In my brief fleeting career in Texas high school sports, one of our coaches had a favorite saying to encourage patience or make us wait for something "Rome wasn't built in a day ladies..." He always misused the analogy to imply that we should wait for something rather than the idea that small incremental changes produce great results. And the tone and condescension dripped from his voice, and it always made me want to ask him if he even knew what that meant. So one day I asked about something trivial (I think it was when is the next water break), and he said that to me. Having just read a classic history book (I was always the bookish, nerdish, wannabe athlete who was tolerated to keep team GPA above 2.0), I retorted, yes that's correct, Coach, but it did burn down in six. Coach paused, cocked an eye, and laughed heartily. He said I am not even going to make you run for that smart mouth of yours...
Anyway, I have always remembered that saying "Rome wasn't built in a day..." and as a runner it really is true. One can't radically change form, fitness or condition in a day. Patience, practice, commitment and devotion over time produce change and results. And thankfully form, fitness and condition really won't collapse in a week. Thankfully.
I didn't end up running 17 miles on a treadmill. Rather, I ended up trekking across the country for an unexpected work trip where I haven't slept in the same city in nearly a week. I have literally been on an airplane every day since last Tuesday. Traveling like that makes running 17 miles darn near impossible, and I just didn't get it done.
There, I said it -- I skipped my long run this week. But I can rationalize it because I have had 4 weeks in a row of long runs, one at altitude. And anyways, I just couldn't get it done -- literally there were not enough hours in the day, and been at work or on a plane most of the nights. And I need to sleep, too.
I feel bad about it. Guilty even. But I know it probably won't make that much difference. I did manage two early morning runs (on treadmills!), one in Vegas even. But I didn't go long. I just have to get back on the wagon this week and act like last week was a rest week. Sometime life has a dangerous way of intruding on running and training, and hey, that is life.
Rome wasn't built in a day, and it won't collapse just because I skipped a long run and ran a total of 18 miles last week.