Why I Should Always Ignore The Voice In My Head

Today I woke up very, very dehydrated. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the beer I had last night. I’m sure it also had nothing to do with the scotch I had before bed.

As I said, I woke up very dehydrated. I also woke up knowing that I had to go for a longer run. To be specific, I had decided earlier in the week that I needed to run a half marathon today. Part of the need to run a half marathon was the belief that it would purge the demons of what seemed a rather sedentary week for me. However, I also had in the back of my mind the need to work on my half marathon (or better) a month challenge.

So after waking, did I immediately jump out of bed and start this long run I was supposed to do?

Hells no.

I lounged in bed for a while, playing on email, playing KenKen, and trying to come up with every possible justification for not running.

I’m too tired.

My legs hurt.

I can run tomorrow.

I really am too dehydrated.

I do feel a little like a champ right now. Note: I wrote champ, not chump. Ha!

In short, they were all 100% bullshit excuses. In fact, I was probably spending more energy convincing myself not to run than what I would need to just get off my duff and start doing what I knew I needed to do.

So how did I convince myself to actually run? I started with small goals. Drink some water. Feed Elliot. Drink more water. Feed self. Drink even more water. Putter. Drink more water. Do some laundry. Drink more water.

Before long, I realized that I had sufficiently hydrated and I really just needed to get my race on. So I put on my trusty compression socks, my trusty compression shorts, and my shiny new runners, and I just started. One foot in front of the other. I started off slow, because I still had that stupid voice in my head telling me to stop, give up, save it for another day.

I took it one mile at time – one minute at a time. I wasn’t intending the run to be a fast run, I just knew I needed to do it. So I kept telling myself just go a little bit further, and then consider a rest. And that’s what I did; pushing my body just a little bit further until the miles started disappearing behind me.

When I had managed a third of the distance I took stock. It was then that it really dawned on me how fast I was pacing. Less than 5 minutes per kilometre (less than 8 minutes per mile). What the what? That was not part of the plan. Despite my brain suggesting that I should stop, my body didn’t feel the same way. In fact, my body felt really good. I kept running.

Two thirds the distance passed. My pace had not wavered. My body still felt good. I kept going.

This quote flashed through my mind a number of times today. Mainly when I felt like yarfing. I don’t think yarfing is a reason to stop.

At the 12.1 mile marker I started smiling. Holy shite, I’m going to do this. I’m actually going to run my first ever half marathon at a pace less than 5 minutes per kilometre. Holy freaking awesome.

I tried not to get too excited, doing some quick calculations to verify what was going on. It was going to be close, but I was sure my numbers were correct. I’d definitely cross the finish line in under 1 hour and 45 minutes. My smile grew wider and wider. An incredible wave of runner’s high poured over me and I easily sailed past the finish line, happy it was over, but even more happy that I had done it.

And just think, if I had listened to that voice in my head this morning, I wouldn’t have run and I wouldn’t now be enjoying a personal best (21.12 kilometres in 1 hour, 44 minutes, 43 seconds).

I love it when that voice in my head is wrong. It feels good to give it a mighty punch to the face.


Below is an updated list of the runs I have completed that are part of the Run at least 1 half marathon (or better) per month for a year challenge. Five months in, 9 runs longer than a half marathon. Awesome.

  1. February 2012 – 21.64 km - training run
  2. March 2012 – 25.75 km - training run
  3. March 2012 – 30.56 km - Around the Bay 30k
  4. March 2012 – 21.54 km - training run
  5. April 2012 – 21.21 km - Run for Retinal Research Half Marathon
  6. May 2012 – 43.00 km - Toronto Goodlife Marathon
  7. May 2012 – 21.37 km - training run
  8. May 2012 – 44.04 km – Ottawa Marathon
  9. June 2012 – 21.12 km – training run.

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