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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Running is HARD

Running is hard, yo!  So is the sidewalk.  Today's tempo run was tough.  I mean, "this is stupid, why am I doing this?" tough.  Last week, I experienced some serious self-doubt during my tempo run.  "These paces are too fast; I can't do this.  I'm not going to hit my goal time at Glass City."  So I reflected in my log, talked to my coach, talked to a friend/runner I coach, rocked my long run, and approached today's run with, hopefully, a fresh perspective.

It was windy.  I've been sick all week.  It was 20 degrees, but it's been in the upper 30s until today and I under-dressed.  Detroit is busy and I kept having to stop at lights.  But I was doing okay.  Then, during the recovery between tempo repetitions, I wiped out.  Again, for the third time in the last three and a half months.  I slipped on some ice and threw myself to the side to try to fall on snow instead of cement.  I put a hole in my new Brooks tights, cut my knee that's already sporting a nasty scar from my fall in November, and landed on my face.  I knew this, not because I could feel a cut or bruise on my face, but because my face was covered in snow.  The longer I stood there trying to wipe the snow off and assess, the colder I got, so I started running again.  I stopped and asked a man if my face was bleeding, because it was so cold I couldn't feel anything.  He said no, but he looked really worried.  I turned around to run home and I totally lost my ability to push through the self-doubt.  "I can't hit these paces; I can't do this.  I'm not going to hit my goal time at Glass City."  For a while I was able to just have fun running "Spicy McHaggis" (Dropkick Murphys) miles, but then the wind really kicked in and I was freezing.  I got back to my house and I'd only run just over 7 of my 9 miles.  And I said screw it.  This wasn't enjoyable in any way.  And I went inside.  I quit.  This was NOT Happy Legs, Happy Heart.

Once I defrosted, I had a nasty bruise and swelling on my hip.  Self-doubt, disappointment, discouragement.  I talked to my coach/friend, talked to another friend, talked to my husband, and I felt a little better.  I finally wrote it up in my log.  I realized the first three tempo miles were at a good pace.  My coach and I came up with a concrete solution to run next week's tempo run on the river walk, where there aren't any lights.  Pizza.  And now I'm writing about it, because that usually helps.

Listen.  Running is hard.  Sometimes it's easy, and that's awesome.  But the way we handle the hard spots are what differentiate us.

“You don't become a runner by winning a morning workout. The only true way is to marshal the ferocity of your ambition over the course of many day, weeks, months, and (if you could finally come to accept it) years. The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials.” (John Parker, Jr.)

I'm embarrassed to say I quit today.  But here's hoping I crush my long run on Saturday and come back stronger next Thursday, ready to run those tempo miles.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes strength comes from physical means; sometimes it's mental, and when you are at your best its both. But I'm wondering if you absolutely had to run yesterday to achieve your end goal. It was one of the coldest days and Detroit is difficult to traverse. Many sports are somewhat about weather conditions. Kicking a 60 yard field goal in American football with or without the wind is not the same. Putting a goal in during football (soccer) can mean the ball is perfectly inflated, no rain, snow, slush, or it can mean a goal where you slipped three times before getting to the box, the ball slides from your foot and you spin and kick it in anyway. I would not be embarrassed to say you quit today. I would however, question scheduling judgment. And remember, there is always tomorrow, until there are no tomorrows. I love your tenacity, your persistence, passion and zest for life. Distance running is named so for a reason. It isn't a day. It's an extended moment in time that grows and grows. I love you!

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