Sunday, August 04, 2019

Dealing with failure


I was expectedly stiff and sore in a lot of places the night of finishing the 24h. Sleep is usually very difficult, with each turning and change in position needing multiple adjustments. My pelvic was still sore and wouldn’t support my legs. I improvised by tying two towels around my knee and pulled them with my hands to change position. But I slept surprising well, given the conditions.

The next day, I used one of the ubiquitous plastic chairs for support, as I leaned forward, supporting each step with my hands to move a bit. By evening, I was walking straight without the chair. The next day, I was riding a bike and managed a few beers with some friends, and a dinner with others.

I put my feet up for 4 days while I slept, but I simply could not shake off the feeling that I had failed. The mind rationalizes – “you gave it your best”, “your body was not there for that last one hour”, “you can’t plan for such injuries”. But each day, I cursed myself a hundred times, “I had missed a golden chance”. Kanan’s words while we were on track, kept coming back to haunt me “Accha mauka hai, bhaiyya”.

Feedback and way forward

I got a plenty of feedback (mostly solicited, some unsolicited) – try more food (close to 400cal / hr), was it too much caffeine (21 caffeinated gels), you need to put on more weight, more solid food, went out too fast (w.r.t the 10th hour for about 20 laps), was overwhelmed by the target – should have been more relaxed about it, etc. etc. I certainly chocked. I feel I could have done better in the enjoyment department, mentally. Physically, long strides during walking may have been a wrong idea, need to put some more time in the gym for some strengthening.

Comparison chart showing the hare and tortoise story – me in red and KJ in blue. (lap & distance credit: KJ)

These things were playing round and round, nothing really helped get rid of the feeling of dejection. I contemplated stop running these events, running altogether. A lot of what-ifs played about, I pulled myself out of bed one night, to see my splits.
But, I got here not expecting anything from running, not allowing myself to be bogged down by results and not making running another stressful rat race.

But again, I draw inspiration from the sexagenarian runners on the national Aussie team at Soochow. For now, I will take the advice of two wise men, who said - drink more beer and do some fun running! Cheers!