Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you’re having glorious fall weather. Here in the Midwest, we had an amazing weekend–sunny skies, temperatures in the mid-60s to 70s, and a light breeze.
It was perfect running weather. FINALLY! I have struggled so much with the heat and my running these past few months (mostly because I am too lazy to get my ass up and run early like the smart people do.) Also, between my recent illness, some health stuff that I seem to have going on, and general life circumstances, my half-marathon training has been a joke.
Normally, I am the runner who is religious about training. My training runs are my security blanket, and I don’t like to show up to a race having missed any or having any reason to feel that I’ve not given my all to prepare for a race. It helps me live with the disappointment that invariably follows when I see my finish time :-).
Yet, this time around, I’ve missed or shorted several weekday runs. I’ve been sick. I’ve been tired. I’ve been hot (my God, the heat!) I’ve been mentally all over the place. I’ve not been myself.
A sampling of thoughts that have sprung into my head during recent training runs–
- F*&$ this!
- I should take up competitive knitting.
- F*&$ing ignorant drivers!
- S*%$! My feet hurt!
- S*%$! My entire right leg hurts!
- Why am I out here? I suck at this!
- Ten years? Ten years I’ve been doing this, and I’m tired at Mile Two? F*&$ this!
- I’m never racing again. F*&$ this!
- I’m hungry. Would it be bad if I quit?
- F*&$! Why is he/she/that dog faster than I am?
- Am I moving in slow motion? It feels like I’m running in slow motion?.
- If this run doesn’t end soon, I’m going to lose the will to live.
- Is that a hill? F*&$! That’s a hill!
- I hate myself.
Yes, I’ve been a beacon of classy positive energy these past two months or so. I’m hoping that my visit to the endocrinologist tomorrow will start me on a path to:
A) stopping my recent hair loss
B) helping with my fatigue (I am seriously tired lately. Like exhausted for no reason tired.)
C) better running.
Until then, though, I am pressing on with my training as best I can. This past weekend called for a 9-mile training run. Now, just a few months ago, 9 miles would have been a cakewalk, but not at this time. I was nervous about the run, because my 7–miler was cut to 5.3 during a disastrous summer heat wave, my 8-miler wasn’t exactly a shining moment in my personal running history, and I should have run another 9-miler a few weeks ago that turned into a very ill 4.7-miler on a week with virtually no running.
Yuck. I wasn’t exactly psyched about my chances of having a good run, much less finishing.
The first 3-4 miles were mentally painful. I thought about quitting and scrapping the half marathon. The thought of just taking a week or so off to physically heal and mentally recalibrate was tantalizing. I was thiiiiiissssss close…but I pressed on.
Finally, I hit that happy zone around the end of Mile 4, and it saw me through. By Mile 6-7, I was cruising. It was like rediscovering an old friend.
I’ve never needed it more.
I am reinvigorated, and though I know my upcoming race is going to be far from my best, I will be there, happy to show up to the starting line (as long as my peculiar leg issues don’t get worse.)
Every run is a gift.
Also, I downloaded the photos from my recent 10k, and one caught my eye. It was taken around Mile 3, I think…
It makes me laugh, because I look so unhappy in a way, but yet I find it inspiring. I was running my ass off at that point. The look on my face is one of total determination.
Maybe I was being too hard on myself about that race. Maybe I deserve a pass and should give myself a break.
Finally, like so many others, I love fall. Fall is pumpkin candles, football, the return to red wine, and for me, heavy doses of jazz in my music rotation. Here are my favorite mellow songs to run to in the fall…obviously best for long, slow runs! I hope you find some that you like…but I warn you, I never put them all on one playlist without any peppier tunes mixed in; otherwise, I would end up sprawled out on someone’s lawn staring at falling leaves and calling out for a glass of Pinot Noir and a decent cheese board.
All in moderation, right?
Here’s to fall running, the joys of red wine and cutting ourselves some slack!