Well I know I share a lot of personal experiences and emotions on this blog each week, but I hope nobody minds if I really take the lid off and share some weakness tonight. Today I nearly came undone out there. Nothing dramatic, but just a combination of things which created a less-than-ideal running environment. I packed about half as much water and Gatorade as I should have, and one cinnamon raisin bagel to sustain me for 33 miles. I haven’t been sleeping well the past couple days and only got 5 hours last night. The route was hilly and had gravelly dirt shoulders. It was 95 degrees. My skin was on fire.
Around mile 20 I saw a gas station across the way and made my way over, dreaming of Gatorade, juice, water, Popsicles. At the door I was greeted by a “Closed” sign- a very stupid mistake on my part- nearly all the tiny gas stations are closed on Sundays and I had forgotten today was Sunday. Realizing I only had one small water bottle left with 13 miles still to run and seeing that the store was closed was one of the most discouraging feelings I’ve ever experienced. Overcome by dehydration, nausea, and discouragement, I walked behind the building and puked. Not a great moment for me.
The only upside was that the gas station had DIY carwashes so I paid $1 to get the hose going and gave my body a much needed cooling-off with it. Unfortunately the spray and pressure was automatic and the water came out in such a way that was impossible to bottle up in my water bottles.
I also had some mental negativity going on. Sometimes you just get those days, but today was the first time I’ve ever felt like I was going to have a panic attack while running. I don’t know what was going on, but for a good 10 miles I felt pretty down, fluttering between anxious and discouraged. Finally around mile 21 I just put my head down and had a good long conversation with myself. Actually it wasn’t long at all. I told myself to snap the heck out of it and finish these last 12 miles before the sun melted me. And that’s exactly what I did. Banged out 12 miles in two hours and made it to my resting place for the night, with Carol at the Dogwood Cottages B+B in Eupora. Thank goodness.
Today was a test for me, and I think I came away with again a new standard and level of expectations for myself. I almost don’t know how I got through it but I guess when you’re out there on the road in the middle of nowhere with nobody along with you, you’ve got no choice but to get through it. All I can say is that the title of a new running book kept going through my head: Relentless Forward Progress. Just keep taking those steps. Eventually they’ll get you where you want to be.