I never write about my crappy runs or bad days. But they definitely exist.
I like to write inspiring quotes, about how I rocked that 8 miles at 10K speed or how I pushed for a 8:15 pace at the end of a hilly 9-mile run, etc. But don’t be fooled. We all have bad days. And we often try not to talk about it, because we think if we ignore it, it will get better. But, I think to really bond as a running community, we have to embrace the suck.
So, yesterday, after a 10-hour day at work, Dan came over. And I laced up. And for once, I had no plan. Usually, I find these unplanned runs liberating. I get to decide how far or fast based on how my body feels. And it all feels so freeing. The way running is supposed to be.
I was really looking forward to my run. I told Dan I didn’t know how far we’d go, and I’d definitely start off slow, but no idea how fast or slow I’d end up.
We took off down the road. Within the first few minutes, I felt that agonizing cramp in my torso I’ve been experiencing on-and-off for the past few weeks. It reminds me of the side-splitting cramps of my first few months of running.
I just kept focusing on my breathing, but we were going so slow. I couldn’t be patient with myself. We were doing a 10:30 pace. I physically do not know (anymore) how to slow down past that and continue to run. I tried to focus on my pace.
I eventually had to stop. The pain was awful, and only getting worse. So, I stopped at 1.15 miles, and walked for a few minutes. And then, picked it up again to an easy jog. For a minute. Then, had to stop. Again. I was soooo disappointed in my body.
I thought of everything that has happened to the world of running in the past few days. How someone could take a jubilant day and turn it tragic, and felt selfish. And it made to want to just stop altogether. But, I dug deep, got even more selfish, and thought about me. I run for me. If I didn’t want to run, then I shouldn’t. But how many times had I pushed through some pain and darkness to have a kick-ass run? To get stronger? To be worthy of pride.
I finally convinced myself to run again. And decided if I was mentally strong, I could push through it. And I did. My side-splitting cramp didn’t go away, but I accepted it, as an unwanted friend for this run. Unfortunately (or fortunately), there were a few times Dan made me laugh too hard and the gut-wrenching-bent-over-in-pain feeling came back. But, I was able to get my breathing back, and continue the run.
We went by a god-awful-smelling area (smelled like a pond filled with stink bombs from my childhood), so I “sprinted” at a 9:00 pace for those portions, and was able to gain some of my breathing and speed back.
The entire run sucked. Every little step sucked a little hope out of me. It made me feel weak- physically and mentally.
But, with 5 miles behind me, we walked the last 0.5 miles back to my house. It was getting dark, and we were eating bugs (Hmmm… protein!)
And suddenly, I was in a better mood.
The work “stuff” was gone. My 10-hour day, gone. What to cook for dinner? Gone. Worrying about tomorrow? Gone. And maybe, it was Dan; but then again, maybe it was a run. Even a crappy, slow, but painful 10:10 pace that made it better. Maybe.
For the future? Tonight? Abs. Because that is quite possibly why I’ve been experiencing this pain- lack of ab strength, regardless of how good they look, I could still be weak.
I also need some goals to focus on. So, my next post will likely be that- training goals, race goals, etc.