Friday, February 3, 2012

Running on Empty

As I've been perusing other blogs and articles the past few weeks, a theme I've seen repeated often is that of overcoming a bad run.  I've read these stories with some detachment, passing over the words quickly to get back to what seemed like more relevant topics.  Things had been going so well, so easily, for me, I couldn’t yet conceive of the Bad Run.

Well, guess who had a truly BAD Run this week?  Yes, indeedy.

Seriously, it was like the Gigli of runs.  Minus the eye candy factor of Ben Affleck.

Wanting to catch the last of daylight, I ran on an empty stomach.
My knees began screaming with the first step.
A mile in, a bug flew up my nose.
A few strides later, its buzzy little friend flew into my right eyeball.
While attempting to extricate said bug without breaking pace, I ran right through a puddle.  The only puddle on the street.
The cold I’ve been fighting chose that time to wage war on my lungs, tightening my airways like a vise.
And, no joke, I ran into the wind both directions.  How is that even possible?!

On top of it all, I was running solo; Leo was suffering badly with the same cold and really needed to rest that day.  I’ve gotten used to spending a lot of time on each training run encouraging him, building up his confidence and generally maintaining an optimism that’s proportionately opposite of my rather cynical personality.  Without Leo along, I was focused entirely on myself and my Bad Run and - WHAM!  The nagging self-doubts I’d seen reported by others began running about my head like a family of meerkats. 

“I can’t do this.”
“My body’s too old to take up running.”
“This isn’t even fun!”

But I’m glad that I had read those tales of Bad Runs, because I recognized what was happening immediately and got right to work reversing the negative thoughts.

“Listen,” I told myself, “this really DOES suck.  But it’s one run out of many.  Your new shoes aren’t working; call to exchange them as soon as you get home.  You know it’s stupid to exercise without eating, so don’t do that again.  And there’s an inhaler sitting on your bathroom sink – use it.  Now quit whining, run home and try, try again.”

And I did.

Two days later, I ate dinner, laced up my old running shoes, took a puff of my inhaler and had a really, really Good Run.  No knee pain.  No problems breathing.  Since it was dark by the time I went out, the bugs were gone.  The wind even chose to take the night off.

So now I know – Bad Runs happen.  This was the first for me, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.

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