Today I failed.
Saying it that way really fights with how calm I am in my head, but the fact remains the same: I failed today. I got on that treadmill and just . . . couldn’t do it. Chirpy old Laura told me I’d be running for 20 minutes non-stop and my stomach did that flutter I haven’t felt for years. That nervous, tickling, butterfly-like, crawling sensation that tells me I’m about to do something really stupid or really painful.
I tried. Oooh, goodness did I try . . . and by the two-minute mark I was out of breath. Not a good start. By the three-minute mark I had to slow down. By four minutes I was gritting my teeth and chanting ‘I can, I can, I can.’ By five minutes I . . . gave up. I just couldn’t. All the gritted teeth and I-cans in the world weren’t going to drag me through another 15 minutes on that treadmill.
So I climbed down, wiped away my sweat, walked into the ladies toilets, sat down, and cried. Yes, I cried. Tiny, pathetic, hiccoughing tears because I didn’t want anybody to hear me and stop to ask what was wrong.
Then . . . I washed my face, dried my cheeks, gulped some water and went back out to the treadmill. Three minutes later . . . done again. I just couldn’t go on.
I’m at home now. I’m washing my hair and readying a hot, deep bath to soak in while I read a book I just bought (one of my indie publishing idols, Joanna Penn. If you like thrillers definitely check her out – she’s awesome). I’ll have to pick up the boys from school shortly and I just want to spend some time quietly, by myself, reflecting on what happened this afternoon.
Because I know exactly what went wrong.
Yes, I failed, but not because I couldn’t hack 20 minutes on that stupid treadmill. I was still awake at 1.15am this morning, reading and giggling when I should have been asleep. I’ve had less than seven hours sleep. Yesterday, I went through the day on six hours sleep. The day before that, six hours again. This morning, I didn’t have time to eat so I gobbled a pair of oaty pancakes and hoped for the best.
I. Am. Exhausted.
Last night I knew I wouldn’t be going to the gym first thing. I knew I’d go when the boys were at school. But I still stayed up late doing silly shit. This morning, I knew I’d need the fuel, but I was so wiped that I couldn’t get out of bed in time to take care of myself. I only had time to feed, wash, dress and (briefly) entertain the boys before taking them to school. I’ve given myself none of my usual care and didn’t even manage to have a proper breakfast (or even brunch!) before cycling to the gym and expecting to run.
I knew it would be tough. Quiet deliberately I didn’t listen to the podcast before hand—that seems to work better for me—and even as I stood there and heard ’20 minutes’ I still thought I could do it. Despite my thumping head, aching thighs and poor mood. I thought I could push past it and do something mega difficult.
No. No, I can’t.
Fact is, I haven’t taken care of myself well enough this week and my body is trying to tell me so. My body spent all of this morning begging me to take a break, properly refuel and rest before doing anything physically strenuous. I ignored it. I thought I knew better than the body that has kept me alive and moving around for 31 years.
I’m an idiot.
So yes . . . I failed, but not in the way you think. I failed to recognise the signs that my body is giving in. I failed to recognise that rest, relaxation and sleep are just as important as training. I failed to let myself get a good night’s sleep three nights in a row. I failed to eat a proper meal. Hell, I failed to acknowledge that I’ve let the feeling of ‘I must not quit’ get in the way of not breaking myself. I’ve even failed to allow myself time and space to just sit and recover from a double whammy of bad news in the last 24 hours. I just . . . failed.
Couch To 5k – Week Five, Run Three: Failed
So what do I do now?
Well that’s the question, isn’t it?
I’m writing this post for a number of reasons 1) I always write a blog when I go to the gym, 2) I kinda want a hug and a pat on the back and to be told it’s going to be okay and 3) I think it’s important to record the bad as well as the good. No one has amazing days all the time. Everyone has slumps. So far, across this blog, I’ve not really experienced that. I want to show myself (and you guys) for that matter, that one bad day isn’t the end of all my efforts.
So what do I do now? I try again. Today, Saturday and Sunday are rest days. I’m going to spend them eating right, sleeping well and getting back on track. On Monday I’ll go back to the gym and repeat run two. Tuesday is LEAP, so I’ll do that too, then Wednesday and Thursday will be rest days. Next Friday, (December 4) I’m going to back into that gym and repeat run three.
And I’m going to kick its arse.
This is where it gets tough. This is where I need to dig deep and find out what I can really do. Not in the middle of a run when I’m already part way there. Not when I’m on the bike and moaning that I don’t want to go. This, here, now. Now, when I’ve fallen flat on my face and the effort of getting up again makes my arms and legs tremble. When I’m covered in emotional cuts and bruises that need time and space to heal. THIS is where I grow. THIS is where I prove that I’m not a quitter.
. . . oooh boy. I just really hope that’s true. o.O