There are times when you just don’t want to go out for a run. Your plan calls for one, but you just do not want to do it.
Today was such a time. My mood was low, my confidence negligible, my mind was in a bad place … all the ingredients for either just not bothering or giving up after a couple of minutes.
But I forced myself out. It was in my plan, a 75 minutes easy run, so I owed it myself to at least give it a try.
To begin with I ran around the football pitches beside my house. I didn’t want to be here and, several times during the first 20 minutes, I seriously considered just jacking it in and going back home.
Perhaps it was a mistake to run so close to base, but I couldn’t be bothered going elsewhere.
I circled around the pitches, running aimlessly in one direction and then another. Then, after one last lap of the pitches I got to the end of the gravel path around them and knew that turning left would take me home, but turning right would take me in the opposite direction and would give me a fighting chance to actually complete the 75 minutes.
I turned right.
I had to dig deep to turn right. Up to this point the run was a real war of attrition. It was raining, I didn’t want to be here but somehow and from somewhere I mustered enough mental strength to carry on.
I battled on. By turning right I had committed myself to a route that would take me away from home, and around to the industrial estate by the opposite direction. As routes go it was totally uninspiring but still I went on.
I was slow, slow even for me, but that little spark within me which didn’t allow me to give up gradually gained strength, turning into a flicker, then a flame before developing into a full blown fire.
I focused. I had to. I needed to block everything else out, I needed to just get this thing done. This felt like a pivotal moment. Give up now, and I’ll have lost a major battle. As foul as my mood was I wasn’t prepared to let that happen.
We have a word here in Northern Ireland – thran – which basically means to develop a stubborn streak, to not give in regardless of the circumstances. I became as thran as I have ever been. I was not going to give up, or let this beat me.
I was still slow because I still didn’t want to do this, but I was getting a little bit faster with each passing mile, perhaps 20 seconds or so quicker each time.
By the time I had gone through the industrial estate and along the dual carriageway I had looped back towards home but I still had about ten minutes left. Again I faced the choice to keep going or to just call it and quit early.
I kept going. I wasn’t going to give up now, not after battling and beating my demons this far.
As runs go, it wasn’t my greatest, not by a long chalk but, from a mental point of view, it was a huge, huge victory. Perhaps, if I can win today, I can win again.