Now, I realize that anyone who half-way regularly reads this blog will never think to the contrary, but I just gotta say... that running isn't always butterflies and haikus. Sometimes running SUCKS. Actually... I'm going to go out on a limb and say most of the time it sucks. Particularly if you're training for something. Sure, all us runners get poetic sometimes about about how awesome we felt during a particular run, or how we were reminded of our spirituality while out in nature or something, blah blah blah... but dude, honestly... that's just BS that we feed people to convince ourselves that we aren't all a bunch of crazy, OCD, sadists.
YES, there are those occasional runs, that make us feel "alive" in some sense that we don't get out of everyday life. But, in general, those come once every 100-150 miles (at least for me).
This past weekend's run was no exception. Suck-city.
To preface, I had battled the NOLA Flu with vengeance all week. I battled it out and actually only managed to take one half-day of work off the whole time (yes, I hate my co-workers... I didnt mind being socially irresponsible and exposing them to the illness. Sue me. I had work to do). But, I didn't run all week. This for me, is unheard of. Seriously, I'm not sure I've taken a whole week off running since I ran my first marathon in 2007. The last run I had managed was the 17 miler in New Orleans the week prior.
So, Sunday morning... as I lined up with the other Nashville Striders at the Titans Stadium ready for a 16 mile training run, I tried to embrace the impending suck. I tried to ready myself that this wasn't going to be a fun run for me. Not with the time off, the mucus still taking up shop in my lungs and even more so, the scenery on this particularly training run BLOWS. Here's the tour for you: Stadium, Ghetto (and not even cool, sketchy-ghetto.. more like industrial-boring ghetto), Park (and not a cool, pretty park. Boring -no- scenic-details with tons -of- dog -shit- to -navigate park) and back through the Park, Ghetto and to the Stadium.
The run started off pretty well. It was cold. And somehow, I hadn't really dressed appropriately for the run. As we started nearing the park, I started to lose interest in the run. We were only about 2-3 miles in and I was already bored out of my mind. And it had nothing to do with my company. In fact, I was thrilled to be running with two of my Relay Teammates, and would have loved nothing more than continuing our conversations at the local bar or coffeshop. Preferably somewhere warm. But, the run was boring me.
By the time we entered the park and embarked on the long out and back loop within it, I was starting to have moments of non-suckage. At times I would feel energized, but those moments were fleeting and were quickly replaced with moments of total suckage again. Overall though, I was barely getting by.
And then around mile 10 of the run, we were encountered by a girl from our group running back towards us asking for a cell phone, telling us to dial 911. There was an emergency situation ahead of us and we sped up to see if we could offer any help. When we got there, it was clear that it wasn't just a sprained ankle, but a serious, serious injury that was possibly life-threatening and rather than go into specifics on here, I'll just say please, buy a Road id and also, if you're going to be running in a remote area, please have someone in your group carry a cell phone. I NEVER carry a cell phone on my runs, but I will definitely be carrying one when I run in parks from now on. We stuck around for a little while, as, one of the people I was running with had offered her cell phone and her phone was still in use with emergency personnel, trying to get them to our exact location. Finally, someone told us to run to the trailhead to try and alert the ambulance to their location when it got there.
With something constructive to do, we took off. And I mean, really took off. We had a mile to get to the trailhead and we ran like we had just robbed a bank (I'm sure in actuality wasn't all that fast, but after running 10 miles, it felt really really fast). We eventually heard the ambulance turn off to go a different route into the park, and we slowed down a bit, but the adrenoline was still pumping and we were still running faster than I probably should have been.
By the time we got to within a mile or two of the finish, I was done. Physically, mentally, emotionally done. I was freezing from stopping for so long, my right hip was giving my some tweaky pain, it took every ounce of my willpower to keep going. I wanted to stop and walk so freaking bad. But the only thing that kept me going was knowing that the walk was going to take longer and be even colder. By the time we got to the stadium, I announced to my friends, that I was done with 15, I wasn't going to loop the stadium and get the extra for the full 16, I just needed to be finished. They too decided that 15 was enough and we finished with 15 exactly.
I was beat, I was cold, I was mentally exhausted, I was stiff, I was tired, I was done. It was awful.
Today, I've got a stiff right knee (not my IT band, but the center on the backside of the knee) and a stiff right hip. I think it's just residual stiffness from the cold and from not getting any other runs in last week. Hopefully, I'm due one of those awesome runs, soon. I need it.