Years ago, during my second Ultra, a road fifty miler, I was brought to a walk on a small hill near the end. My legs were just trashed. This was only my second race over the marathon distance and I was pretty disgusted with myself for having to walk so close to the end. As I gimped up the hill, I made apologies to the man (C.W.) I had been battling with for the win for the past 6 hours. He looked at me before he left me behind and said something that sticks with me to this day, "there's no shame in walking as long as it gets you to the finish line." Since then I repeat this to myself often, and it's not usually about literally walking to get to the finish line. To me, it means that sometimes things don't go exactly as planned, but you just do the best you can to make it come out OK. And you shouldn't feel shame or regret or make excuses when you have done your best.
Yesterday, I did about three miles on the snowmobile trails, but was working too hard for so early in a long run. So I moved out to the roads. These were snow and slush covered and I was doing a lot of back-sliding with each step even though I had my screw shoes on. It was better than the snow mobile trails, but still slow and difficult. I kept thinking to myself, everyone else runs on this stuff and doesn't seem to have a problem with it. It's that damned Facebook! I read people posting things like, "10 miles at 10 below on 6 inches of snow this morning. It was awesome!" So why does it feel totally not awesome to me to run in below zero temps or on snowy and icy roads?
I did 12 miles on the trails and roads and then came to an intersection where I was supposed to turn left. Without really thinking about it, my body turned right and headed for home. As much as the treadmill bores me, I decided I would rather finish up on it than keep slipping around on the road and having to jump onto the snow bank every time a car came along on these narrow streets. It wasn't so much the fact that it was really hard work, it was just plain unpleasant!
When I got home I hardly paused to strip off my wet clothes in the kitchen before marching up to the home gym, donning some nice light summer running clothes, turning the music on, and hopping on the treadmill. My pace was much faster and much more comfortable. My stride felt natural and smooth. It felt great to finish up that way! As I stepped off the belt I said out loud, "No shame in walking," although I hadn't walked a step. I meant no shame in using the treadmill if that's what it took to get it done!