It was all smiles during my morning workout in South Boston.
But yesterday was another story, as in DOMS -- delayed onset muscle soreness. (In the running world, people talk in acronyms.) I didn't tell you this, but I almost dropped out of Saturday's marathon. At around mile 10 my right hamstring went south, and it NEVER goes south. The last 16 miles were pure torture but I did manage to finish by the sheer grace of God. At mile 20 I seriously consider taking a DNF for the race (Did Not Finish). Part of me felt like I should do it. Another part of me said, "Oh, no. No! You may take your first DNF some other day, but it ain't gonna happen today." The truth is, I had to walk the last 5 miles along with all the other runners doing impressions of the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. To this day I don't completely understand what went wrong with my hamstring because today it is perfectly normal. Two lessons come to mind for what they're worth:
1. Just because you work hard and prepare for something doesn't mean it will always work out. Life has no guarantees.
2. Don't trust your ego. If you need to stop running, do so. Don't get injured more than you already are by pushing through. I knew that my hamstring was sore but I also knew that if I walked the last part of the course I could finish the race without anything serious happening to me. I know for a fact that I would have been just as pleased with myself had I dropped out of the race because I would know that I had given it my very best effort.
I expect the world out of myself and get a bit frustrated when I don't perform to my perceived abilities. I know it's likely that some day I will have to take a DNF. When that time comes, I will be at peace with it even though the fighter in me will be frowning. Sometimes we learn from failure more than from our successes. Again, hard work is no guarantee of success. All we can do is our best come race day!