Bad run

I went for a run yesterday and it sucked.

I had planned on doing 8 miles around Central Park, but from the get go it was going wrong: I left the house 3 hours later than I normally would have, my stomach hurt (perhaps too much food before leaving the house?), and it was raining. Of course I'm hell bent on running an 8 minute mile at the Fairfield Half Marathon so I went out anyway instead of playing it safe and going on the treadmill.

The second I started running I could tell it was going to be a difficult run because my legs were tightening up and I couldn't get my pace under control (i.e., I was going faster than I should have and couldn't sustain a slower pace). The rain only made the situation worse. By mile 3 it was seriously raining and all I wanted was for the run to be over. So I figured I would walk for a minute and try to "reset" myself, give myself a fresh start. While I was walking I passed by a subway station and that was it. I started thinking about the rain, and how my phone and iPod would get damaged. I started thinking about how horrible my stomach felt and how my legs weren't cooperating (even though I was doing about 8:15 a mile). And despite knowing much better, despite having faced this situation 1,000 other times, despite knowing that this would be a high-order sell out, I stopped my run, got on the subway, and went home.

I don't think I've ever felt so defeated by a run before. I've stopped to walk, I've taken shortcuts, but I've never cut a run off so soon--I wasn't even half way through! For the past 24 hours I've been beating myself up over this. I've been thinking about what a wimp move that was, how I've had much, much bigger challenges and yesterday I just gave up without a fight. And then I started thinking about how I wouldn't be ready for this next race...and that's a whole other stream of thoughts. And then I started thinking how this could signal a downturn in my running, how I might never reach an 8 minute mile, how I'll never make it to a full marathon, how I'll have to just give up running all together. My demons have been in full swing since yesterday.

And then I realize--as I'm thinking all this--that perhaps I am taking all this running a bit too seriously. Maybe I should reevaluate my priorities when it comes to running. Or more specifically, maybe I'm pushing a bit too hard for this next race. I should really just concentrate on being prepared for it rather than having an amazing time. I did set a new half marathon personal record this year AND I plan to do my first full marathon this year--that is a lot to squish into 12 months. So maybe I should take the Fairfield race as my fun run for the year. If I improve my time, great, but if I don't, I'll still be in great shape for my fall marathon (whatever that turns out to be).

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