I have to admit that I was very disheartened after spring marathon season, Boston was run in record heat then I followed with Cleveland also hot. I had invested time into my toughest training and had nothing to show for it. The first thing that came to mind was that I have already peaked and all I have to look forward to is slower times. I am no young buck but still feel like I can get stronger and faster, my super competitive mind does not take a 99 degree heat index into consideration. I overlooked the accomplishment of making it to the starting line which you have to do first before you can ever make it to the finish line. I made it to the finish line in both races which took some toughness in its self, both races had elite athletes that did not finish.
I have come to realize as I prepare for this summers ultra marathon runs that I am a very strong athlete and that running smart is tougher than running fast. Peak performance can be measured in many ways speed, endurance, consistency and recovery. The puzzle has many parts also nutrition, supplements, hydration, training and rest all equally important to make a complete picture. I tested my endurance this past weekend with a 50k night run and a 46 mile bike ride the next morning. I passed the test but I did not get an A+ my goal was 40 miles run and 50 miles bike. Reflection on this made me realize that I push myself very hard and have high expectations and that my failure is an accomplishment that many athletes cannot achieve. My valley that I hit is higher than my peak was last year at this time.
We sometimes focus on a specific measure and overlook the total measure of the performance. I hope that as you read this you know that the plateau or valley that you have hit is probably higher than you have ever been. The mental toughness that we build from this experience is immeasurable and puts us way ahead of others.