Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Final Mile

It happens when nobody is watching. It's just you, your thoughts, and that one final mile. Nobody is holding you accountable. Nobody is there to cheer you on. Nobody is there to encourage you. Nobody is watching. Twitter doesn't care. Facebook doesn't care. Some forum post doesn't care. These people don't know you anyway. What matters is you, right now, and you're the only one who knows it. You're the only one who knows what you have done; what you can do.

It's staring you in the face; it's saying "I am going to break you", and you're saying "Hell no you're not." You are 95% there, but that last 5% takes everything you have. It all comes down to this. 95% won't get you anything in the end; stopping at 95% makes you a quitter. The job isn't done, and the thought of giving up makes you sick to your stomach.

You know you have saved up a little bit, but is it enough? Is it enough to kick it up a notch for the final effort? This is when it all happens. This is when it truly matters. The rest of it is important, but this is the crux of it all. This is when everyone else breaks. This is when most let it all get to them. Those thoughts you have been dreading start creeping into your head. "I can't finish this. There's no way I can go any faster. Oh shit, this hurts so bad. I can't breathe. Make it end. Make it stop." The pain you've been staving off and denying starts to accumulate and your legs hurt, your breathing hurts, your head hurts. You're hot, you're uncomfortable, and you're doing this to yourself. Why? What for? And while physically you are about to break, physically you may start to crack, it all comes down to your head. What will you do to combat those thoughts? What will you throw back at them?

"You have another gear."
"Final mile. You can do anything for a mile."
"This is when it counts. This is when all others give up."
"Anything's possible. Faster is possible."
"You can do more than you would ever believe."
"Fuck you, pain. Not gonna break me."
"It doesn't hurt, it doesn't hurt. Only 12 minutes. Only 6 minutes. Only 1 mile."
"You can always go further. You can always go a little harder."
"Don't give up. DON'T QUIT."

And you finish. It does end. You did go faster. Maybe not much, but you hung with it. You went faster than you expected; how did that happen? It feels so good to be done, everything still hurts, but damn, it feels good that you didn't give up. You finished. Today, you are a little better than you were yesterday.


krystyna47 said...

This is an amazing post -- just what I needed to get me through tomorrow's interval run.

And on a totally unrelated note, do you alternate which arm your ipod is on so you don't get a wicked tan line?? Because if not, that is AWESOME, and pictures are needed.

Mon Amour said...

Such a great post! I used to really struggle with giving up too soon because things got tough or just weren't going well. I love knowing that pushing myself each week is making me better than last week.

PS. Don't forget to vote for me (Shannon Mulcahy) to become a member of the Refuel With Chocolate Milk team! I would really appreciate your support!

Kelly H Williamson said...

Krystyna- No, I don't alternate arms! But somehow I don't get a tan line? Funny you ask! Never even thought about it.

Vishwas said...

I like!! I can relate to every one of those questions! :)

Bre said...

Love it! Printed this one out and stuck it in my training bag. I keep reading these two lines over again, "What matters is you, right now, and you're the only one who knows it. You're the only one who knows what you have done; what you can do." So true that it all comes back to you and the mental side of training.
Happy training (in Colorado right?, those aren't Austin mountains in the photos are they?)

Chad Holderbaum said...

Great write up Kelly and how true!

Unknown said...

beautifully put! fantastic post. incredibly inspirational!

Chicago Mary said...

Love this. Will think of it tomorrow when I'm running and The Devil sends his tempting thoughts.

Brenda said...

*Love* this post!! Thanks for writing what so many of us often battle with and never put into words.