Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Taking A Dip

A few weeks ago, I reviewed Seth Godin’s book ‘The Dip’. On Sunday, I did experience a challenging yet revealing moment, during the Army Half Marathon/Sheares Bridge Run. All was well as I ran through the 10km mark well under-50 minutes – I was on target for a 1:40 run. This could have been an official personal best.

At the 16km mark, I had to do damage control as my pace slowed significantly. If I did not drop my pace, I would be destined for a painful finish. I had to pay my (oxygen) debt I incurred earlier in for my harder pace. I was glad I did drop back my pace a bit, or else my finish would have been unpleasant. I jogged through the finish line just shy of 1 hour 48 minutes – I can live with that (top-6 percent overall, and also in my category). So, I survived the Dip and emerged faster for it. On checking my previous timing, I slashed about 11 minutes. This I attributed to being nearer to the flag-off point (with the faster runners, and therefore clear pathway), and making the decision at the Dip.

In retrospect, I did not train adequately at this harder pace. Plus, I could have dropped my pace earlier, and finish earlier with much more ‘in the tank’. The clarity induced by my wisdom of hindsight - back to the drawing board.

Sometimes, it is not necessary to work off the ‘All or Nothing’ strategy. Holding back, before the Dip can spell good news. Pacing, timing, patience and faith in oneself (and one’s preparation) can be useful. Systems thinking suggests that slow can be fast. The Dip is an opportunity to rise after the fall.

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