A bad run.

I’ve mentioned here before that I’m training for a marathon.

This morning’s training run was awful. Okay, maybe not awful… but not good. Not good at all.

I just couldn’t move naturally. Everything felt heavy and stiff. I set the treadmill at a pace that normally feels easy and comfortable and natural to me, and I felt like I had bricks for legs. When I bumped to a sprint (it was an interval workout), I was panting like a dog. Normally my sprints light me up and then tire me out, but this one drained me right off the cuff.

I told myself right away that I would finish the workout, even if I had to walk a few times. I did let myself slow to a walk a few times during my easy intervals – though for no more than 45 seconds – and still felt out of whack. I did all six circuits, but I felt like garbage. Heavy, stiff garbage.

I just couldn’t get comfortable. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no stranger to discomfort. I’m training for a marathon after all. But there comes a point in every run when you just kinda settle into your pace and go. My eighteen-miler on Saturday felt like that. Once I hit a good stretch of trail, I found a rhythm and relaxed into it. I did get tired and my running got kinda wobbly, but I kept going without exorbitant effort.

Today? Not so much. I had to work for every damn step.

Of course, during the run I composed a comprehensive list of possible reasons why this particular run was so awful:

1. I didn’t warm up enough.

Possible. I really didn’t, and I hadn’t done a sprint workout in two weeks, so I could’ve just startled my body.

2. I’m still recovering from being sick.

Unlikely. I’ve covered over 20 miles since then without trouble.

3. I’m still recovering from my 18-miler.

Mildly possible. Yesterday’s run was fine, but there were no sprints, so maybe I’m not back in it for sprints yet.

4. I’m not cut out for speedwork.

I am finding that I don’t enjoy speedwork and much prefer to just go and let myself enjoy the run, but I think that’s preference rather than biology.

5. My supper last night was abnormal and didn’t fuel me very well.

Reasonably possible. I had polenta and roasted veggies last night. It was delicious but not a supper I have often, so maybe I didn’t get enough fuel out of it. The rest of my diet yesterday, however, was normal, so it couldn’t contribute that much.

6. I’m a terrible runner and I should just quit and who the hell am I kidding I can’t do this I want to go back to bed.

Yeah, this crossed my mind. I’m not proud. I also know it’s not even remotely true, because the mostly likely reason is:

7. Bad workouts just happen.

They do. There are bad stretches of everything in life. Bad days at work, bad nights of sleep, bad batches of cookies, bad relationships, bad friendships, bad fights with your sister, they just happen. Sometimes there’s no reason, and that’s okay. All that matters is that you decide when it means “quit” and when it means “brush it off, kid, and get back to it tomorrow.” See that list I made up there? Toss it in the garbage and just get back to it.

My dad always says that a really bad run is what makes you a runner. Being able to work through it, keep going, don’t let it discourage you, don’t let it make you feel like you can’t. Which is why I’m going to finish up this smoothie, take a shower, stretch it out in yoga today, and then get up bright and early tomorrow and get right back up on that treadmill.

Because I am a runner.

Also: let’s just talk about the fact that I managed to keep myself from making any digestive jokes about “bad runs.” Does this mean I’m an adult now?

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