- Dr. Seuss
Everyone is entitled to a bad run, just like everyone is entitled to a bad day. In both cases, I think it’s a sign that some wiring is loose somewhere.
My Sunday long run was a suffer-fest. It was my typical 10-mile run, and I finished it. On paper it was great. My average was a little slower than usual, but still under 8 minutes a mile. However, in practice, I was not happy. My legs were tight and tired, I got a stitch in my side and I just felt exhausted. It didn’t help that I tried out a new section of the bike path – which was incredibly boring. Long stretches of the path where you could see two miles ahead of you in a straight line with a gradual incline the entire way. And no views – which is never a good thing.
At seven miles in I stopped briefly on the side of the path, doubled over and just wished the 10 miles to be over soon. This is not how I’ve been running lately at all.
But as I said: everyone is entitled to a bad run. It’s okay. And if I had been listening (and not ignoring) the signs of my body throughout the week, I would have seen it coming. I had pushed myself hard on Wednesday. I had been feeling great at the time, so I went all out. And then I moved my weights to Friday, so my legs were tired going into the weekend. And my four-mile run on Saturday was dragging. But I ignored all that, got up bright and early on Sunday and said “screw you tired body,” and headed out for the 10 miles. Again, it was fine and I finished. But it taught me to pay more attention to my body. And it also reminded me that I still have a lot of work to do to reach the level of fitness that I want. I may be feeling great physically these days, but training for a marathon next year will take its toll.
My body was hurting on Sunday afternoon. Back tightened up, legs were sore. And my lack of runners high placed me in a bit of a funk. I took the opportunity to do a self check on my mental state. It’s been two months since my grandfather died. The man who raised me. Two months since a year of intense caregiving came to an end. I had been mentally going non-stop for those months at a very high level. If I wasn’t coordinating, cooking, visiting, planning or in a hospital – I was thinking about coordinating, cooking, visiting, planning or being in a hospital. Not to mention, keeping up with a busy job. My brain had been on overdrive.
When it all came to an end on September 12 – I shut down. And I’ve been running on auto pilot since. Not only am I sad that my grandfather is gone, but all of the hard memories of losing my mom a short three years ago came to the surface. To be honest, I haven’t grieved much outwardly. I did a lot of that while my grandfather was sick. Instead, I have just turned inward and have been spending a lot of time with myself lately. I’ve been cherishing quiet weeks and weekends; a routine workout schedule; starting an introspective blog (thanks for reading); not wanting to be very social at all; and spending time at my family home with my grandmother. It’s been good for me. I think my psyche has been healing. I’ve been using this time to just hang out with “me” and not burden myself with sad thoughts.
Basically, I’ve just been going through the motions over the last eight weeks, hiding out, and thinking that I was okay. Not realizing that I had been fooling myself. But all it takes is one bad day to compel you take a hard look inward to realize that you’re really not fine. Not yet.
Just like you’re allowed to have a bad run now and then. You’re allowed to have a bad day. In the same way, it teaches you to listen to yourself and it reminds you that there’s still a lot of healing to be done. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.