Nothing like a long run in 15 degrees to knock the pride out of a body. My hamstrings are particularly pride-free this evening. Today's long run was, in sharp comparison to last week, a suffer-fest.
Well, that's not ENTIRELY true. The first hour was actually pretty good. It was cold. Did I mention it was 15? That's pretty cold where I come from. But it was good. There were a few nasty patches of ice that slowed me down some, but I felt strong. My legs were a little sore from yesterday's one hour yoga session, but I was doing it. I finished the first loop in 48:30. A minute slower than last week but, you know, the ice. So, I was pretty confident that I could finish my scheduled hour and a half without a lot of trouble.
I started my second loop, made it up the hill of my nightmares without incident, finished sucking down a gel - which did not go down well, anybody else get heartburn on a run??? yuck - and completed my first hour with only thirty minutes to go. Then the wheels came off.
My legs started telling me there was just no way they could go another step. Total whiners. I tried ignoring them but, as they were doing most of the work, it was getting difficult. So I started making deals with myself. Get to the top of this hill. Get to the next turn in the trail. Walk up this little stretch and you can go again. Everytime I looked at my watch to see how long I had, it was only 30 sec. since the last time I'd looked. The bright side was that my heartrate went way down because I was hurting too much to go fast. Whine, whine, suffer and bitch. I wish I could say that I was thinking about the men women and children that I'm running for and the intolerable suffering that they have to deal with every day, but I wasn't. I was thinking of myself and my sad, out of shape body and how much I just wanted to stop running while at the same time I felt like I would just die if I stopped running. Then this morning's daily meditation popped into my head. I just started getting these from UCC's website (my church is affiliated with United Church of Christ) and the prayer at the bottom of this one struck me in particular:
I'm your child, Lord, while I run this race. And I don't want to run this race in vain. I'm your child, Lord, while I run this race. Amen.So, that prayer started running through my head and that started helping. I've always half-joked that when a run was getting particularly difficult that I was "running with Jesus". Nothing like running with the Lord to make you feel like a big fat whiner... "but my leegggs hurt... wahhhhh". Anyway, after a half mile or so of that, I realized that I was picking it up again and my legs were feeling a little better. (To clarify, I do NOT think that God healed my sore muscles so that I could keep running, I think He's got better stuff to do) Then, according to my watch, it was time to start cooling down, so I slowed it down and felt WAAAY better. Then I came to a sign. I technically only had another five minutes or so left to run. But the sign said "2 miles" to the trailhead. Two miles to go and I would have made another loop - 9 miles total. My old long run. My back in the day Phoenix kicking some arse long run. So, I picked it up again. If the Lord had still been running with me, I'm sure He would have advised me against such a foolhardy decision. But, as it was just me and the Beast at that point, foolhardiness won the moment. I ran another fifteen minutes - 1:40 instead of 1:30. But I made it.
And I've been paying for it ever since. My brain stopped working as soon as I stopped running. Or maybe it had stopped working long before and I just didn't notice it because I was too busy feeling sorry for myself. My legs didn't seem to know how to walk. And that heartburn really started telling me about it. So, I overdid it. Nothing new, really. Truth be told, it was kinda fun.