Saturday, June 4, 2011

If at first you don't succeed...

I've only just now realized that I haven't written in a couple weeks; this is partly because I've had an irregular and unpredictable work schedule, and partly because some of my recent long runs have been rather disappointing, and thus I'm using avoidance as a coping mechanism.

Last weekend, I was totally geared up to run a half-marathon distance. I carefully planned the route, which began at Kenmore Square in Boston and followed Beacon Street through the neighborhoods of Brookline and Newton with some strategically-placed hills and enough beautiful Victorian architecture to keep my eyes occupied for 2+ hours.

I did not, however, carefully plan for the day's oppressive humidity. The run was awful, and was awful from the very beginning. I was drenched in sweat by mile 2, and by mile 4 I felt as if I was wearing lead sneakers. I considered stopping at Whole Foods at around the halfway point, mostly to enjoy some air conditioning for a few seconds, but I pressed on. At mile 7, I started feeling some nausea and my lead sneakers now had cinder blocks attached to them. I also started to get a side stitch from drinking too much water; I know this because my Camelbak supply was depleted around mile 7.5. The thought of running 6 more miles filled me with a mixture of dread and sadness and frustration that is hard for me to explain because at the time I didn't even quite understand it myself. I reluctantly slowed to a brisk walk for a half-mile or so, and finished with a total of 12.7 miles doing a run/walk for the last bit (0.5 mile run, 0.5 mile walk). It was thoroughly miserable, and I spent the remainder of the day doing absolutely nothing, wallowing in self-pity and defeat.

It was pathetic, really. Here I am, in perfect health with a fully-functioning physique, and I'm obsessing about one run that didn't quite go as planned. I desperately needed some perspective. I turned to the Interwebs, and found what I was looking for in a few blogs I read regularly (and that I would recommend to others!):

Maine Runner recently completed a 50-mile trail race, even finishing with a PR. He describes the entire experience in detail, and while I have little desire to become an ultrarunner, he somehow makes it seem pretty appealing, with my weekend 13-miler looking like a brisk warm-up.

Hot Child in and Around the City (my friend Jillian) talks about motivation and keeping spirits high, which was exactly what I needed to hear after my hellish half-marathon attempt. Jillian's enthusiasm for running (and life in general, for that matter) is off the charts; reading her blog is sometimes all I need to get out the door again.

Running and Cupcakes (my friend Samantha) had a particularly unsuccessful 18-miler attempt only to come back a week later with a stronger resolve—and a brand new pair of sneakers—to bring it home. Also: is that not an adorable name for a running blog?

Of course, the possibility of using some of recently-acquired birthday money to treat myself to a pair of New Balance WT10 minimalist trail runners really started to cheer me up. Alright, running: I'm ready to try, try again.