I ran my 15K (9.3 miles) about two weeks ago and have been planning on starting half-marathon training ever since. Unlike many runners, I don’t follow specific training plans for my major runs, I kind of just go with the flow and run what my body tells me to run on any given day. I don’t even want to tell you about how I prepared for my 15K. *Shudders.* Let’s just say, I plan on training better and harder for my first half-marathon in July.
Anyways, I’ve been wanting to start training for the half for the past two weeks, but the weather has been total crap. Now, mind you, my goal all along has been to run a half, so really, I’d consider myself to have been training for it since I first became a runner last summer, but regardless, I really wanted to start pushing myself even harder these last few weeks. So, since the weather has been horrendous, I’ve been doing some treadmill running, as I’ve done all winter, but I hate the treadmill with a passion. It is SO MUCH harder for me than outdoor running, and the most I will do on the treadmill is a mile or two, even though I can do four times that outside. Well, this morning we finally had some nice running weather. I was excited when I woke up to sunshine, and eager to hit the trail after a two week outdoor running hiatus. I got all suited up and ready to go, with plans to run anywhere from 6-9 miles today. I got out there on the trail, I ran by dogs, I jammed out to my tunes and I… had to stop after two miles. I simply could not keep going. I got a wicked side stitch (cramps in the side), and my legs were still burning from Friday evening’s workout at the gym. I jogged to my car in defeat. This is not what I had planned for my first outdoor run in weeks, my first official training run for my half-marathon. I was disappointed in myself, and let down by my distance.
After my run, I felt like a failure. I felt like a fake runner. I felt like anything but how I felt when I crossed the finish line of my 15K and felt like a million bucks. Today, I felt sad. Then, I had to start putting things into perspective to shake that bad mood. I remembered how just 9 months ago, I could only run for a few seconds without stopping. I remembered how I cheered and felt amazing when I finally could run one mile without stopping…. and today I ran two. Even though this seems like diddly-squat to me now, 9 months ago I would have whooped with joy at having been able to run two miles, so why feel sad about having been able to “only” run two today? True, I ran 9.3 miles in my 15K… true, I very rarely go for runs less than 3 miles, usually shooting for at least 5 miles, but when I look back at who I was and where I came from, how the hell can I be disappointed in myself?
Today, I had a bad run, but I am not a bad runner. I am not a failure, I am not a fake. I am a runner, even if some days I can hardly go two miles without dying. I am a runner, even if my GOOD miles are still 11 minutes long. I run not to win races. I run not to compete with anyone but myself. I compete only against the person I used to be, and to become the person I want to be. I run because it’s hard as hell, because it hurts, because it requires heart and determination, because it makes me feel like I can be whoever I want to be.
Today I had a bad run, but my next run will be better.
Today I had a bad run, but I am still a runner.