Today I had a run in which every step was either a chore or a misery. I thought I would write a little about it as encouragement to others because, dammit, I kept going. One might argue that perhaps my body was trying to tell me something and maybe I should listen. I answer, when do I ever listen to anybody telling me to stop doing something? It is against my nature. In fact, it is a little embarrassing how easily reverse psychology works on me.
I almost did not run at all. I made one stop on the way home from work which naturally took longer than expected. Additionally, it was very warm in the sun. Perfect weather to sit on the porch. Warmer than I ideally like to run in. However, things will only get warmer as we get into summer, so I might just as well get used to it. At least a nice breeze was blowing.
Finding running clothes and putting a load of laundry in took a few minutes, but eventually I was on my way. A couple was sitting on the porch of the house next door. We exchanged greetings.
“That’s what I want to be doing,” I said. It sure was. I envied all the other porch-sitters I saw as I ran, of which there were a lot.
I had it in my head to do a long run, because I may not get to run Friday or Saturday. I even thought of running up the hill to Herkimer College. The heavy traffic on German Street discouraged me from that, because I would have had to cross it at some point, then cross back. As I continued to put one foot in front of the other, it was brought home to me that my body was not the least bit inclined to run up such a hill anyways. In short, I did not rock this run.
My legs hurt, my feet hurt, I forgot how to breathe. I said that sentence as I was narrating in my head (as I like to do when running), then I asked myself, How do you forget to breathe? You can’t forget to breathe! Was I breathing? Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. I did not have a Vocal Chord Dysfunction episode, but I just felt I was not getting the oxygen I needed. Apparently I was, though, because I kept going. After all, without sufficient oxygen you die, or at least pass out. You don’t keep running, however slowly.
And it was a slow, slow run. How in the world was I ever going to run the Boilermaker 15K? I didn’t want to run at all! I haven’t wanted so badly to stop running since I first started running in Army Basic Training twenty years ago (oh my God, it WAS twenty years ago!). However, I did not stop running. I continued. And I pointed out to myself that I was continuing. I find it helpful to remind myself how much it can suck and I can still keep going.
I ended my run going up my street on the opposite side from my house. I ran by the house to the end of the street, crossed the street, and ran back to my house. It was quite the triumph to keep going that long. As I passed our neighbors, they were still sitting on the porch.
“You need to sit down,” the lady called to me.
“Ain’t that the truth!” I shouted back. I got home, grabbed my bottle of water and walked around the block for my usual cool-down. Oh did it ever feel good to walk! However it did seem to take a long time to get around the block today. At long last I passed our neighbors’ house again. As I hoped, they were still sitting outside.
“Now you’re walking,” the man observed.
I pumped a fist in the air as I answered, “I ran! I walked! Now I’m going to shower! And I’m going to sit!” We all laughed.