When bad runs happen to good people

The following soundtrack is mandatory background music for today’s story. So put on your headphones, click on the link, and go forth!

5:07 a.m. I stand at the very front of the Chosen Treadmill, my body leaning in as I enthusiastically punch my goal workout/numbers/stats into the keypad. I. AM. SPEED. I know exactly what I need to accomplish for today’s workout, it is emblazoned into my subconscious (since I fell asleep memorizing it from the screen of my Nook – handy little bed companion, that Nook… Not like that, stop it now!)

I start my warm-up, raring to go, ready to take full advantage of the stars  being aligned on this particular morning to help make this workout happen. I diligently raise the speed at the pre-set interval to start my pace training, as my brain declares that this will be THE BEST TRAINING RUN EVER. I look down at the display screen, ready to scoff at the speed, ready to declare this “too easy/slow, can’t I crank it up just a little bit more?!”, when I realize that my legs and my brain were definitely NOT on the same page.

I was barely a mile and a half in, and my body wanted to call it quits. I ignore my body and turn up the music  playing in my ears, hoping to get distracted, needing to WIN.

Because any deviation from The Plan would mean failure. Ask any runner and they will tell you (or maybe they won’t, maybe it’s just me) that their biggest fear, a fear that has previously paralyzed me in my Adidas and caused me to park on the couch instead of hit the road, is that they will fail The Run, compromising and threatening the hard-earned title of “Runner”.

Failing The Run comes in the form of failing to complete your planned mileage, failing to run as fast/hard as you had intended to, failing to reach the point where your legs and body feel as though you could gloriously go on and on and run and run and run and look at me I’m flying oh my goodness what are you doing still crawling down there. 

In an attempt to re-create the victory of the last PR, I (and maybe some of you) have turned into a creature of running habit. Energy is spent on cloning the circumstances (to the very last detail) that led to the handful of times when I felt legit, effortless, capable. You memorize what you ate, when you ate it, what you wore, what shoes you ran in, the terrain, the temperature, the time of day, your hydration strategy, and try to re-live that moment of victory, the one that led you to feel worthy of the reflective, fancy, technical, and temperature-proof running gear you adorn yourself with as you head out the door.

5:33 a.m.

No more Rocky music. My body will have no more, and the headache that I’ve accumulated over the measly miles completed so far (probably brought on by jiggling the remnants of the head cold I had a few days ago that filled my head with snot) threatens to leave a hole in the right side of my head. 

I declare defeat, and slowly decrease my speed on the treadmill until the screen says 0.0. I hang my head and shuffle off the machine before it ( or any of my fellow 5 a.m. gym-goers) call me out on my pathetic attempt. I find myself a friendly elliptical trainer and complete my planned workout time, if not running then at least doing something, and head home.

I realize, in the span of time between the start of my 10 – 12 hours of work, driving kids to/from school and daycare, getting them fed, cleaned, and in bed, then making sure their lunch/milk is prepared for the next day before I crash in a heap in my bed, that I have not failed The Run.

I am doing the best I can do with what I have, and that is not failure. That is success.

Also, (just so you’re sure it’s still me here and I haven’t turned into somebody else), tomorrow is Saturday, which is another opportunity at THE BEST RUN EVER OHMAGOD I AM GOING TO KILL IT. 
9 miles here I come.

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2 Responses to When bad runs happen to good people

  1. i believe in u. U r my inspiration to get back into shape.

    thank u.

  2. Pingback: SLC Half Marathon « halistic

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