactly the opposite problem – extreme heat and pollution; ironic or what?  But, somehow, come hell and high water, I still managed to get ‘er done.  I even ran 63 painstaking laps of the UltraSport Stadium in the 87-degree heat and 94% humidity while visiting Manila which, as it happens, is among the most polluted cities in the world.  It sucked but I did it.  I have no problem sucking it up and getting on with it you see as I have learned that I have an unusually large threshold for agony (lucky me).  I was also prepared to do the same today out in the cold wind and snow, but I would no sooner get into the groove when another vehicle would come flying around the corner threatening to skid into me uncontrollably and turn me into another statistic on the wall at Runner’s Room.  I can appreciate that it wasn’t necessarily the drivers fault (in most cases) as they did not always have adequate visibility or traction to drive safely and defensively, but I just felt like a moving target out there!  So at the half way point I said ‘fuck it!’ and packed it in for a toasted egg and salsa sandwich back at home.  I’m not proud, but I’m alive.

The windy stretch along Effingham Rd.

So far, this year is posing to be much more difficult.  Despite making the seemingly right decision regarding my safety, I still feel this guilt nagging at me from the inside: “you quit the plan”. I feel as if I have now let myself down and disrespected both my coach and the all haloed training schedule by allowing myself to fall behind.  I feel as if, somehow, I also won’t be adequately prepared for my big 30k event in March.  I used to consider myself as a card carrying member of the International League of Tough Guys ableto train in all conditions, but now I just feel like the Pussy of the Month.  What gives?

This feeling of failure is also compounded due to the fact that I also blew off Wednesday’s tempo run as the sidewalk and road conditions were similarly treacherous and rough going.  Running at night is one challenge, but running at night in while out conditions is entirely another.  I thought I was playing it safe for once so why do I feel like such a quitter now?  To put it another way: when do you lower the bar between discipline and blind stupidity in the checkout of life?  Somebody tell me please.

Oh well.  Instead, I opted for Plan B and ventured back into the gym this afternoon for an extra long yoga/core session and some added weights.  I will try to make up the mileage I missed this week on Monday instead of my usual short easy run.  Hopefully, the roadways will be a little less hazardous and at the same time I can restore a little of that tainted pride I lost in having given up this morning and then never again!  This tough guy is retaking the streets.  It could be raining frogs from the sky and I’m still going to lace up my shoes and go out.

But in the meantime, enough of this winter shit; bring on spring already!

  1. Consider getting out of bed an accomplishment. I don’t think I could have made it that far in the wintery conditions.

  2. […] a quicker pace over long distances where I might have petered off or quit altogether (see ‘When Is It Okay to Quit?’) while out on my […]

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