So I follow @TheRunnerDad on twitter and he recently posted about the Ultra September Challenge to run 100 miles in the month of September.
Without putting too much thought into, I went ahead and signed myself up. It seemed like a reasonable goal and something I could achieve.
And once I had signed up, I thought to myself:
"Huh... I wonder how far I've actually run so far this month?
Not gonna lie though; Thursday and Friday were short mileage days. I just did my minimum one mile to keep the runstreak going. My legs were tired and my shins were starting to feel a little tweaky. I knew I was going for a trail run Saturday morning and didn't want to risk injury before that happened. So I slacked for two days.
So Saturday morning I showed up to meet a new running buddy at a Yankee Springs Recreation Area for a trail run. I have been horseback riding at Yankee Springs, but never running, and I was excited to try it out. There are several big trail races here each year and it's fairly popular among the local trail running community.
As we ran, she and I discussed our running, our training, and our goals. I mentioned to her how close I was to hitting 100 miles this month and she was like "We were only going to do 6, but let's get you as close as we can this morning!"
I loved it. :) We didn't do the full amount I needed to hit 100 this morning, but I left the trail with only 2.64 miles left to reach that milestone. (In all honesty, I probably ran an extra half mile this morning, but I forgot to hit the button on my Nike+ GPS Sportwatch and my theory is, "If it's not on the watch, it didn't actually happen.")
And here's where my horrible math skills come in to play...
"Ok, I needed this many miles on Thursday morning...
I've run this many miles since then...
YES! 2.64 miles left! Totally do-able!"
So I went out and did a short 3-mile run. I started typing "A nice short 3-mile run." But you'll notice I removed the word nice. Because it wasn't. It was painful. I hurt. My legs felt like lead and my knees felt like the Tin Man before Dorothy came along and lubed him up. But I was determined.
And when I finished those three miles, I was ECSTATIC! There was a little dance and everything. And so I grabbed a beer, took a well deserved shower, and propped my feet up to ice my legs. Hell, those legs had done 100 miles in the month of August. They deserved a break.
And so, after a brief nap and watching some college football, I prepared to head to bed at 11:00pm. And that's where it started to go downhill. Because as I climbed in to bed, I thought "I'm just gonna check my mileage on my phone... I haven't loaded the last three miles, but I'm just gonna look at it and feel happy."
So I sat there, on my bed, in my pajamas, sore, and tired... with 1.6 miles to go until I actually hit 100 miles. It's pitch dark. Do I go out and run laps around my house again? Do I put my pride above all else and hit the 100 mile mark, everything else be damned?
So what did I do? I listened not to my pride, but to my body. Who was cery clearly telling me "No. No no, no, no no. HELLS NO." And it sucked. I was disappointed to not have actually reached that 100 miles. BUT... I knew that the smarter, better choice was to just leave it. There's no shame in not breaking 100 miles this month. I still logged 98.40 miles. Which is still almost TWICE what I
logged in July (54.92 miles). There is no shame and I should still be proud of what I'd complished.
And now, I had a legitmate goal for September. To actually hit that 100 mile mark for the first
time. and I promise you, it's going to happen. I'm modifying my run streak. Minimum distance is no 1.5 miles, not 1 mile. Because I looked back at my month and realized that if I had run 1.5 miles instead of 1 mile on just a few of those days were I "slacked," I'd have hit 100 miles no problem. So that's what I'm going to do.
What about you? Have you ever set a goal for yourself, thought you'd achieved it, and then found out that you hadn't? How did you deal with the disappointment?