Some days I kick ass, and other days I kick my own ass. Today was one of those “other” days.
I am near the end of my half marathon training. Less than 30 days to go. That means this weekend and next weekend are supposed to be my final long runs of 11 miles each, and then two weeks of tapering (lower mileage runs), and then the race. Today’s run should have been great – the weather was perfect (50 degrees, sunny, no wind), but it was anything but great. It sucked.
It sucked before I even started running. I started late in the day, and I just had a really bad attitude about the whole thing. I was tired. I wanted a nap. As I was stretching on the kitchen floor, I really just wanted to curl into the fetal position and sleep. In retrospect, I should have done just that.
I told myself to suck it up, eat some peanut butter and get my ass out the door. I thought that my bad attitude would be lost after a few miles, as it usually is, but as I began my run, I realized it would only get worse. My knee hurt. Then it didn’t, but my foot hurt. Then it didn’t, but I had to pee. Then I stopped to pee, and my knee and my foot hurt again. Then, at mile 4, nothing hurt except my attitude. I was just done.
I stopped at a corner, knowing I could be a winner and turn left, take the long way around and complete my 11 miles, or I could turn right and shortcut home. I would love for this story to be one about making that tough choice and being proud of my accomplishment. I would love to say that I was badass enough to defeat a poor mental attitude. But not today. Today I took the shortcut. 11 miles turned into six.
Upon my return home, I met my husband in the driveway. I bemoaned that I felt worse after six miles today than I did after 10.5 last weekend. He pointed out that I was a week older.
Am I too old for this shit? Should I resign myself to walking 5k’s in a pair of white Easy Spirits and maybe sign up for water aerobics at the senior center? I began listing my excuses for a poor run, beginning with my 45 year-oldness. Next came my stuffy nose. Then came my poor eating habits and the beer with last night’s pizza. Then came my hip injury and my arthritic big toe. Then came the realization that I had those same excuses last week, but still managed to have a good run.
This week’s massive failure stemmed from only one thing – my crappy attitude. I have known for all the years I have been running that it is absolutely, without a doubt, a mental sport. Today, my mind and my heart defeated my body. I may not have physically assumed the fetal position, but mentally I never left the kitchen floor.
The aftermath of today’s run is that I am ashamed of being a giver-upper. I am disappointed in myself for allowing mind over matter. And I am scared, as I don’t know how long this crappy attitude will last. A day? A week? Will I emerge from this funk before I have to run 13.1 miles with 35,000 other people? An orthopedist, a massage therapist, and some NSAIDS can fix my physical aches and pains, but who will fix my mind?
I realize that this may come across as self-absorbed and unnecessarily whiny. I should just be glad I have legs. I should be thankful I have the luxury of time for running. I should be grateful I’m not running from bullets. I need take some time and put my first-world problem in perspective, I know. But we’re all allowed a shitty, selfish day, and today is that day.