Week 4, Day 2, in the midst of marathon-training
Six am. I've got a job to do. I call up Arash and enthusiastically yell at him, "AW YEAH IT'S GONNA BE A GREAT DAY!" We spend one minute saying positive affirmations back and forth, before finally ending with "Have an outstanding day! Go get em" I get up, feeling vibrant and energetic, having forced myself to be so.
I get dressed into my running gear and grab my phone again. I check the weather, and it tells me that it's -6 degrees outside. All at once, my thoughts race and I think "man, maybe I'll just run tomorrow, I may slip on the ice."
I start talking aloud again, "Jay, you need to train properly to do this marathon. You're gonna ready and healthy by the time it rolls around if you follow through with your training schedule. Get out of the house, get out of the house, get out of the house, go, go, go!"
I head out the door and am immediately hit by how freaking cold it is. I think my nose fell off somewhere near the start of my run. I hadn't checked before running how far I was supposed to go today, but I start running amidst doubts of how long I actually want to be out here. I start to rationalize, "maybe I'll just do one kilometer and he'd back, it's too frigid out..." My pace is decent for my first kilometer, at about 4:28min. I'm feeling pretty lively, taking into account the ice on the road and placing my steps with care.
Then it hits me again. I'd been running with a bum knee for about 2/3 weeks on and off, where a sharp pain in my left knee would arise while I ran. 5+ minutes into today's run it happens again. I grimace in pain and see the next major intersection 50 meters in front of me. At this point, I know I can either turn left and head home to save my knee or keep going and do my minimal 5km according to my marathon training schedule. Let's do it.
I keep going, the pain ebbing and flowing throughout. I feel invigorated, fighting the pain mentally by affirming to myself that I am stronger than I know, that I'm more healthy than I have ever been. The music on my iPhone pushes me, so I focus on it to take my mind off my knee or the run. I make it to 4.44 kilometers when I stumble.
My left knee buckles and I stagger. I cannot support my body with my left knee so I limp. The pain is intense and I don't want to keep going. Stupidly, the only thing I truly want is to finish the run strong. Flashes of my roommate, David, telling me to go to a physiotherapist before I kill myself running come across my mind. Too late now. I know that I can finish the run in less than 3 minutes easily under normal conditions. I get back up and continue my limp-jog, staring ferociously down the path that I'm almost done with.
I push through, half-limping, half hopping, and turn the corner to the home stretch. It's about 75 meters to my house. I push harder, my affirmations louder than ever. "I am stronger than I know. I am stronger than I know. I am stronger than I know. I am healthy and fit. I am healthy and fit. I am healthy and fit."
I finish strong and am glad I didn't quit at any of the points I wanted to: when I saw the temperature on my phone, when I felt the cold wind rush down my hoodie, when my knee buckled like crazy (lol), or even at the end of my first kilometer when I had completed a decent time.
I know I will run May 6th no matter what. I will train like hell for it, and i will do the daily things I strongly dislike to get myself to that physical shape. How bad do you want it?
PS. I do not recommend doing what I did. If you're a runner, you know the smart thing to do is to fix your knee up through stretches and strength training exercises before you go run long-distance again. This was a crazy stupid case of mental willpower where I had to prove to myself that no matter what, I would keep going. But I did it and I feel absolutely FANTASTIC.
To quote Mohammed Ali, "I hated every minute of training. But I told myself - suffer now, and live the rest of your life as a champion."
A blog on my continuing journey through life, covering self-development and success strategies, but also personal reflection.