Sunday, August 22, 2010

My 5-Mile Rollercoaster Run

No. I did not run through a theme park or do a bunch of hill work. The ups and downs I experienced on this morning's run were purely emotional. I don't know what the heck happened - but I was such a girl.

I woke up this morning knowing that the training plan called for a 5 mile run. I just didn't want to get out of bed. I laid there making deals with myself for a few extra minutes of sleep. But I really wanted to get this done early before it got too hot and humid. Plus waiting for this evening seemed like too much of a gamble with all of the other responsibilities I have to take care of today.

I begrudgingly got out of bed and into my running clothes. I drove to the trail I checked out yesterday. I really like the solitude of running there.

Things started out well enough. The weather was a gorgeous 68 degrees and the sun was out. I doused myself with some sweat resistant bug repellent to ward off the little blood-sucking pests. I did some intervals of running and walking for the first mile and warmed up at a 15:00/mile pace which was just fine with me.

But it seemed more and more difficult to get my stinkin' legs to move. They were like big ol' lead bricks. My running became less and my walking became more. I just couldn't get moving.

Two ladies came up behind me. I heard the perfect cadence of their feet hitting the gravel before I saw them. They probably had 2% body fat between the both of them and were clearly out for their long run of the week. They were super nice, even removing their headphones to say, "Good Morning" and wish me well. Then they flashed me a smile and an encouraging head-nod and disappeared into the distance.

What did I do?

I got all irritated at how badly I wanted to move faster and how my lousy lead legs were not allowing it. I started getting all teary-eyed and was ready to just turn around and spend the rest of the day throwing myself a little pity party.

I kept moving. But mile 2 pretty much sucked for me. I didn't run even once.

Now the good thing about a straight trail like this, is that once I log half the miles of the day there is no other way to get back to my car other than finishing the entire distance. If I were in my neighborhood I would surely have taken a shortcut home at some point. So I told myself I just had to make it to 2.5 miles and then the rest would work itself out.

It took everything in me not to turn around early. Gary the Garmin got stuck on 2.46 miles for what seemed like ten minutes and I was not at all happy with him. But eventually he allowed me to turn around and I was just thankful to be walking in the right direction. I took a look at my pace and it was pretty pathetic. I started thinking of how I have to run this 10k in three weeks and how in 41 days I have to run a half marathon. It was all a little overwhelming and I got all weepy again. This was just seeming like a bad idea.

But I had no other option than to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I wasn't moving fast - but I was moving. I spent much of mile 3 giving myself a pep talk. Here I was out here on a Sunday morning moving my body for 5 miles. Sure I wasn't setting any sort of record this morning and I could barely qualify it as a "run", but I wasn't in bed or in front of the TV. Shouldn't that count for something?

I didn't see anyone else on the trail the whole time I was out there. And the peacefulness of it all was a drastic contrast compared to how the previous week had played out. It had been a tough week with lots of challenges. Perhaps getting out here this morning was just the release I needed.

I thought of this crazy goal I set months ago. Then I got angry at myself for slacking on the training. This would be so much easier right now if I had just worked out more back in June! Images of me crossing the finish line at the Wine and Dine and giving my friend Deb a big, sweaty hug when it was over caused another round of tears. It just seems so far away and so out of reach right now.

I kept walking and trying to get to a more positive place. It must've worked because I felt my legs become a little stronger. I started running again. It seemed easier now. At one point the trail goes under a highway overpass. I thought of the people in their cars rushing off to work or family obligations with paper bags of Egg McMuffins on their passenger seats. And here I was underneath them in this whole other world uber aware of the present moment, my feelings, my goals, my demons. I suddenly felt grateful for the experience instead of irritated with it.

The last mile flew by. I actually ran more of it than I walked and was able to salvage my overall pace a bit. I noticed a sports bottle left by the edge of the trail. I knew it was from the women I had seen earlier. They were still out there running and smiling and probably hadn't stopped to walk even once. By the time they get back to their sports bottle they would be celebarting a great run and would be as happy to see that sports bottle as I was gonna be when I saw my car. I smiled for them instead of crying this time.

Now its done and I'm happy I finished the 5 miles. It was a really bad run, but everyone tells me you will have bad runs from time to time. So I'm thankful this one is over with and I can move onto having a good run next time.


  1. Awww Kelly. I'm tearing up now too. I can't wait to be there at the end of the race to give you a hug!! I know that you can do it!!

    You will have bad runs. Happens to me all the time. I try not to dwell on them, although that's easier said than done I'm afraid.

    Still, there are more good runs than bad and ya know what the best part is on this one - you did the whole thing!! That is great!!

  2. Wow, I could almost feel every emotion you went through on that run! Not easy...and the fact that you kept on moving is awesome! It's not about running exactly the way you want, but knowing that you moved forward. You're an inspiration, chica! I need to get back on an exercise program.

  3. Kelly don't beat yourself up over a bad run! You were out there....that's what was most important! The next run will be great!

  4. Kelly,

    Congrats on not giving up. Keep it up.

  5. You kept moving that's all that matters!!!!


  6. Thanks for the kind words girls!