Leaving it all on the course. In running terms it means to have given every ounce of effort and energy; to be completely drained of all of your capabilities. I’ve never “put it all out there.” I’ve finished races thinking, “I could have run harder.” In some cases fear has kept me from realizing my full potential. We can do everything we can in our training, but it is in races where many variables affect our planning and preparation, that we have to learn to let go and push through to discover our true limits.
It’s my belief runners are aware of two kinds of pain. The first is pain due to injury and we know what those are and we stop. The second is pain that we experience when we are nearing our physical threshold. These are character building moments, opportunities to push beyond what we’re accustomed to. It either defeats us or increases our tolerance and makes us better runners.
My last training run in Malibu Creek was frustrating. After running all of the uphill sections and averaging 6:50(-) pace on the downhill with only 3 miles to go, I started to walk because of a side stitch. On pace for a sub 2:00:00 loop and I couldn’t get past a little abdominal cramping! It was so frustrating. How can I translate that into a race time estimate? I can’t! Upon reflection it was a test of character and my ability to continue fighting for every step despite discomfort. It was a good opportunity to deal with pain and push through, but I failed and succumbed to the abdominal cramping. My limits will be tested on Saturday. Will I have the guts to tough it out and leave everything I have on the course? We’ll find out.