Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Long-Delayed Running Post

I'm just going to say it straight up and get it out of my system - I didn't train enough for my half marathon in April, and it showed, and this made me angry.  And sad, and kind of defeated and frustrated with myself in a way that was so ungodly familiar to the way I've been self-talking for most of the last 25 years that it made me even sadder, because there I was, thinking I was all grown and beyond that (Sometimes I am.  Other times, not so much.)

That is not a happy finishing face, in case you couldn't tell.
I trained consistently for longish distances, but not enough for long, long distances - as in, I did only one real run that was over 10 miles, and that one particular run involved a lot of detours and walk breaks and turning around and other time wasters that were not exactly helping me get better.  I trained quite a bit with runs of 5, 6, 7, even 8 miles.  So guess what - during the half, around about mile 8, it started to become very much not fun.  As in, my legs felt dead.  I had no more endurance, and my soul felt like it was wilting.  I still remember how it felt to walk most of the last two miles through beautiful rolling hills, thinking to myself, I can't do this.  I don't want to do this.  This is stupid.  Just stop now, just don't even finish because your time is so embarrassing that it would be better if you just quit.  I'm glad I didn't quit.  I'll be honest, the main reason I didn't is because the boy who I love very much had been the sweetest, most supportive and encouraging partner I could ever ask for that day, and I didn't want to disappoint him by not crossing the finish line.  So if telling myself, Do NOT make it a waste of his Saturday to have driven you out here at the crack of dawn and stand by the road with signs, and wait an unholy amount of time for you to finish, was what got me across the line, then so be it.

"I'm proud of you," says he.  "Running sucks," says I.
But there it is.  The other part of that day that sucked was experiencing the very steep learning curve of what/how/when to nourish myself for a race that long.  Suffice to say, I did not do a good job, and I spent the first hour after the race puking and refusing to eat anything while this same sweet boyfriend of mine (who at that point deserved my finishing medal instead of me) gently but insistently spooned oatmeal into my mouth and handed me an orange juice cup that kept having to be refilled after I would vomit up its contents.
Moments before vomiting commenced.
And after that day, I took a break.  A long break, as it were.  From working out at all, for a few weeks. And then for much longer, from running.  But last week the running bug bit again and I thought this all out with much care, consideration, and a good deal more knowledge and I feel prepared to tackle the next challenges.  I know that in order to run consistently, I need to train for races - this is fine by me, because it gets me out the door and it gives me a time frame to work within.  So part one of the new plan was to sign up for two races this fall.  Done.  Part two was that I wanted to teach myself that I could run fast.  I got very safe and secure feeling like I could never run faster than about a 10 minute mile and this just isn't true.  I know it's not true because in February, I ran a sub-30 minute 5k and loved it.  So while I might be terrified of training my body to be speedy, I know that having that kind of training under my belt will boost not only my fitness, but my confidence by leaps and bounds.  So part two - I'm doing a 5k on Labor Day and a 10k in October.  Part three - run another half, and train better.  That part still scares me, which is why we're saving it for next year.  I'd like to ideally run the same half I did this year, or one around the same time of year, and train better for it, and see the improvement.  That would make me so happy.  And if that is the last half marathon I ever run, then fine.  But I finally decided the other night that my short-lived running and racing career could absolutely not end with this past April's race.

Oh my gosh, this post is so long.  But one last thing - a friend sent this to me today, and it was so incredibly fitting, since today was my first run in a very long time (it sucked, truly).  The last page is my favorite, especially this line:

"I run very fast because I desperately want to stand very still.  I run to seek a void."


So, running?  Let's give this another go.

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