Sunday, March 31, 2013

Run, interrupted

"Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield."
-Steven Tyler

(Adorable bug splatter by ZAC Creative)
Yesterday, I was the bug. Scheduled for my first 20-mile run of this marathon training season, I woke up in the morning feeling psyched out. I'd slept and eaten well the day and night before, but woke up with a gnawing in my belly of both the literal and figurative kinds. This is my monthly on-call weekend, which means running with my work cell phone on, and sticking close to home or car, so as to be able to respond reasonably quickly in an emergency. When on-call coincides with a 20-miler, I usually head out to Lake Miramar, a reservoir with a nice 5-mile bike path that circles it. After a couple of hours of dragging my feet, I finally got out the door.

It was an unseasonably warm day, and I felt "off" from the beginning. I made the first couple of loops in reasonable comfort and at target pace, but going into the third loop (of four), I started feeling poorly - no pain or discomfort, just hot, fatigued, and like my chemistry was just all wrong. When the phone rang around mile 13, I felt a wave of relief - I could stop! It was a client's daughter, and I wound up sitting for about 45 minutes talking her through the difficult decision to place her father in a dementia care facility. By the time we wrapped up, my head was 100% out of the game ... and my body wasn't far behind. I started back up, but after a mile was feeling very hot and grumpy. I slogged the last of that third loop, and after 15 miles, called it a day.

As I drove away, I was beating myself up for quitting, failing, you name it. I got home, ate an entire half of a leftover pizza (and this was no personal-sized pizza, y'all), took a long shower, and crawled into bed. I'm not a napper or an emotional eater, so I knew my body was talking to me. As I laid down, the mean thoughts crept back in - I blew an important run, I'm never going to qualify for Boston, blah blah blah. I imagined what I would be saying to any of my friends if they said such things to me after a crappy run. I would think they were being ridiculous - and I would be right. So I pulled the sheets up over my tired, sunburned body, said a few words of thanks to it for having made an honest effort, and let myself have a good sleep.

The challenge of training, and setting (and achieving) goals are important reasons that I run. But even more important is the love. Running makes me happy, and even during the toughest workouts, I enjoy being out there. I rarely lose that love, so when I do, I know I should listen.

The coda to this post is that today (Easter Sunday), I woke up feeling fine - and certain that if I'd pushed it yesterday, that would not have been the case. I took myself out for a fun and easy three miles, and in the spirit of celebrating resurrection, wish a joyful Easter to all who observe it.


  1. It's okay that you didn't get this run. In fact, you could have pushed yourself and got sick or injured. I try to look at things that way. I had a run where I planned more mileage, different routes, but then I had to change it. Sometimes in life, you have to adapt or you get taken out. I hope that helps.

    1. Absolutely, it does! It's easy to get too focused on "leaving nothing in the tank," and we have to remember that training is not the same as racing. Thanks!!