Saturday was one of the bad times.
I have been pretty lax about training for the half marathon that I have on August 10th, but I wasn't all that worried, because I have been doing a ton of cross training, and when I do go running, it usually is amazing. Slow, but amazing. Such a new sensation for me to not want to hate life at the thought of going for a run, let alone voluntarily getting up at 5am on a Saturday to run multiple miles. Since I have been lax, I decided that it would be a good idea to try 10 miles or so and see how it felt. I knew that I would walk part of it (even though secretly I hoped that I would feel amazing and run the whole thing) and I felt really at peace about that. I don't plan on running my entire first half marathon, I am hoping to accomplish that at the Shiner beer run in November, which you should all totally run with me. Right now, I think the super-tastically-awesome Nerky is going to do it too, which would make me so unbelievably happy.
Oops, tangent. Anyway, so I knew that 10 miles of running was probably out of the question, so I planned to run 5, walk 2, then run the last 3. I really wanted to be out the door by 6:30am or so, but didn't make it out until 7:30am. Strike one, Saturday.
I actually felt pretty good when I started. I was feeling my glutes and my hamstrings a little bit more than usual, but I chalked that up to muscle fatigue and kept going. The first 5 miles, in fact, felt pretty great. I ran all the way out to a local state park, and was exploring around the lake area. However, I felt like it would be wise to take my walking break. I am convinced my walking break was my ultimate downfall. All of a sudden, my legs started cramping like you wouldn't believe. I kept walking, and it seemed to get better. Then, at mile 6.1, my phone died, which is what I use for music and GPS tracking. Oh yeah, and general safety: strike 2 for my Saturday run. My phone has been not-so-great lately, so I should have expected it, but I was still pretty grumpy about the whole thing. I walked for what I guessed was about another mile or so, and then I started jogging again.
This time, the jogging didn't feel very good at all. My glutes were starting to really feel it, and it was radiating into my hips and knees. I managed to breathe through it for what I think was a mile and a half before I could go no more. My knees felt like there were over-tightened rubber bands inside of them, and my left hip was SCREAMING at me. I was running along a fairly-busy road, and didn't feel like it was safe to stop and stretch for long periods of time, so I stretched for a minute or so, and started walking the last mile and a half-ish home. It was strike three. I was tired, my legs hurt, I had no way of calling Ammon for sag support. I didn't have enough water with me. I had to finish. NO MATTER WHAT, I had to get home.
And sure enough, I made it home. In fact, by the time I got home, my legs felt pretty good again. Whatever weird kink got into my glutes seemingly worked itself out over the course of the day, even though I walked like a granny for the rest of the day. Sunday and yesterday I felt pretty okay, even though I can definitely tell there is some really strange tightness going on there.
It was a run full of compromise. It wasn't what I wanted. It freaked me out to have no way of calling for help. It worried me that my body won't cooperate when push comes to shove. But it also taught me that I CAN adapt, I CAN push through a difficult situation, and I CAN finish what I set out to do. This hard run is teaching me to be a better runner. It's teaching me to accept my physical limitations. It's teaching me that it's okay to scale down, and to only do what you can reasonably and safely do. These lessons give me hope that I can find a way to finish my first half marathon, even if it isn't the plan that I have set for myself, and even if it's slower than I had originally hoped for. I can finish the right way. I have that power and ability.
So there you have it; my explanation for why a bad run can be far more valuable than a good run. And why breakfast appetizers are always, always, always a good idea. Have a wonderful day!