32/300: Bonk Buster

Ten days ago, I bonked. I was out for a run, working on a five minute segment and about a minute in, I was done. I jogged. I walked. I crashed – mentally, physically and psychologically. The next day, I wrote about it and I heard from friends via Facebook and Twitter that they had been there. They assured me I’d get through it, that it happened to the best of us, so it was bound to happen to me.

Even the next day, I felt the sting of the bonk. I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. I was also resolved to fight back strong.

This morning, ten days later, I went out and killed a twenty minute, two mile run. Was it possible that I had gotten that much more fit in a little over a week? I can tell you with absolute certainty that the answer is no. The difference was not in my legs or my lungs, it was in my mind.

I tried something before the run after the bonk. It was an experiment. I had approached all the runs leading up to that one with a mindset that said “you can do this, just get through it, you’ll be fine.” I changed that to “every five minutes you spend running, you are five minutes closer to where you want to be. Love the five minutes.”

The results? Much better running and I catch myself actually looking forward to the next time out on the road. I ran two five minute segments, then four. Wednesday of this week, I did back-to-back eight minute segments. And when I was done with that I looked forward to what was awaiting me (in the Couch to 5K program I’m following) this morning. Twenty minutes. The big test. I’ve tried the Couch to 5K before and this was always the run that broke my will.

“You’ll be 20 minutes closer to your goal,” I told myself. “Get out there and do this.”

And so Penny and I set off into the cold morning air. I didn’t even look at the time. I just settled into a podcast and went forward. Every step a step closer to where I wanted to be.

In any scale, a twenty minute run is not significant. But it’s a turning point in my mind. I’m now closer than I have ever been to achieving something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s not work. It’s something to look forward to. A little twist, a little shift in how I think has had breakthrough impact.

I am Craig, a fledgling runner. I am Craig, buster of bonks.

 

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