No Pain, No Gain

Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”

–William Faulkner


Despite the title of this post, my run today was more like fear of pain, no gain. So I ramped the miles down today because I think I ramped up too quickly. Today was my 5th run and it was an easy run on the trail around Town Lake but the recommended miles for the beginner’s HM program was 9 miles. I think I’ve strained poor Achilles in my heel enough with the 7 miles on the hill last weekend so I was determined not to run any more than 7. Coach also said the same thing. Over the week too I rested – the Warhurst was pretty mean on Achilles as well.

On Thursday instead of doing a run for 3 miles, I attended the Rogue core workout. (I’d already run 3 miles at the gym on Monday instead of XT). Workout was excellent. We did a circuit of 5 exercises 5 times – toe touches (legs straight up and touch your toes and back – excellent ab routine), opposite hand-opposite leg-on tummy (don’t know what its called), prisoner squats, inch-forward on your hands on 4 and back and backwards plank. Lasted about 30 minutes but it was an excellent workout. I conserved energy on Friday and hoped for a good run.

I ran the first half with Maryanne (energizer bunny) and I did feel out of breath a bit because as I said earlier, she has a pace lead of 2 minutes over me. Wasn’t out of breath in the beginning but I became out of breath on the inclines. But I still think running with her was valuable. She said two very important things to me – (1), you can never start slow enough on a long run and (2) it’s YOUR race, you run it the way you want to.

The last part stuck with me well. I know I’m probably the slowest in the group. And that’s usually fine with me but it can get to you when you’re training with so many others. How many times can you explain you began the program late? It creeps into your mind and lately it seems to be sitting right on top of it.

So I turned around at the Pflugerville pedestrian bridge (see map). I ran back to Rogue. I had so many second guesses – should I continue on for the 9 mile loop or should I turn back and concede with the 6.3 miles. Against the flow of peer pressure (Maryanne was saying something really interesting when I decided to turn back – in fact she reminded me I should) and the idea of doing less mileage than I had the week before AND doing significantly less than the group played on my mind till I got back. I morosely did my stretches and reminded myself – I had made a good decision. Could I have run the 9 miles – probably yes. Comfortably? Probably no – foot might have acted up in resistance; I might have been too tired to run further and the legs may have refused to cooperate. But I probably would have been able to drag my sorry ass back to Rogue triumphantly.

But then again, what are those 3 miles worth in the larger scheme of things? Maybe they would have strained Achilles further and he would have said go to hell to running the race completely. And there is no guarantee that I will run a good, comfy, successful 13.1 at the Austin race because I ran these 3 extra miles – since its 3 months away.

So there, I updated my running log without a major dent in miles. But it’s alright I guess. Like Faulkner said above, I’m only competing with myself. And as Maryanne said, it’s my race and I can’t let anything else – especially self-doubt – get in the way of it.

Fundraising news – thanks to many who believe in the cause, probably more than I do and more importantly, believe in me – I’m almost at my minimum mark. That doesn’t mean the buck stops here, literally. Which is why I raised the thermometer reading as well :). Efforts for fundraising are going to continue as much as they did before. But frankly, I haven’t solicited anything yet personally other than just asking in the blog. I haven’t sent any emails yet, asked anyone in person yet. But people have donated and I’m amazed. And all I can say is thanks. And I do mean it when I say, I will be thinking about every one of you when I run the race. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


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