Every athlete knows...
Training plans are tricky. On one hand they keep you focused…ya know…Eye Of the Tiger kind of awesomeness. But on the other hand training plans can be just like having your annoying grade-school teacher sit on your shoulder and constantly criticize on your actions “don’t do that”, “don’t eat that”, “don’t watch that, isn’t it time for bed?”, “don’t drink THAT”, “don’t YOU think you are out a bit late for the long run you have tomorrow morning?”.
More than a decade ago two runners had gone through two particularly rough training cycles. Along with the usual physical and mental depletion they had additional issues brought on by unexpected work travel, relationship strife, broken bones (a toe…which hadn’t event begun to heal by race day), illnesses and more.
Leaving late is a recipe for disaster.
The race was a good 4 hour drive away and they left late…expecting to happen upon a nice place for a pre-race dinner along the way. However, rather than finding cities with fine dining options or towns with mouthwatering home-style meals they found stretches of highway, the occasional gas station and cattle...lots of smelly cattle.
There was nothing…nada…for hours. As they rolled into town late the NIGHT BEFORE the race the only open restaurant was a fast food chain, with a garishly bright sign lighting the parking lot around it and advertising some sort of 99 cent chow. Yikes…one of the runners was a vegetarian and there wasn’t much to offer under those heat lamps but they took what they could find, dolefully ate, and went to bed.
In the light of day, brilliance strikes.
Waking early in the am they rolled out of bed…maybe feeling just a little nauseous from the food the night before, or nervous for the day ahead, or both.
The runner with the broken toe for whom this would be a second half marathon commented “this will be a tough one” her partner in crime responded “Yup! It's our UNPREPARATHON! Let's go!”
The first runner was right; it WAS a tough one. The second runner’s words, or rather, invention of one single word, will live in infamy. At that moment the concept was born, unpreparathon: it is a rite of passage, if you haven’t had one, you will. Every athlete has the “joy” at some time or another.
When life sends you an Unpreparathon:
Just. Keep. Running.