Tuesday’s Thoughts on Running

There’s something extremely humbling, about laying in the middle of the sidewalk on a dark Thursday evening. After all these months of running, it was the first time I’d fallen. I must’ve tripped over something on the sidewalk. Kind of weird after my boss had just berated me earlier in the day about running in the dark by myself. I asked what else I was supposed to do? It’s dark in the morning, it’s dark at night. He suggested I take a lunch and run then. But who’s lunch is two and a half hours? I don’t even take “lunch” because they need someone in the front office. So, there I was thinking to myself “I can’t be twenty-four with a broken hip right?” I’m just telling myself that the crunching noise I heard while I stumbled was the crushing of acorns beneath my sneakers. Somehow my headphones remained intact during the tumble. I’m not quite sure how that happened. Anyway, I rolled over because I wasn’t sure how else I was going to get up off the ground. I was fighting the urge to cry. I looked around, and there weren’t any other people out. There were only like three cars on the street and they’d already flown by. The street lamps weren’t bright enough for me to access my injuries. I found my phone, and looked at the screen and it had basically shattered, shards of glass poking out on the bottom half around the home button, tiny pieces crunching into my left palm. Luckily I’d over estimated how cold it was outside, and double layered. While it ended up holding in too much body heat for my comfort, it worked out because it was extra cushioning on the fall. I briefly considered calling someone, maybe walking home…but I was only four miles in on a twelve mile run. It was supposed to be my last big training run before the race. SO after I realized that my pride hurt more than my body, and it was just some scrapes and bruises, I decided to forge on. I was listening to Jack’s Mannequin Pandora at the time, (what’s new?) and a lot of the lyrics are inspiring anyways. Mixed with the flashes of my old standby encouragement and motivation (Olympic athletes of course! From Michael Phelps, to the USA women gymnasts, to the track stars I watched carry on through obvious intense injury) I wasn’t even that hurt, just frustrated with myself. I was still reading Dominque Moceanu’s memoir, Off Balance at the time, and I kept thinking to myself about all of the people who are a lot stronger than me, face a challenge, and achieve like crazy goals. I wish I could tell you I had some really sophisticated mantra I repeated to myself, but it was a lot more simple than that. I just reminded myself “I’m not a baby.” Sounds cheesy? Maybe, but it worked. I finished that run, but something felt different. I felt determined but also frustrated and kind of angry, which sounds bad but hear me out…it seems dramatic, and now a few days out I’ve simmered down over the whole thing but I was just pretty mad at myself, and kind of bitter towards running. I felt like I failed. It felt like my body betrayed me, and there was such caution in each step, that I couldn’t trust the ground beneath my feet. In turn it felt like the escape had been ripped away. The fun got zapped. Running ten miles, now that was awesome. It was this exhilarating feeling, my friend described it perfectly saying it felt like you could conquer the world. But twelve…twelve I started to get bored, and I was getting restless and wanting it to be over. Now with a shorter run, and some rest days mixed in, I’m back in my routine. I’ve got the rest of this week, and a serious taper next week, and then it’s race day. Right now, I’m just anxious for it to be over. This training period has been a while. I feel like it’s taught me a lot about when to give my body a rest, showing me goals I can achieve I might not have thought possible before, and learning the slow and steady way to increase mileage. While I’m pretty sure I should continue to sign up for races to keep myself conditioned, and so I’m not tempted to slack off as the colder weather sets in, it will still be nice to have my own schedule going…less dictation in my runs throughout the week. Now that the routine is back in swing, I feel a lot better about things. So, really I’m just hoping that the only similarities between race day and last Thursday are – that I don’t cry, and I don’t give up.

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