When Training And Practice Pays Off

andyABMFinishThis past weekend I ran my second A-Race of the year. I had trained and focused on this Marathon exclusively for months. I had a great race but it was in the later stages where I learned exactly when the training and practice pays off.

In running you train to get faster, you train to become stronger, you train to have more endurance to enable you to go further but also you train to learn how to suffer. Period. You learn how to hurt and how to be uncomfortable in training so that in a race those sensations are not strange or foreign to you.

And it was exactly in that same realm of pain and discomfort that I found myself about mile 21 in my race this past Saturday. I was maybe ½ my up the Maroon Creek Trail and going uphill… nothing steep but still going up when I began to really feel the fatigue of the 20+ miles already ran.

I was hurting, it was getting hot, and I was really getting tired. Again though, this is when the training and practice pays off… I had run that section of the course as my Sunday long run the past month or so and was very familiar with it. In my mind, I knew exactly how far it was to the finish line and the general lay of the course still ahead of me. I had done enough high intensity training in my running to know that even if the effort I was running at hurt like hell that I could still manage it. And that coupled with the comfort of just telling myself, “this is just like every Sunday run you’ve done the past month,” allowed me to hang on.

The beautiful part of the story and the race for me is that I was able to actually run HARDER the last third of the race than I did the previous two thirds. Not that I had held back any in the first two thirds in anyway, it was just that I was able to both commit and execute the plan and still run like I was racing.

When it all was all said and done, I destroyed myself in this race. It is Monday, walking is still troublesome, and I have yet to give going out for a “jog” any serious consideration yet. That will probably happen tomorrow. But as wrecked as I am right now physically, that is nothing compared to the satisfaction of knowing that I trained at my best for this race and when it came to doing the actual race, I went all-in and left nothing out there on the course.

I am happy with my result, my age-group win, and my overall standing in the race and while all of those things are nice, they still don’t compare to the knowledge and satisfaction that I did my absolute very best out there, and in the end, that is all I can ever ask of myself.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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